SpaceX is all set to make history with a "double-header" launch this weekend. The first launch and landing went off on Friday (nearly) without a hitch, sending Bulgaria's first communications satellite into orbit.
Today's launch will be carrying an array of new satellites for Iridium, an American communications company out of Virginia. The launch will bring the total number of Iridium satellites in orbit to 20, out of the planned 66.
Flying with larger & significantly upgraded hypersonic grid fins. Single piece cast & cut titanium. Can take reentry heat with no shielding. https://t.co/SmyCCQRt2F
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) June 25, 2017
Just ahead of Sunday afternoon's launch, founder and CEO of SpaceX, Elon Musk answered questions about some upgrades made to his Falcon 9 and 10 rockets. One interesting point about the upgrades is that while exchanging shielded aluminum hypersonic grid fins for titanium ones will make the rocket heavier, (thus requiring more fuel to launch) it will make them indefinitely reusable, thus cheaper in the long run.
These upgrades show SpaceX's commitment to the reusability of these rockets. The ability to quickly turn around the rockets for the next launch is also a key to keeping costs down, which will open up space travel to more and more entities. This has been an ongoing priority for Musk, who views affordability as a key factor in our ability to successfully colonize Mars.