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SpaceX rocket carrying 64 satellites launches from Vandenberg AFB

Posted at 10:57 AM, Dec 03, 2018
and last updated 2018-12-04 00:32:51-05

(AP/KSBY) – A SpaceX rocket carrying 64 small satellites has lifted off from Vandenberg Air Force Base with a first stage that has been used twice before.

The Falcon 9 blasted off at 10:34 a.m. Monday, arcing over the Pacific Ocean as it headed toward space.

A few minutes after launch, the rocket’s first stage performed a so-called “boost back maneuver” and successfully landed on an unmanned ship in the Pacific.

The first stage was previously launched and recovered during missions in May and August. SpaceX founder Elon Musk has made reusability a major goal.

The payload of the Spaceflight SSO-A SmallSat Express includes satellites from 34 organizations in 17 countries. It’s the largest single rideshare mission from a U.S.-based launch vehicle in history. Full deployment into low Earth orbit is expected to take six hours.