The Latest: Launch of Iridium satellites successful

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket lifts off from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California on Friday, March 30, 2018, carrying 10 Iridium NEXT satellites into orbit. (Len Wood/The Santa Maria Times via AP)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. - The Latest on the launch of 10 satellites for Iridium Communications (all times local):

9:25 a.m.

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket has successfully launched 10 new satellites for Iridium Communications.

The rocket blasted off from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, at 7:23 a.m. Friday and began deploying the satellites about an hour later.

Iridium says all of the satellites were successfully released into low Earth orbit and are communicating with its network operations centre.

The McLean, Virginia, company now has 50 next-generation satellites in orbit as it replaces its entire global fleet. Final launches are expected to be completed this year.

It was the second flight for the Falcon 9's first stage, which was first used in a previous Iridium launch. This time it performed a simulated landing over the ocean but was not recovered for reuse.

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7:23 a.m.

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying 10 satellites for Iridium Communications has blasted off from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California.

The rocket lifted off at 7:13 a.m. Friday and arced over the Pacific west of Los Angeles.

The satellites are expected to be deployed into low Earth orbit about an hour after liftoff.

The Falcon 9's first stage was previously launched on an Iridium mission last October and was recovered.

The payload is the fifth set of 10 new satellites launched for Iridium, which is replacing its entire global satellite network.

The $3 billion project is scheduled for completion this year, with a total of 75 new satellites in orbit.

Iridium, based in McLean, Virginia, provides mobile voice and data communications.


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