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.