SpaceX launches rocket with 64 satellites


Hawthorne-based SpaceX will try again Monday to launch a rocket from Vandenberg Air Force Base, possibly giving the Southland another impressive aerial light show.

SpaceX said the mission was "one of the most complex and intricate endeavours" for Seattle-based startup Spaceflight, the ride-share company that arranged passage for each satellite maker. It also marked the 19th successful launch of 2018, already surpassing the 18 launches made in 2017.

The mission was billed as the "largest dedicated rideshare mission on a US launch vehicle".

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Although Falcon 9 and Heavy rockets come into their prime once vertical, the rockets spend the vast majority of their lives horizontal, either in transport from facility to facility or stationary inside a SpaceX hangar, awaiting launch, undergoing integration, or being refurbished.

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", he added. For updates on the deployment sequence, check out Spaceflight Industries twitter feed.

About 13 minutes into the mission, Spaceflight will begin deploying the satellites using multiple dispensers and techniques. 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.

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Soon after the drone ship docks in port, SpaceX recovery technicians install a brace and lifting jig that attaches to Falcon 9's booster interstage, using the same mechanisms that connect the first stage to the second stage prior to stage separation.

On Nov. 15, SpaceX launched a Qatari communications satellite into orbit from Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Still, it's an important step toward commercializing spaceflight and making orbit more accessible. 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".

Among the satellites crammed into the payload stack was an Australian-built device that will connect remote devices to the internet, and a pair of SkySats-one from the US and one from Finland-that'll be used to track planes and ships. The agency is considering updating a set of 2004 rules, "seeking to keep pace with technological and market changes, and to incorporate improvements in debris mitigation practices", the FCC said.

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