A SpaceX reusable rocket-stage approaches landing on an ocean platform (left); a Blue Origin reusable rocket booster.
Photos, SpaceX: NASA via Getty Images; Blue Origin: Courtesy of Blue Orgin
By Jonathan Vanian
December 7, 2016

SpaceX is now aiming at early January for its first flight since one of its Falcon 9 rockets exploded on the launch pad in September.

The Elon Musk-led space flight company originally planned for a Dec. 16 launch, but it revised its schedule on Wednesday by pushing the expected date to 2017. Satellite specialist Iridium Communications is slated to place 10 of its satellites aboard the Falcon 9 for that launch.

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket exploded during a test firing in Florida in September, after which the company postponed all of its planned launches. SpaceX (spacex) has said that it is investigating the reason for the explosion, but it has yet to release a detailed account.


Musk, who is also the CEO of electric car company Tesla Motors (tsla), told CNBC in November that the explosion was unlike anything ever “encountered before in the history of rocketry.”

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“I think we’ve gotten to the bottom of the problem,” Musk said at the time without explaining in detail.

“We are finalizing the investigation into our September 1 anomaly and are working to complete the final steps necessary to safely and reliably return to flight, now in early January with the launch of Iridium-1,” SpaceX said in a statement on Wednesday. “This allows for additional time to close-out vehicle preparations and complete extended testing to help ensure the highest possible level of mission assurance prior to launch.”

September’s SpaceX explosion also destroyed one of the $200 million satellites owned by Israel-based satellite company Space Communication.

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Space Communication said it would either seek $50 million from SpaceX as compensation for the accident or a free ride aboard another launch.



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