After some setbacks — including, but not limited to, an explosion in September — SpaceX has launched a Falcon 9 rocket from the Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.
The launch, which is a reschedule from SpaceX's January 9 attempt, is carrying 10 Iridium NEXT communications satellites, with the hope of creating a new data network. But there was a lot more than the payload riding on the mission — it was a critical opportunity for SpaceX to win back public trust and move forward with a loaded roster of launches.
This is SpaceX's first launch since an issue with a rocket's helium tank caused a Falcon 9 to explode on site at Cape Canaveral. As has become tradition, the rocket's first stage will attempt to land upright on a drone ship.
Elon Musk hopes to start a human colony on Mars someday, but first needs to remind the world his company can reliably send payloads into orbit. That said, SpaceX has stated that after conducting a thorough investigation, it is taking corrective actions to solved any and all hardware problems that led to the September mishap.
To watch the launch itself, skip to the 28-minute mark of the video (or click this link).
All satellites deployed
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) January 14, 2017