It has been a good year for SpaceX, Elon Musk’s space company. SpaceX has completed its 18th launch of the year. It has set a new record for a private space company. The company’s previous best was 10 successful launches in a calendar year and it has bested that by quite a margin in 2017.
SpaceX’s launch yesterday was for its client Iridium. The payload delivered 10 satellites to low Earth orbit for Iridium’s NEXT communications constellation. This is the fourth mission of its kind that SpaceX has flown for this client.
The rocket that was used for this launch was a flight proven Falcon 9. What that means is that this rocket has previously been to space. Its last mission was back in June and that was also for Iridium.
Iridium also happened to be the client for SpaceX’s first mission of this year back in January. It was a crucial time for the company as it recovered from a pre-launch accident that resulted in the loss of a rocket and the payload which included a Facebook internet satellite.
SpaceX launched its 18th mission of the year from the Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. A rocket recovery of the first stage wasn’t included in the mission parameters.
The company is now hoping to launch its first Falcon Heavy rocket next month. It’s being readied for launch currently at the Cape Canaveral Air Force base in Florida.