April 3, 2024
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Vandenberg AFB to launch Iridium communications satellites Jan. 8


Space Exploration Technologies Corp. plans to launch several Iridium communications satellites Jan. 8 from Vandenberg Air Force Base near Lompoc, signaling a rebound from the failed Falcon 9 rocket launch in Florida in September.

An accident investigation team determined that the September launch failure was likely due to an accumulation of oxygen or a void in the buckle of the liner, the company said on Jan. 2.

“In the short term, this entails changing the COPV configuration to allow warmer temperature helium to be loaded, as well as returning helium loading operations to a prior flight proven configuration,” SpaceX said in a statement. “In the long term, SpaceX will implement design changes to the COPVs to prevent buckles altogether, which will allow for faster loading operations.​”

The $200 million Facebook satellite that was destroyed in the September explosion would’ve brought the Internet to underserved parts of the developing world.

• Contact Alex Kacik at akacik@pacbiztimes.com.