SpaceX to Forgo Falcon 9 Booster Landing for 4th Iridium Satellite Launch; Matt Desch Comments

Matt Desch

A spokesperson for SpaceX has said the company intends not to land the Falcon 9 rocket’s first stage as part of a mission to launch Iridium Communications’ fourth batch of 10 Iridium NEXT satellites into space, SpaceNews reported Wednesday.

Iridium’s satellites are scheduled Friday to take off aboard SpaceX’s Falcon 9 from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California days after the launch services provider completed a static fire test of the rocket’s first stage.

“These are case-by-case decisions and are based on mission requirements and the needs of our manifest,” a SpaceX spokesperson told the publication in response to an inquiry.

Iridium CEO Matt Desch confirmed in response to a social media inquiry that the booster would not perform a landing and would not be recovered.

Desch noted the mission does not call for any “dogleg” maneuvers and does not entail any special operations to deliver the satellites to various orbital planes.

The planned launch would reuse the first stage that SpaceX deployed in June to bring the second set of Iridium NEXT satellites into orbit, the report added.

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