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Following a failed launch in September, SpaceX is ready to give its Falcon 9 rocket another go. Iridium Communications hopes to send up a SpaceX rocket loaded with more than 60 satellites on Dec. 16, the New York Times reports.
In September, SpaceX prepared to launch a Falcon 9 rocket loaded with a $200 million AMOS-6 satellite designed to provide internet connectivity to rural sub-Saharan Africa. The rocket caught fire and exploded during fueling ahead of a routine prelaunch test. In November, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk clarified the cause of the accident: Liquid oxygen that was supposed to flow to a second-stage tank had frozen solid. Thankfully, the launchpad was clear and no one was injured, but SpaceX’s Cape Canaveral launchpad was damaged in the explosion.
Iridium, a communications company, currently has a network of more than 60 satellites in the skies. It plans to replace these 20-year-old models over the next year and a half with newer, faster versions (“each roughly the size of a Mini Cooper,” the New York Times says).
Iridium’s upcoming launch is still dependent on the results of the Federal Aviation Administration’s investigation into that Sept. 1 explosion.
H/T New York Times
Christina Bonnington is a tech reporter who specializes in consumer gadgets, apps, and the trends shaping the technology industry. Her work has also appeared in Gizmodo, Wired, Refinery29, Slate, Bicycling, and Outside Magazine. She is based in the San Francisco Bay Area and has a background in electrical engineering.