A Falcon 9 rocket of the SpaceX aerospace company had a successful lift-off from the launch pad at California’s Vandenberg Air Force Base in the US, the company’s first launch since a similar unmanned rocket exploded last September in Florida.
The rocket, which forms part of a space project by the private company headed by the billionaire co-founder and CEO of Tesla Motors, Elon Musk, is on a mission to carry 10 commercial satellites into space for Iridium Communications, which plans to install up to 70 of them by early 2018.
The launch of the Falcon 9 was planned for last Monday, but flight plans were put on hold due to the intense wind and rain, Efe news agency reported. Lift-off finally came Saturday at 5:54 p.m. (local time) as planned.
The problem three months ago occurred on the launch pad, where a Falcon 9 rocket like the one launched this Saturday was supposed to put an Amos 6 communications satellite in orbit for the Israeli firm Spacecom.
The satellite was meant to provide communications services for an area covering from the coast of the United States to Europe, Africa and the Middle East, while stepping up the communications capacity of the Israeli government.
Amos 6 was also meant to be the first satellite to transmit the social network Facebook and was to form part of a campaign to bring the Internet from space to remote areas. It wasn’t the first time a rocket of that kind suffered an explosion — in June 2015 one blew up shortly after lift-off.