The first stage of the Falcon 9 is the portion that SpaceX has created to be fully reusable, and took less than eight minutes to separate from the second stage and land on the rocket company's droneship.
The company has a seven-flight contract with SpaceX worth $468.1 million and plans to deploy 10 satellites at time. First stage engine cutoff was at two minutes, 24 seconds with second stage separation three seconds later and second stage engine firing eight seconds after that.
"Today Iridium launches a new era in the history of our company and a new era in space as we start to deliver the next-generation of satellite communications", Iridium CEO Matt Desch said in a statement on Saturday.
The successful launch is seen as an important step in the SpaceX space program.
The company aims to launch 27 rockets this year alone, more than triple last year's number.
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The accident destroyed the rocket and its payload - a satellite that Facebook wanted to use to spread internet access in Africa - and grounded the Falcon 9 program as an investigation took place.
Officials at the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the U.S. Air Force (USAF), the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), along with several industry experts, collaborated with SpaceX on an investigation. SpaceX determined that a support strut broke. According to the company, this is the first of a series of launches that will eventually form the 81-satellite Iridium NEXT global communication network. These satellites, which represent the first phase in the planned roll-out of Iridium's NEXT constellation, will replace the company's aging fleet of satellites in the orbit.
Falcon 9 first stage after its successful landing on the "Just Read the Instructions" drone ship.
In the short term, SpaceX plans to revamp its fueling procedures so that the super-cold liquid oxygen will not build up between the helium tank's liner and its outer covering, it added.