Two months worth of delays stopped SpaceX from launching the six satellites. Today, SpaceX finally found success.
The past two months have been riddled with delays for SpaceX. Originally set for May 10, the launch suffered delays ranging from issues with the Falcon 9 rocket and its payload to weather.
The six Orbcomm satellites were successfully deployed in orbit earlier today. What’s their purpose? They will provide faster and more in-depth data systems to Orbcomm’s customers. These six satellites are part of a 17-satellite constellation that the company hopes to have in orbit by the end of the year.
SpaceX also plans another test to bring the Falcon 9’s first stage back to Earth in a soft ocean landing. An earlier test was successful, but rough seas destroyed the rocket before it could be recovered. Today’s test should be more successful thanks to calmer seas.
Why is SpaceX trying to retrieve the first stage? Reusable rockets would dramatically cut costs and make space missions more economically friendly. SpaceX’s CEO Elon Musk says reusable rockets could cut the costs of space missions by a factor of 100. That would put ambitious missions such as a Mars colony in the realm of possibility, at least cost-wise.
SpaceX’s next rocket launch is expected sometime in August. Another Falcon 9 rocket will carry supplies up to the International Space Station. Let’s hope weather and other factors are a bit more friendly to SpaceX next time around.
Here’s a video of today’s launch.