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SpaceX/Falcon 9 gets Iridium Contract

Posted by: JamesHughes - Thu Jun 17, 2010 9:24 am
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SpaceX/Falcon 9 gets Iridium Contract 
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Space Station Commander
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Post SpaceX/Falcon 9 gets Iridium Contract   Posted on: Thu Jun 17, 2010 9:24 am
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/science_and_ ... 335315.stm

Musk must be pretty happy with this one!! Lets hope the second launch goes well!


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Space Walker
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Post Re: SpaceX/Falcon 9 gets Iridium Contract   Posted on: Thu Jun 17, 2010 3:20 pm
Still there'll be people claming SpaceX is not a commercial company because it gets monnies form NASA :/

Sigh

Anyway, were there previous plans to launch Falcon 9 from Vandenberg? This is the first time I hear about it I think...


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Post Re: SpaceX/Falcon 9 gets Iridium Contract   Posted on: Thu Jun 17, 2010 5:03 pm
Mchl wrote:
Anyway, were there previous plans to launch Falcon 9 from Vandenberg? This is the first time I hear about it I think...


Before they had the Kwaj site, they planned on launching F1 from Vandenberg. They erected an early F1 on that pad and had some infrastructure in place, but couldn't launch from there due to range restrictions. Basically, the air force didn't trust them launching over a 4 billion dollar spy satellite sitting on the next pad. I think they always kept it as a backup option, but never build up the infrastructure there because they had the better option at the cape for their current missions (COTS/CRS). Perhaps further range issues also played a role.

I think two things now play a role in this: first, Vandenberg is well suited for (near-)polar orbits, less so for orbits that take you eastward over inhabited areas. The Iridium NEXT satellites need near-polar orbits. Second, SpaceX has proven (to a extend) to know what they're doing and certainly will have by the time these launches come up. I don't know what expensive hardware they plan on having/launching there in the coming years, but I can only assume that was not the last billion-dollar satellite they will launch from there.

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Post Re: SpaceX/Falcon 9 gets Iridium Contract   Posted on: Sat Jun 19, 2010 9:57 pm
Thanks. Now I remember that first F1 flight was planned from Vandenberg.

I noticed today, that in flight manifest many non-NASA F9 flights have Kwajalein as an alternative launch site posted. That would mean SpaceX would build and maintain three F9 launch sites... (?).


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Post Re: SpaceX/Falcon 9 gets Iridium Contract   Posted on: Wed Aug 18, 2010 5:07 am
Next step in this contract:

http://www.spacenews.com/satellite_tele ... ments.html

http://www.marketwatch.com/story/iridiu ... _news_stmp

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