Washington: The American company SpaceX on Sunday successfully placed 10 satellites for the communications company Iridium into orbit using a Falcon 9 rocket.
After launching as scheduled from the Vandenberg Air Force Base in California at 1:25pm local time (8:25pm GMT or 1:55am IST), the Falcon 9’s first stage returned less than eight minutes after taking off.
As planned, it landed on a barge floating in the Pacific Ocean.
SpaceX has successfully landed multiple rockets on both land and water, as part of its effort to bring down the cost of space flight by re-using multimillion dollar components instead of jettisoning them in the ocean after launch.
It was the second series of Iridium satellites launched by SpaceX, after a set of 10 were delivered in January.
In total SpaceX, which is headed by billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk, will launch a series of 75 satellites for Iridium’s satellite constellation, Iridium NEXT by 2018.
The $3 billion (roughly Rs. 19,350 crores) project is a bid to upgrade the Virginia-based Iridium’s global communications network.