Satellite Cargo Is Loaded for SpaceX's First Launch Since Explosion

SpaceX hasn’t launched a rocket since one of their Falcon 9’s exploded, dramatically, on the launch pad in September, but they’re gearing up to start again. On Thursday, company CEO Elon Musk was feeling confident enough to share some photos of the satellites that his company will send to space on the next launch.

The launch, which was originally planned for December but is currently scheduled for January 7, will carry ten Iridium Communications satellites as cargo. “Milestone Alert: The first ten #IridiumNEXT satellites are stacked and encapsulated in the Falcon 9 fairing,” the company tweeted, and Musk retweeted the images from his personal Twitter account.

It’s the first of seven planned launches that SpaceX is on the hook for. Iridium, whose network of satellites aid in voice and data communication, is aiming to replace its old fleet of satellites from the late 1990s. The new Iridium Next fleet will consist of at least 70 satellites which will launch 10 at a time.

SpaceX says that it has figured out what went wrong with the September explosion, and has given itself ample time to ensure that the Iridium-1 launch goes off without a hitch. It would be a really bad start to Musk’s year if that weren’t the case.

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