Today, SpaceX founder Elon Musk announced that he would resume rocket launches by mid-December, less than six months after his last launch crashed and burned.
SpaceX, in collaboration with ORBCOMM Inc. (a provider or Machine-to-Machine and Internet of Things solutions), will launch eleven OG2 satellites along with the SpaceX Falcon 9 from Florida’s Cape Canaveral Air Force Station within six to eight weeks.
“We are excited to launch our eleven OG2 satellites aboard SpaceX’s newly upgraded Falcon 9 rocket and have full confidence in SpaceX and their dedication to this launch,” said Marc Eisenberg, ORBCOMM’s Chief Executive Officer.
“We look forward to completing the deployment of our next generation constellation and delivering a higher level of performance, coverage and reliability through our modernized and upgraded OG2 network to our customers around the world.”
This launch will mark the first flight of the new and improved Falcon 9. The rocket has been redesigned for more power in addition to fixing the number of faulty parts that scuttled the SpaceX launch in June.
On June 28, the original Falcon 9, which was tasked with sending supplies to the International Space Station, exploded less than three minutes after its launch. The accident was the result of a faulty steel bracket within the rocket’s upper-stage liquid oxygen tank. When the bracket broke, high-pressure helium was released, over-pressurizing the tank and causing the explosion.
“We believe in the next six to eight weeks we’ll be able to return to flight,” said Lee Rosen, SpaceX vice president of mission and launch operations. “Things are coming along nicely with the upgraded version of the vehicle and we’re prepared to get back at this.”
Not only will this flight erase the privately owned companies summer disaster, it will also allows SpaceX to enter the contest for the highly prized United States military launch contract. The winner of the contract gets to fly a next-generation US Global Positioning System satellite into space.
Many are eagerly watching the contest to see if the plucky young start up can defeat the monopoly of military launches. For some time, all such contracts have been awarded to the United Launch Alliance- a partnership of two well-established aerospace companies Lockheed-Martin and Boeing.