Iridium Communications Inc. has recently revealed that tech billionaire Elon Musk's SpaceX hopes to return its Falcon 9 rocket to flight on Dec. 16, which plans to have 10 of its satellites on board for launching. Reports came out immediately as soon as Russia was found to have been rushing to find out why its Progress craft crashed back to Earth. It was found that the private spaceflight company has been grounded since Sept. 1, when one of its Falcon 9 rockets exploded during a routine prelaunch test, destroying a $200 million communications satellite.
What Does This Plan Indicate?
According to Daily Mail, SpaceX has allegedly suspended its space flights after one of its rockets burst into flames on Sept. 1 as it was being fueled for a routine prelaunch test at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. After the said incident, the company has then traced the explosion to a fueling system problem that caused a pressurized container of helium inside the rocket's upper stage to burst. The accident has approximately resulted to a loss of $200 million satellite which was owned by Israel's Space Communication Ltd.
Furthermore, in one of their statements reported by Space, the company's customer, Iridium, which is a satellite communications company has also revealed that SpaceX is about to get done with its own investigation into the anomaly, which engineers traced to the interaction between oxygen and a carbon-composite helium container in the rocket's upper stage. So a Falcon 9 is primed to lift off this month, provided that the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration gives the go-ahead for a return to flight.
Iridium representatives said that Iridium NEXT will be launching on SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket on Dec. 16, 2016 at 12:36PM. Launching from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, the Falcon 9 rocket will deliver 10 Iridium NEXT satellites into low-Earth orbit.
Ultimately, it was found that Iridium intends to replace its current mobile communications network with 81 new satellites made by Italy's Thales Alenia Space, which, in turn, is a product of the partnership between Thales SA and Leonardo Finmeccanica SpA under a contract worth $2.3 billion.