SpaceX launches 64 "smallsats" in record flight

U.S. Air Force a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying the Spaceflight SSO-A Small Sat Express launches from Space Launch Complex-4E at Vandenberg Air Force Base Calif. Monday Dec. 3 2018. The SpaceX rocket carrying 64 small

Watch SpaceX launch a twice-used rocket tomorrow at 1:31PM ET

The Falcon 9 blasted off from Vandenberg Air Force Base at 10:34 a.m. Monday, arcing over the Pacific west of Los Angeles as it headed toward space.

The SpaceX launch also carries experiments such as PW-Sat2, a student-built satellite from the Warsaw University of Technology in Poland that will test a four-meter deorbit sail.

After the launch, the Falcon 9's first-stage booster returned to earth as planned, landing on a ship off the coast of southern California, according to a live video of the flight.

SpaceX also set a new launch record of 19 missions in one year, besting 2017's performance of 18 missions.

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The rocket took flight from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California at 1:34 p.m. ET.

Reusing rockets over and over is key to Elon Musk's vision of cheaper, more rapid launches to orbit.

"Falcon fairing halves missed the net, but touched down softly in the water", Musk, SpaceX's chief executive officer, said on Twitter.

'It includes 15 microsats and 49 cubesats from both commercial and government entities, of which more than 25 are from global organizations from 17 countries, including the United States, Australia, Italy, Netherlands, Finland, South Korea, Spain, Switzerland, UK, Germany, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Thailand, Poland, Canada, Brazil and India, " according to Spaceflight Industries.

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SpaceX's customer for the SSO-A mission, Spaceflight, aims to be a sort of Uber service for space.

This mission will be the mission with more satellites ever carried to orbit by SpaceX and by a US Launch Vehicle.

Some of those smaller satellites aim to build an internet network capable of supporting smart devices back on Earth's surface. One of these interstellar-bound objects will also pay tribute to Robert Henry Lawrence Jr., the first African -American astronaut. The devices, which span a variety of shapes and sizes, rode to space affixed to sides of a large structure, called a payload stack, that was shielded by the Falcon 9's fairing during launch.

"The mission. signifies the company's first dedicated rideshare mission to a sun-synchronous low-Earth orbit", Spaceflight said in a statement.

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She said the next nine days were an important time for the country, ahead of a December 11 vote in parliament on her deal. MPs from all parties have called for the complete text to be released, and passed a binding vote last month .


Spaceflight declined to release a full list of what satellites and payloads are launching aboard its mission.

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