SpaceX is continuing its partnership with satellite communications company Iridium Communications, Inc. The aerospace organization is expected to launch several Iridium NEXT satellites in May.
Preparing For Takeoff
On Wednesday, April 25, Iridium revealed in a statement that five Iridium NEXT satellites are now in SpaceX's possession. The companies plan to launch the five satellites from SpaceX's west coast launch site, Vandenberg Air Force Base in Santa Barbara County, California. To prepare for the launch, the SpaceX staff will have the opportunity to inspect each Iridium NEXT satellite.
For this upcoming launch into space, the five Iridium NEXT satellites are joined by the NASA and the German Research Center for Geosciences' latest collaboration. The two science organizations have created a new measurement system called the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment Follow-on, or GRACE-FO. GRACE-FO is expected to measure several movements of the mass within and between the Earth's atmosphere.
Enter The Falcon 9 Rocket
Both GRACE-FO and the five Iridium NEXT satellites will be launched into space by SpaceX's Falcon 9 Rocket. The Falcon 9 had launched ten of Iridium's satellites earlier this year and several times in 2017. The company outlined that once the Falcon 9 Rocket reaches space, it will first deploy the GRACE-FO spacecraft. After the GRACE-FO spacecraft exits, the next part of the rocket's mission is to focus on releasing the five satellites. The launch is scheduled to take place on May 19.
An Iridium Exclusive
Tech Times spoke exclusively with Iridium Communications, Inc. CEO Matt Desch, who stated that the two companies have worked closely with each other since 2006 and that Iridium developed respect for SpaceX during its early years. Desch credits SpaceX in helping Iridium launch 75 satellites into outer space and in its mission of tracking items that cannot be tracked through traditional methods such as animals, buoys, people, and planes.
"Our vision is to connect all the important things around the world that cannot be traced through terrestrial communications systems," said Desch.
In addition to continuing a partnership with Iridium, SpaceX and its founder, Elon Musk, continue to make headlines. On Wednesday, April 18, the SpaceX Falcon 9 launched NASA's planet-hunting satellite, TESS, from Cape Canaveral in Florida. The satellite will go on a two-year mission to find planets outside of the solar system.
The company also announced that it willbe building the next rocket to Mars in Hawthorne, California. Musk has claimed that the SpaceX BFR spacecraft would send people from Earth to Mars and wants to start sending people to the red planet sometime next year.
Tech Times reached out to SpaceX for a comment about this story.