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Weekend Doubleheader: Elon Musk Plans Twin Launches Of Satellites For Iridium, Bulgaria

Weekend Doubleheader: Elon Musk Plans Twin Launches Of Satellites For Iridium, Bulgaria

Outer space entrepreneur Elon Musk has announced plans to fire two Falcon 9 rockets during a rare weekend doubleheader.

"If schedule holds there will be two Falcon 9 launches within 48 hours (Cape Canaveral in Florida and Vandenberg Air Force Base in California) this weekend," Musk wrote on Twitter Inc (NYSE: TWTR).

SpaceX founder Musk, also founder and CEO of Tesla Inc (NASDAQ: TSLA), plans to carry 10 new satellites on June 25 into orbit for Iridium Communications Inc (NASDAQ: IRDM). Iridium is best known for its satellite phone service.

The second rocket, which also has a flight window for this weekend, will carry a satellite for Bulgaria, the first telecommunications satellite in the country’s history. This would be the second time SpaceX has reused a first stage of the Falcon 9.

Iridium Amenable To Reusable Rockets

Musk's space plans are dependent on cost-efficient, reusable rockets and cargo-carrying spacecraft, such as its Dragon capsule. It has a contract to ferry 81 of Iridium Next satellites using eight Falcon 9 launches (the first of which took place in January).

Iridium's deal with SpaceX is to use new Falcon 9s, but the company said it would allow used rockets if Musk can speed up the company’s plans to stitch together a global aircraft tracking system.

“While we are currently flying first flown launches, I’m open to previously flown launches, particularly for the second half of our launch schedule,” Iridium CEO Matthew Desch said in a conference call with reporters.

Iridium has a joint venture for global aircraft tracking with Aireon, which is paying Iridium $200 million to use its satellites to host a global network that tracks aircraft beyond the reach of regular radar, improving fuel efficiency and safety by allowing pilots to fly optimal routes.

Related Links:

Billionaires Boast Reusable Rockets, Motels In Space

Is That A Zucchini In Your Rocket?

Image: Heisenberg Media, Flickr


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