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Four Months After Explosion, SpaceX Plans Return To Flight

Ten Iridium NEXT satellites are stacked and encapsulated in the Falcon 9 fairing ahead of Sunday's launch attempt. Photo: Iridium Corporate / Twitter

UPDATE: Weather at Vandenberg Air Force Station has delayed the launch until Saturday, January 14 says SpaceX and Iridium Corporation. 

SpaceX plans to return to flight Saturday after an accident this summer grounded the fleet. It hoped to launch earlier this week, but weather forced launch officials to find a new date.

During a routine test, a Falcon 9 rocket exploded at Cape Canaveral’s Space Launch Complex 40, destroying the rocket and satellite, and damaging the pad.

After a four month investigation SpaceX says it figured out the cause of the explosion: a failed helium pressure tank.

Now, the private space company is ready to return to flight, launching a fleet of commercial communication satellites from a pad at Vandenberg Air Force Station in California. Launch technicians completed a test fire of the rocket this week – the same test that caused September’s explosion.

SpaceX plans to return to flight on Florida’s Space Coast later this month.


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Brendan Byrne

About Brendan Byrne

Space Reporter and 'Intersection' Producer

Brendan covers space news for WMFE, everything from rocket launches to the latest scientific discoveries in our universe. He hosts "Are We There Yet?", WMFE's space exploration podcast He also helps produce WMFE's twice-weekly public affairs show "Intersection," working with host Matthew Peddie to shape the ... Read Full Bio »

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