SpaceX Might Return Falcon 9 Rocket Flights This December, ULA Getting Ahead In The Competition?
After a few months of dealing with a rocket explosion, SpaceX may finally resume Falcon 9 launches by mid-December. While ULA is moving ahead with its rocket launch programs to make it easier for its clients to estimate the cost of sending a spacecraft to space.
A Falcon 9 rocket exploded on Cape Canaveral Air Force Base launch pad in Florida, a few days before its scheduled liftoff to send a Facebook Internet satellite into space. The 'anomaly' is the toughest SpaceX had faced just yet and it looks like Elon Musk and the operations of his commercial space flight company is about to go back to normal.
Iridium Communications already announced that SpaceX Falcon rocket launch will resume on Dec. 16. The company is planning to launch 10 satellites into orbit. However, the alleged launches will take place at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California instead of Cape Canaveral.
"Iridium NEXT first launch date set for Dec 16 at 12:36 PST, pending regulatory approvals," the company said in a Tweet.
Iridium will launch the said rockets aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9. And now that the satellite communications company already confirmed its scheduled satellite launch, this can be construed as a signal that SpaceX is also allowed to launch it Falcon 9 rockets.
"We have remained confident in SpaceX's ability as a launch partner throughout the Falcon 9 investigation," Iridium chief executive Matt Desch said in a statement. "We are grateful for their transparency and hard work to plan for their return to flight," Desch added.
SpaceX will release the final report based on the investigations on the cause of the Falcon 9 explosion. The authorities including the Federal Aviation Administration will review the document. The company's launches will greatly depend on how the review will turn out. But with scheduled launches, it looks like SpaceX is confident that its Falcon 9 rocket launches will soon lift off from Earth.
Despite the explosion, SpaceX affiliates, especially its customers are confident that the company will be able to deliver its promise to its clients. Meanwhile, United Launch Alliance (ULA) is gaining traction with the current release of its RocketBuilder web tool. It will help consumers calculate how much the cost of their flight would be and the estimated savings can also be seen on the website.
So while SpaceX is still on the verge of finally releasing its report on what could have caused the Falcon 9 explosion last September, ULA, a group of SpaceX competitors, is banking on its 100 percent success rate.