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FALCON FROM THE ASHES

Watch SpaceX attempt to return to flight by launching 10 Iridium satellites

A Falcon 9 rocket carrying a small science satellite for Canada is seen as it is launched from a newly refurbished launch pad in Vandenberg Air Force Station September 29, 2013. The unmanned rocket blasted off from California on Sunday to test upgrades needed for planned commercial launch services. The 22-story rocket, built and flown by Space Exploration Technologies, or SpaceX, soared off a newly refurbished, leased launch pad at Vandenberg Air Force Station at noon EDT/1600 GMT.
Reuters/Gene Blevins
A SpaceX Falcon 9 launches from Vandenberg AFB in 2013.
  • Tim Fernholz
By Tim Fernholz

Senior reporter

Published Last updated on This article is more than 2 years old.

Four months since one of its rockets caught fire on the launch pad, Elon Musk’s SpaceX plans to launch 10 Iridium satellites today at 9:54 am PST (12:54 pm EST, 5:54 pm GMT). Update: The launch succeeded.

Watch their live video stream of the launch here:

The launch had been delayed six days due to violent weather at the launch site, Vandenberg Air Force Base, in California. The company has been working feverishly to return to flight since a Falcon 9 rocket caught fire during fueling before a routine engine test in September 2016.

Last week, the company announced that it had identified the cause of the fire, a highly-pressurized tank stressed by a innovative super-cool propellant loading procedure. SpaceX’s decision to return to a more reliable approach convinced US regulators to grant them a new launch license for this effort.

Just yesterday, internal financial documents leaked to the Wall Street Journal demonstrated the importance of today’s launch to the company’s bottom-line: a six-month interruption in launches cost SpaceX a quarter of a billion dollars in 2015; the current interruption is likely entails similar losses.

Though the company says its financial position remains strong, with plenty of cash on hand and no debt, the need to resume generating revenue—and move forward on an array of new projects—is pressing.

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