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Thursday, December 13 , 2018, 4:12 am | Fair 46º


SpaceX Resets Launch of Iridium NEXT Mission for Monday at Vandenberg Air Force Base

The launch of another set of 10 Iridium NEXT satellites from Vandenberg Air Force Base is now scheduled for Monday, following a five-day delay.

Liftoff of the Space Exploration Technologies rocket is planned for 5:37 a.m. Monday from Space Launch Complex-4 on South Base, officials say.

The mission has just one launch window each day to get the satellites where they need to be placed in space.

The launch previously had been planned for Sept. 30 and then Oct. 4 before slipping again, with the latest delay reportedly needed for SpaceX crews to complete processing chores.

“Patience everything in spaceflight, but success better than fast!” Iridium CEO Matt Desch announced on Twitter.

The 10 Iridium NEXT communication satellites are ready and looking forward “to their (very) early morning flight,” he added.

The mission, the fourth Falcon 9 rocket launch of the year from Vandenberg, will boost the number of Iridium NEXT satellites in space to 30 as the company works to build the second-generation constellation for the global communication system.

“Our mission is to provide assured access to space and to do it safely and securely,” said Col. Michael S. Hough, commander of the 30th Space Wing. “We can’t accomplish this without great mission partners like SpaceX.

“SpaceX’s and 30 SW’s ever-present can-do-attitude and job pride will be on display for the Iridium-3 launch.”

Iridium has purchased eight Falcon 9 rockets to carry the communications craft into orbit, with plans to have spares in space and on the ground.

The Vandenberg launch is to occur two days before another Falcon 9 rocket is scheduled to fly Wednesday from Cape Canaveral, Fla.

Due to Monday’s early morning launch time, the Hawk’s Nest on Highway 1, south of Vandenberg’s main gate, will not be open. However, several sites around the Lompoc Valley offer views of the launch facility on the horizon while looking south of Ocean Avenue.

Noozhawk North County editor Janene Scully can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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