SpaceX Falcon rocket blasted flawlessly from the Vandenberg Air Force base at 9.54 PST and one by one parked ten satellites into its designated slots. The ten satellites belonged to Iridium Communication Inc. It was a big relief for the beleaguered space company who has been smarting after the disastrous launch pad explosion in September which not only destroyed the Facebook satellite it was carrying but also caused extensive damage to the launch pad.
Describing the launch as a perfect ten score, SpaceX launch commentator John Insprucker said that it was a copybook launch without any hitch. SpaceX is company started by entrepreneur Elon Musk and has an ambitious plan of establishing a colony on Mars by 2022. However, its plans got a rude jolt after two accidents involving its rockets. The perfect launch on Saturday will help it redeem some of its lost relevance.
What was significant in Saturday’s launch was the successful recovery of the first stage of the Vulcan Rocket. The recovery will help to bring down the cost of the launch of space hardware considerably. This is for the first time after the Space Shuttle mission that a process has been developed to reuse any part of a launch rocket. Two other returning Falcon boosters landed on the solid ground. The feat has been accomplished four times before, and SpaceX intends to reuse these rockets to cut cost.
SpaceX had constituted a detailed investigation into the September mishap and had found the cause of the accident to a faulty helium canister which had burst during the launch. SpaceX has redesigned the canister, and the fuel procedures are being re-modified. The explosion in September also dealt a blow to Facebook’s plan to spread the web coverage to the remotest part of Africa when its satellite was also destroyed in the explosion.