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SpaceX will add lots of space traffic over the next few days

SpaceX will launch 10 Iridium satellites atop a Falcon 9 Friday.


The next few days will be especially busy for Elon Musk’s rocket company, SpaceX, which on Friday plans to launch 10 satellites aboard a Falcon 9 rocket and on Monday send supplies to the International Space Station aboard another. Friday’s launch is scheduled for 7:13 a.m. Pacific Time from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.

The same Falcon 9 rocket that launched a batch of Iridium satellites in October will be used to send 10 more satellites to join the telecommunications company’s next-generation constellation. You can watch the Iridium-5 mission via the embedded video feed below: SpaceX isn’t going to attempt to recover the previously used Falcon 9 again, but it does plan to try to catch the fairing (the nose cone that covers the payload during launch) via Mr.

Steven, a cargo ship equipped with a huge net. Last time Mr. Steven tried to catch a fairing it missed by just a few hundred meters.

Then Monday’s launch will take place at 1:30 p.m. PT from Florida, with SpaceX’s Dragon capsule making its 14th resupply run to the space station.

Static fire test of Falcon 9 complete–targeting April 2 launch from Pad 40 in Florida for Dragon’s fourteenth mission to the @Space_Station.

— SpaceX (@SpaceX) March 28, 2018

The rocket to be used on Monday also flew the 12th resupply mission to the ISS in August, and SpaceX is unlikely to try to recover it.

Musk and SpaceX have huge ambitions that include no less than sending a million people to Mars. To get there, the company first has to prove that it can handle a rapid cadence of rocket launches, so it’s been trying to ramp up the pace of its missions over the past few years. In 2017 SpaceX launched 18 rockets; with these two launches the company will already have completed seven launches for the year by next week.

SpaceX is going to want to be extra careful to keep an eye out for some extra traffic in the atmosphere over the next few days in the form of China’s falling space station Tiangong-1: both Florida and California are within the wide region where the out of control spacecraft could collide with Earth’s atmosphere.

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