SpaceX First Launch for 2017 Moved to Saturday

By Ana Verayo, | January 10, 2017

Iridium and SpaceX will deploy satellites in seven launches, sending 10 Iridium NEXT satellites at a time. (SpaceX)

Iridium and SpaceX will deploy satellites in seven launches, sending 10 Iridium NEXT satellites at a time. (SpaceX)

After a five-day delay, SpaceX will launch its Falcon 9 rocket on January 14, Saturday. This will be the company's first launch this year after a massive explosion last year.

SpaceX initially scheduled the launch for Monday, January 9 from the Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. The mission was to transport 10 Iridium NEXT satellites and place them into orbit to provide satellite services for Iridium.

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SpaceX announced on Sunday, January 8 on Twitter that it is moving the launch due to high winds and rains in Vandenberg. The company added that the next available launch date is January 14.

Since an explosion in September 2016, SpaceX has been focusing on launching its Falcon 9 rockets. On September 1, the satellite had exploded during a pre-launch test at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

Earlier this month, SpaceX released a statement shedding light on that explosion. The company revealed that the aluminum liner of a helium tank inside the upper stage of the Falcon 9 rocket combusted, resulting in the explosion.

 When the liquid oxygen propellant and the aluminum liner along with its carbon overwrap covering mixed in a pool, resulting in the explosion. This pooling propellant ignited and ruptured the helium tank and totally destroyed the Falcon 9 on the launch pad. 

SpaceX is applying new modifications to its helium refueling process to avoid this buckling in future launches and missions.

On January 6, the Federal Aviation Administration granted SpaceX a new launch license for its upcoming Falcon 9 mission after an engine test firing at the launchpad which is standard protocol before any space launch. 

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk has lofty ambitions for his reusable Falcon 9 rockets. He plans to launch its new rocket, the Falcon Heavy, to Mars as early as next year and send astronauts to the International Space Station in 2018.

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