GRACE Follow-on mission signed to Falcon 9 Iridium launch

by | Dec 20, 2016 | NASA, Satellites, SpaceX | 0 comments

While the Iridium low Earth orbit communications satellites have had their deployment plans put into disarray by the on-pad failure-induced delays to the SpaceX Falcon 9 launch programme, NASA has not been put off. While the start of the Iridium Falcon 9 flights have now been delayed until early next year, NASA has booked a passage for the joint NASA/DLR mission. The two Grace Follow-on mission gravity research spacecraft will now fly on one of the Falcon Iridium flights as co-payloads, probably to take place in December 2018.

It was originally planned that the Grace Follow-on mission would fly on the Ukrainian Dnepr rocket. However, political tensions between Russia and Ukraine have ended Dnepr flights from the Russian-leased Baikonur Cosmodrome near Tyuratam in Kazakhstan.


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