SpaceX targets January for return to flight

SpaceX Falcon 9
The next launch of a Falcon 9 rocket is expected to occur in early January. (SpaceX Photo)

SpaceX says it expects to finish its investigation of September’s fiery loss of a Falcon 9 rocket and its payload in time for a return to flight in early January.

That launch is expected to send 10 Iridium Next communication satellites into orbit from California’s Vandenberg Air Force Base.

Over the past few weeks, officials at SpaceX and Iridium had been hinting that the launch might occur in mid-December, but today’s update extends the postponement a few more weeks.

“This allows for additional time to close out vehicle preparations and complete extended testing to help ensure the highest possible level of mission assurance prior to launch,” SpaceX said.

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By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributor to GeekWire and Universe Today, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," past president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing.

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