California News: Hawthorne-Based SpaceX Launches Another Rocket From Lompoc

SpaceX Rocket

Based in Hawthorne, California, the SpaceX firm on Sunday prepared to launch its 13th booster rocket into space. It will deploy the huge white Falcon 9 booster rocket to send 10 satellites into orbit on behalf of Iridium's global satellite network. Based in Virginia, Iridium has asked Elon Musk's SpaceX company to help it replace an existing aging network of satellites with brand new, state-of-the-art satellite technology. SpaceX plans to perform further deployments for the communications firm through 2018.

Impressive Rocket Performance

SpaceX offered live coverage of the launch of the Iridium-2 mission via the firm's website. Its white booster rocket towers some 16 stories high. The booster will deliver the second stage and its payload into space, then flip abruptly and return to Earth for reuse. Launched from a base in the Lompoc area, its controllers expect it to land in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of San Diego, where a barge remains ready to retrieve it.

SpaceX has enjoyed great success with its unmanned space missions. It hopes to send crews into space during 2018, when the number of launches will expand considerably. June, 2017 has become the busiest month so far in the the innovative private rocket company's 15-year history. The company has made a significant aerospace breakthrough by developing commercially viable reusable rockets. In the past, booster rockets typically broke apart and became debris after a launch.

A Successful Return

On Friday, the California company sent another rocket into space from Florida carrying a satellite owned by a Bulgarian broadcasting and data communications firm. The launch at first caused some company officials to surmise the booster might break apart upon re-entry, due to high temperatures. However, these concerns did not materialize and SpaceX recovered the booster from the Friday launch in an "extra toasty" but intact condition. Elon Musk issued a Tweet announcing the successful re-entry.

The success of recent SpaceX launches will likely contribute to California's economy in the near future. The aerospace firm has gradually increased the frequency of its rocket launches. It plans an ambitious schedule of lift-offs during 2018.