In Photos: SpaceX Falcon 9 Rocket Launches the Last Iridium Next Communications Satellites

in-photos-spacex-falcon-9-rocket-launches-the-last-iridium-next-communications-satellites
Ready for Launch in 3, 2, 1 ...“>

Ready for Launch in 3, 2, 1 …

Ready for Launch in 3, 2, 1 ...

Credit: SpaceX

The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying the Iridium-8 mission stands atop Space Launch Complex 4E at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.

Credit: SpaceX

SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket carrying 10 Iridium Next communications satellites lifts off from Space Launch Complex 4E at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California

Credit: SpaceX

The Iridium-8 mission lifted off from Space Launch Complex 4E at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California at 7:31 a.m. local time (10:31 a.m. EST, 1531 GMT).

Credit: SpaceX

Smoke billows out from underneath the Falcon 9 rocket just seconds after liftoff from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.

Credit: SpaceX

A close-up photo of the Iridium-8 launch reveals the rocket’s flames in stunning detail.

Credit: SpaceX

The Falcon 9 rocket carrying the Iridium-8 mission rides a pillar of flame into the morning sky after lifting off from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. The Pacific Ocean is visible in the background.

Credit: SpaceX

The ninth satellite in the final batch of the Iridium Next constellation deployed about 70 minutes after the SpaceX Falcon 9 launched on Jan. 11.

Credit: SpaceX

The Falcon 9 rocket booster returns to Earth after delivering the Iridium-8 mission into orbit.

Credit: SpaceX

After launching the Iridium-8 mission, the first stage of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket returned to Earth and stuck an upright landing on the droneship “Just Read the Instructions” about seven minutes after liftoff.

Credit: SpaceX

After a successful liftoff from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, the Falcon 9 rocket soared into space to deliver the Iridium satellites into orbit.

Author Bio


Hanneke Weitering

Hanneke Weitering, Space.com Staff Writer

Hanneke joined the team at Space.com in August 2016 as a staff writer and producer. She’s a self-proclaimed science geek from the South with a passion for all things out of this world! She has previously written for Scholastic, MedPage Today, Scienceline, and Oak Ridge National Lab. After studying physics at the University of Tennessee in her home town of Knoxville, she moved to New York City and earned her graduate degree in Science, Health and Environmental Reporting (SHERP) from New York University. To keep up with Hanneke’s latest work, follow her on TwitterFacebook or Google .

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