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New Iridium NEXT launch date confirmed

The first launch of Iridium’s NEXT generation of satellites, previously delayed following a launch anomaly during testing of the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket in 2016, has been given a revised target date of January 8, 2017.

{mprestriction ids="1,2"}Iridium is the first company in line for the return to flight of the Falcon 9, with the launch expected to take place from Vandenberg's Space Launch Complex 4E (SLC-4E) in California, USA.

Following the SpaceX announcement, Iridium commented that it was “pleased with SpaceX’s announcement on the results of the September 1 anomaly as identified by their accident investigation team, and their plans to target a return to flight on January 8 with the first Iridium NEXT launch.”

A four month investigation involving officials at the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the US Air Force (USAF), the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), along with SpaceX itself, concluded that a component in the second stage liquid oxygen (LOX) tank had failed during a September 2016 launch test in Florida.

SpaceX says that the investigation team identified several credible causes for the failure, and that corrective actions to address all of these credible causes have been taken, with changes being made to avoid the conditions that led to these causes.{/mprestriction}

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