SpaceX launches 64 "smallsats" in record flight

SpaceX launch

SpaceX launch

Working toward a backup launch opportunity on December 3'.

The Falcon 9 purchased by Spaceflight was the first fully dedicated to a smallsat "rideshare" mission using a single rocket to carry dozens of spacecraft to orbit that otherwise might have difficulty finding a ride to space. The launch has been postponed three times - once to accommodate additional pre-flight inspections, another time due to weather, and on Sunday to "conduct additional inspections of the second stage, according to SpaceX".

Monday's flight got underway at 10:32 a.m. PST (GMT-8; 1:32 p.m. EST) when the Falcon 9's nine Merlin 1C first stage engines ignited with a rush of flame and steaming exhaust, pushing the slender 130-foot-tall rocket away from pad 4-East at Vandenberg. Falcon 9 and its crowded payload were supposed to take flight on November 19, but SpaceX delayed the SmallSat Express mission to conduct additional tests.

This is the second delay for the launch.

Following separation, SpaceX will attempt to land the rocket's first stage on a droneship stationed in the Pacific Ocean.

Fans can watch the Falcon 9 rocket take-off live on SpaceX's webcast.

'It includes 15 microsats and 49 cubesats from both commercial and government entities, of which more than 25 are from worldwide 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. Instead, they rely on satellite phones and CB radios to communicate and coordinate their illegal activities.

Some of those smaller satellites aim to build an internet network capable of supporting smart devices back on Earth's surface.

It might just fly a fourth time, too, as SpaceX already has plans to launch the rocket again. SpaceX's Twitter account will share live updates of the mission as well.

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