On May 22, SpaceX lifted off two brand new satellites and five Iridium next communication satellites into space. The satellites were lifted in a Falcon 9 rocket from the Vanderberg Air Force Base which is located in California at 3:47 pm EDT. According to Gay Yee Hill who is the TV launch commentator of NASA said that launching the GRACE-FO has maintained the legacy and the pride of the GRACE mission which will be mainly be positioned to find out the water position on the surface of the Earth. Even Sammy Kayali who was the former deputy manager of GRACE-FO also appreciated the launch procedure very much.
For this launch, the company used the same Falcon 9 rocket which it had used to lift off the controversial Zuma mission meant of the US force in January. The Zuma mission was a total failure as the spacecraft crashed before reaching the desired position in orbit. However subsequent investigations proved that the rocket was not the cause of the crash. Still, then the SpaceX did not take any chances and refurbished the rocket accurately before engaging it into the launching activities.
SpaceX did try to recover the valuable payload fairing that was covering the GRACE-FO as well as the Iridium satellites during the launch of the same. There fairing was expected to come back to the Earth and be caught by Mr.Steven, which a space recovery boat and is equipped with a substantial net suspended within huge metals arms. However, the boat was not successful in getting hold of the payload. The company officials said that they were very close to catching the same but could not do so. They will further work on the same to rectify the loopholes.
Confirming of the success of the mission the NASA scientists said that after 12 minutes from the takeoff, the second stage of the rocket released the twin satellites into the near-polar orbit. The second stage the again started working and moved in the higher orbit to release the five Iridium satellites that it was carrying. SpaceX further confirmed that the Iridium satellites are also positioned successfully in the desired orbit after one hour of the take-off. These satellites are supposed to join a constellation of 50 satellites which is being owned by the company and known as Iridium Communications. Thereby the total number of Iridium satellites will now become fifty-five in numbers.