March 30 (UPI) — SpaceX is scheduled to launch 10 Iridium-5 Next satellites from its Falcon 9 rocket Friday at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.
The launch time is 10:13 a.m. EDT with a backup launch opportunity set for 10:08 a.m. EDT Saturday, according to Space X.
One hour after liftoff, the satellites will be deployed. The ten satellites are the fifth set SpaceX is launching for Iridium of a planned network of 75 satellites. The launchs began in October 2017 and are scheduled to be complete in a few months. Six of the satellites will serve as on-orbit spares.
SpaceX will not attempt to recover Falcon 9’s first stage after launch as it has in previous flights.
The launch was originally scheduled for Thursday but was delayed because of an issue with one of the satellites, according to a Twitter post from the Iridium Communications CEO, Matt Desch.
The Iridium satellites, each weighing 1,896 pounds, will replace the world’s largest commercial satellite network of low-Earth orbit satellites. Iridium, which plans have all of its satellites launched by mid-2018, has partnered with Thales Alenia Space to manufacture, assemble and test them.
The completed satellite system will provide air traffic control organizations and aircraft
operators real-time, global visibility of ADS-B equipped aircraft.
In the last launch from Vandenburg, SpaceX on Feb. 22 sent into orbit a Hisdesat PAZ satellite for Spain aboard a Falcon 9.
On Monday afternoon, SpaceX also plans to launch its 14th cargo supply mission to the International Space Station from Cape Canaveral in Florida. The Dragon spacecraft will carry 1.7 tons of pressurized cargo to the station, as well as 926kg of unpressurized cargo in its “trunk.”
On March 5, SpaceX launched a Hispasat 30W-6 spacecraft from a Falcon 9 at Cape Canaveral.