Another SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying a set of communication satellites is scheduled to be launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base on Tuesday, May 22.
The launch is currently targeted to take place at 12:47 p.m.
The rocket will deliver five Iridium NEXT satellites into orbit. It will be the sixth Iridium launch since Jan. 2017 when the company began a campaign to replace its entire network of communication satellites with 75 new satellites. It will bring the total of number of Iridium NEXT satellites in space to 55. Two more launches are planned for 2018.
Also on board the rocket will be the twin spacecraft for the NASA/German Research Center for Geosciences Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment Follow-On (GRACE-FO) mission. GRACE-FO’s two satellites will help measure changes in the Earth’s ice sheets, glaciers, underground water storage, and sea levels, giving scientists a better understanding of the planet’s changing climate.
Update to the Launch Update: Due to range availability at VAFB, #Iridium6/#GRACEFO is now targeting 1 day later; NET 5/22 with backup of 5/23. Instantaneous launch on 5/22 = 12:47:58 pm PDT (19:47:58 UTC) #IridiumNEXT #HereWeGo pic.twitter.com/xhQoczIkjE
— Iridium Corporate (@IridiumComm) May 15, 2018