Elon Musk's SpaceX launches biggest US 'rideshare' mission with 64 satellites

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The rocket launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California Monday after delays postponed the original launch window.

SSO-A was also notable for the number of satellites it delivered; 64 is the most ever lofted from US soil during a single launch.

Falcon 9 rocket is flying on its third mission, a first because no SpaceX rocket has ever flown more than twice.

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.

The first stage may fly yet again; it aced its landing today as well, coming down softly on the deck of the drone ship "Just Read Your Instructions", which was stationed in the Pacific Ocean.

In sending the SSO-A payloads on their way, SpaceX set a few records in the process.

A Falcon 9 rocket lifts off from at Vandenberg Air Force Base on Monday, carrying a 64-satellite payload.

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

In November, SpaceX received approval from the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to construct, deploy, and operate in excess of 7,000 satellites at very-low-Earth orbit, which is expected to boost internet connectivity across the globe. By 11:32 am PST (02:32 pm EST), SpaceX had confirmed the successful deployment of "four microsats and the upper and lower free flyer with additional payloads for Spaceflight SSO-A: SmallSat Express".

The satellites represented the work of colleges, universities, high schools, commercial operators, and even governments, coming from 34 organizations who hail from 17 nations. Second, the Falcon 9 rocket managed to deliver 64 satellites into orbit breaking the United States record (India holds the world record for launching 104 satellites in one go on February 15, 2017).

Monday's mission will be SpaceX's 19th launch of the year. "Nothing wrong with a little swim". For updates on the deployment sequence, check out Spaceflight Industries twitter feed.

That particular milestone will go a long way to realizing SpaceX's dream of making spaceflight more affordable. Its backlog of customers is so long that CEO Peter Beck told CNN Business the company is "not constrained by customers right now - we're only constrained by how quickly we can build rockets".

The reflective, inflatable sculpture is created to eject from its satellite and orbit the earth 'for several weeks before disintegrating upon re-entry into Earth's atmosphere, ' the museum said.

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