Watch SpaceX’s final launch of the year — but don’t expect a landing this time


Tonight, SpaceX is scheduled to launch its 18th and final mission of the year, sending 10 satellites into orbit for longtime customer Iridium. The company is using another one of its used Falcon 9 rockets for this flight, which will launch out of Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. But this time, the vehicle will not be landing; its landing legs and grid fins appear to have been removed, and the rocket will fall to Earth after the launch is over.

It’s unclear exactly why this rocket won’t be landing for this mission. SpaceX has easily landed rockets following three previous Iridium missions, which have had nearly identical profiles to this one. In a statement to the The Verge, SpaceX said that the decision to land rockets are made…

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