SpaceX’s Return to Orbit: T-Minus One Day
SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket is set to return to space tomorrow, January 14th, the company’s first launch since an explosion on September 1st of last year.
That launch was expected to carry Israel’s Amos-6 communications satellite into launch.
After a lengthy review of the explosion, on January 2nd of this year SpaceX representatives indicated the explosion occurred due to the buckling of an aluminum liner on a compositive overwrapped helium tank inside the Falcon 9’s upper stage liquid oxygen tank.
Tomorrow’s Falcon 9 has another, even more substantial satellite payload: 10 satellites for Iridium’s Next next-generation mobile voice and data relay network. And no question, SpaceX needs this launch to actually launch.
In June 2015, a Falcon 9 that was to carry four months of supplies to the International Space Station exploded just minutes after launch. According to a Wall Street Journal article published earlier today, SpaceX saw a quarter-billion dollar annual loss that year and a 6 percent drop in profits.
But SpaceX’s CFO Bret Johnson indicated the company is in “a financially strong position and is well positioned for future growth,” indicating the company had over $1 billion of cash and no debt.
Tomorrow’s launch for the Iridium Next satellites is slated for lift-off at 9:54:34 AM, Pacific Standard Time, at the SLC-4E launch site at Vandenberg Air Force Base, California.