Rocket carrying 64 satellites takes off from California


Hawthorne-based SpaceX again postponed a planned launch of its SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Vandenberg Air Force Base Sunday for a mission dubbed Spaceflight SSO-A: SmallSat Express.

The launch took place from Space Launch Complex 4E (SLC-4E) at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.

The core of Spaceflight's services business is what the company calls "rideshare" missions: Piggy-backing small satellites on the back of missions where a larger satellite is headed in the same direction. But in all fairness, the private rocket company had some help; its sole customer for this mission, SpaceFlight Industries, purchased exclusive access to the Falcon 9-the first time SpaceFlight Industries has done such a thing, as CNN reports. Previous Falcon 9 stages had to retire after two flights, yet Monday's Falcon 9 booster is going for its third space journey. After launch, the first stage of the rocket made a successful landing on a barge - named "Just Read the Instructions" - floating in the Pacific Ocean, potentially setting the stage for a fourth use of the rocket.

This was the company's 19th mission of this year, a new record. As noted, this mission represents the largest single rideshare launched from the U.S. to date.

A SpaceX rocket launch lights up the sky above San Diego.

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It has been confirmed by Seoul's Ministry of Science and the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology that the country's satellite successfully entered its orbital altitude and was in full operation about six and a half hours after the launch. "Nothing wrong with a little swim", Musk, who is also the CEO of Tesla, said on Twitter.

The rocket carried 15 microsatellites and 49 cube satellites from private entities and governments, including 25 from worldwide organizations. Today's simultaneous launch of 64 satellites points to the trend toward more compact, low-priced satellites, and the declining need for heavy rocket power. Second, the Falcon 9 rocket managed to deliver 64 satellites into orbit breaking the U.S. record (India holds the world record for launching 104 satellites in one go on February 15, 2017). It's not the largest launch ever - The Verge noted that an Indian rocket carried 104 satellites into orbit. The rocket booster previously launched Bangladesh's Bangabandhu-1 satellite in May and the Merah Putih (formerly Telkom-4) satellite in August for Telkom Indonesia.

That particular milestone will go a long way to realizing SpaceX's dream of making spaceflight more affordable.

Some of those smaller satellites aim to build an internet network capable of supporting smart devices back on Earth's surface.