SpaceX launched 10 new communications satellites into orbit from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. This was the one year anniversary of the first time that SpaceX launched a used Falcon 9 and landed them.
SpaceX reuses the first stage of its two-stage Falcon 9 rockets.
The Falcon 9 rocket that was used in the launch was first used in October 2017. The booster that was used in this mission was also used to launch 10 other Iridium satellites on Oct. 9 during the Iridium-3 mission.
SpaceX usually broadcasts its launches but the feed was cut 9-minutes into the flight. There were restrictions from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. NOAA restricted SpaceX from continuing the live stream, it said that the cameras on the Falcon 9 would qualify as a remote sensing system and would need a license for the flight.
This is SpaceX's fifth launch of Iridium's satellites into what it was, the Iridium constellation. These 10 satellites bring the number of Iridium satellites in the constellation to 50. SpaceX originally launched 10 Iridium satellites in January 2017, then again in June, October, and December 2017. Each launch sent 10 satellites into orbit for Iridium.
For this mission SpaceX will not be recovering the rocket. Instead, it will try to recover part of the nose cone. Elon Musk said that SpaceX will try to capture it as it is falling down from space. He adds that the boat is a giant steel and webbing catcher's mitt superstructure on a high-speed ocean ship.
Mr. Steven is the ship that SpaceX will use to try to recapture the nose cone or fairing as it is called. On Thursday, marine tracking sites had the ship going out into the Pacific Ocean to a location called Iridium 5, which is the name of the launch. On the morning of March 30, the ship was positioned west of Baja, California.
SpaceX previously tried to catch the fairing back in February 2017. It was unsuccessful in recovering it, because the fairing just missed the boat by a few hundred yards. Not bad for someone trying to determine where an object would fall from space.
Space X's reuse of hardware allows the costs of using rockets to drop dramatically.