The satellites launched into orbit by SpaceX's new Falcon 9 rocket will drastically improve communications capabilities for a wide range of industries.
SpaceX has finally redeemed itself from a disappointing launch attempt this summer after it successfully delivered 11 ORBCOMM satellites into orbit last week with its reusable Falcon 9 rocket. As we reported earlier, the event marks the first time a rocket has been gently returned to the surface of the Earth following a launch. But the launch represents much more than a successful attempt at using a new type of spacecraft.
ORBCOMM attached 11 OG2 satellites to the Falcon 9 rocket that were set properly in orbit just minutes after they took off from the ground. The Goddard Space Flight Center reports that there are currently 2,271 satellites orbiting the Earth, with 658 belonging to U.S. owners.
ORBCOMM provides machine-to-machine communication services, and the only dedicated satellite network of its kind. The company combines global satellite, cellular, and dual-mode network connectivity, web reporting apps, software and hardware. They have been providing services for the transportation, distribution, heavy equipment, oil and gas, mining, and maritime industries, as well as the government for the past 20 years.
The new satellites will undergo In-Orbit Testing to make sure that all of the communications systems are working properly over the next few months. The company hopes that they will be ready to run, providing full commercial messaging and Automatic Identification System services, within the coming 60 days.
The satellites will help improve message delivery speed, the size of messages that can be sent and received, and more expansive coverage in remote areas. They can also communicate with ships traveling throughout the world’s oceans, helping them navigate and make the safest route decisions.
The launch is an all around success for each party involved in the effort to place the new satellites into orbit using a new mode of delivery. The reusable Falcon 9 rocket represents a huge breakthrough on the part of SpaceX, and the space travel industry may never be the same as a result.
A news release from SpaceX describing the details of the launch can be found here.