SpaceX has finally gained the license to launch rockets again. The September Falcon 9 explosion caused the company to temporarily halt its launches causing about more or less 70 backlogs in the schedule and billions of monetary losses. The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has finally cleared the company of the incident and reinstated its launch operations on Friday, Jan. 6.
Subsequently, the company confirmed the return to flight of Falcon 9 will be on January 9 at 1:22 p.m ET. Falcon 9 will have a liftoff from Vandenberg Air Force Base carrying 10 Iridium Communications satellites. The weather is expected to be cloudy and rain is expected.
"The FAA has closed the investigation. SpaceX applied for a license to launch the Iridium NEXT satellites from Vandenberg Air Force Base. The FAA has granted a license for that purpose," FAA said according to Reuters.
Last week, SpaceX submitted the investigation report of the explosion for FAA review and announced it would be returning to flight this January. The cause was pinpointed to the buckling of helium-containing tanks which resulted to friction and or breaking carbon fibers that ignited the oxygen. The company has made necessary design adjustments to address the problem.
However, space enthusiasts have been worried for the lack of response from FAA despite the company's confidence it would definitely resume its operations this month. The company also postponed original January launch date for Falcon 9 due to its failure to do the required engine test.
On Thursday, SpaceX was finally able to complete the engine test - it fueled Falcon 9 and ignited its nine main engines at launch pad - the same test which led to the September explosion.
"With completion of the static fire test, our first launch has just gotten that much closer." said Iridium CEO Matt Desch, in a statement on Jan 6 according to USA Today. He added that the Iridium team has been anxiously waiting for the SpaceX Falcon 9 launch date.