Scope Diagram Astrocamera.Net - Astrophotography by Dave Kodama  

SpaceX / Iridium-1 Launch


This SpaceX launch of a Falcon 9 marked a return to space after a launchpad explosion in Florida, apparently due to an interaction of super-cooled LOX and the carbon-fiber wrap of a helium tank inside the LOX tank.

With a modified fuel loading procedure, the launch went off without a hitch, putting ten Iridium communication satellites into a checkout orbit. Over the next few weeks, the Iridium satellites will be checked out and maneuvered into their final orbital positions, replacing an older set of satellites, which will then be de-orbited. This mission (Iridium-1) is the first of seven similar launches which have been contracted with SpaceX.

In addition, the first stage booster made a perfect bullseye landing on a SpaceX landing barge out in the Pacific. Unfortunately the landing was not visible from the launch area.

The real-time video below includes an inset with telephoto frames added.