SpaceX launches 64 satellites for Spaceflight

SpaceX Falcon launch
SpaceX’s first triple-launched Falcon 9 booster lights up to send 64 satellites into space. (SpaceX Photo)

SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket launched Seattle-based Spaceflight’s first-ever dedicated rideshare mission, a satellite extravaganza aimed at placing 64 spacecraft in low Earth orbit.

Today’s liftoff from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California came off at 10:34 a.m. PT, sending the scorch-marked rocket into clear skies. The mission had been delayed several times over the past couple of weeks, due to concerns about upper-level winds and the need for more pre-launch inspections.

This mission delivered a first for SpaceX as well as for Spaceflight: It marked the first time SpaceX sent the same first-stage booster into space and back three times.

The upgraded Block 5 booster had its previous liftoffs in May and August, and today SpaceX recovered the booster yet again. Minutes after launch, it touched down on a drone ship stationed out in the Pacific Ocean, christened “Just Read the Instructions.”

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By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributor to GeekWire and Universe Today, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," past president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing.

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