On January 14th, 2017, SpacesX’s Falcon 9 successfully delivered 10 satellites to low-Earth orbit for Iridium, a global leader in mobile voice and data satellite communications. The 10 satellites are the first of at least 70 satellites that SpaceX will launch for Iridium’s next generation global satellite constellation, Iridium NEXT.
Below is a summary of the mission in photos, with more photos available on SpaceX’s Flickr site ( https://www.flickr.com/photos/spacex ).
Falcon 9 lifted off from Space Launch Complex 4E Vandenberg Air Force Base in California at 9:54:39 am (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tTmbSur4fcs&feature=youtu.be).
View from the Falcon 9 vehicle looking back at the launch site as it ascends towards orbit.
Two and a half minutes into flight, the first and second stages separate, and rhe second stage engine ignites to carry the 10 Iridium satellites to their destination in low-Earth orbit.
Grid fins help orient the Falcon 9’s first stage as it prepares to land on the “Just Read the Instructions” drone ship, holding position in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of California.
Landing legs deployed in final seconds before landing.
Falcon 9 first stage after its successful landing on the “Just Read the Instructions” drone ship.