SpaceX sticks Falcon 9 landing twice in one weekend

SpaceX rocket launches will be in line with the IridiumNEXT, in preparation for the launches, the American aerospace manufacturer conducted a static fire test on June 20.

Then on Sunday SpaceX launched Falcon 9 again, this time with 10 low-Earth orbit satellites for the communications company Iridium.

SpaceX has recovered rockets multiple times on the barge, known as a drone ship, and on land back at Cape Canaveral.

Roughly eight minutes after the launch, the rocket's first stage completed a vertical landing on the "Of Course I Still Love You" droneship stationed in the Atlantic Ocean.

Despite blustery winds and high seas, the California rocket builder also was able to recover the booster's first stage with a pinpoint landing on an off-shore droneship, SpaceX's 13th successful landing in a row. The launch on Friday was originally scheduled for last weekend until the company had to replace a valve in the fairing - or the cone holding the satellite. The Falcon 9 rocket hastened up from SpaceX's Vandenberg Air Force Base down in California.

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Iridium plans to put in place 75 new satellites for its mobile voice and data communications system by mid-2018, requiring six more launches, all by SpaceX.

The Iridium NEXT program also will bring an end to so-called "Iridium flares", which space enthusiasts have observed for years.

The $3 billion project is a bid to upgrade the Virginia-based Iridium's global communications network. Its payload, BulgariaSat-1, was later placed into its desired orbit.

"Iridium NEXT features the same unique interconnected satellite architecture as the original constellation, which is the key feature that distinguishes Iridium from all other commercial satellite operators", Desch said earlier.

SpaceX's back-to-back launches feature the shortest span between two succeeding launches, shooting a refurbished Falcon 9 booster skyward on Friday, June 23, launching Bulgaria's first communication satellite into space. The new satellites will not create visible flashes of reflected sunlight as they passed overhead.

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