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Jan. 2, 2017, 10:30 a.m. EST

SpaceX aims to resume rocket launches on Jan. 8

Elon Musk’s company has more tests planned for this week

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By Andy Pasztor

NASA via Getty Images
SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket makes its first successful upright landing on April 8, 2016.

Elon Musk’s Space Exploration Technologies Corp. is preparing to resume rocket launches on Jan. 8, according to industry officials, using revised operational procedures developed in response to a fiery accident that occurred during routine ground preparations last fall.

The tentative blastoff date for the Falcon 9 from North California’s Vandenberg Air Force Base is subject to results of testing later this week, these officials said, and still could change.

But if everything checks out, they said, Iridium Communications Inc., /zigman2/quotes/208839949/composite IRDM +1.66%   which has been eagerly waiting to get the first 10 of its next-generation communications satellites into orbit since the September 2016 fireball, anticipates a launch next Sunday morning.

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SpaceX blast probe focuses on fueling procedures

Investigators believe that the SpaceX Falcon 9 blast last month was likely caused by issues linked to fueling procedures rather than manufacturing flaws. However, they say it is too early for definitive answers. Photo: USLaunchReport.com

SpaceX, as the closely held Southern California company is called, previously said the explosion on the launchpad, which destroyed the rocket and a single commercial satellite, was the result of problematic fueling procedures rather than a design or manufacturing flaw.

An expanded version of this report appears on WSJ.com

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