SpaceX Launches 10 Communications Satellites From California

SpaceX Falcon 9

California's Silicon Valley is apparently not the only place that out-of-this-world technology is brought to fruition and put on display. SpaceX, the company founded by entrepreneur Elon Musk, launched a total of ten communications satellites into orbit recently. The company launched ten satellites on the heels of successfully launching a smaller batch in Florida.

The rocket that brought the satellites into geosynchronous orbit was the Falcon 9. The Falcon 9 was launched from the Vandenberg Air Force Base near Lompoc, California. SpaceX catered the satellites of a company called Iridium Communications as the client company sought to update a previous generation's entire fleet of outmoded satellites already in orbit above the Earth.

SpaceX has weathered failures over the years as its entrepreneur-owner Elon Musk has experimented with new rocket landing techniques that haven't always panned out. Fortunately for Mr. Musk, the last few months have been a string of successes, and this recent California communications satellite launch proved no exception. The first-stage booster component of the Falcon 9 rocket seamlessly floated down on to a landing pad located on the Pacific Ocean after delivering the communications satellites on the first stage of its eventual journey into orbit.

The second-stage of the Falcon 9 rocket flew away from Earth and carried the actual satellites with it. SpaceX's billionaire entrepreneur-owner Elon Musk was overflowing with confidence after launching a Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral earlier in the week. The first-stage booster component on that Florida test landed on a drone maritime vessel floating in the Atlantic Ocean. This gave Elon Musk, a California resident himself, the confidence to sign on to a 75-satellite deal with Iridium Communications for the coming years.

The aim is to have SpaceX use its Falcon 9 rocket and similar technologies to send all 75 communications satellites into orbit over the next 12 months or so. The plan makes sense to both parties since it means an addition $3 billion in revenue for Mr. Musk and the chance for Iridium Communications to replace 66 older satellites and put 9 new satellites into orbit before the decade is through. The transition to a newer fleet of satellites is long overdue for Iridium Communications.

The company is soliciting the help of Elon Musk at a time when Iridium's satellites are worn out and forced to revolve at a lower orbit in order to conserve fuel. An update is overdue.