SpaceX Delays Launch of First Falcon 9 Rocket to Fly Three Times

Cristina Cross
December 4, 2018

'Eight of the satellites on board a Falcon 9 from Vandenberg Air Force Base will be from companies hoping to build a truly global Internet of Things by revolutionizing satellite communications, ' Wired reported. The 64 miniature satellites belong to companies, governments and research institutions in 17 different countries.

"Falcon 9 has touched down for the third time", a SpaceX representative said on the webcast.

After separation, the rocket's first stage will attempt to land on a drone ship in the Pacific Ocean.

Previous SpaceX launches from Vandenberg have created impressive light shows over the Southland and the entire southwestern United States.

- SpaceX successfully deployed 64 satellites on Monday from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California to the cheers of those back on the ground throughout the world.

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The same first stage was previously launched and recovered on missions in May and August.

"Standing down from tomorrow's launch attempt of Spaceflight SSO-A: SmallSat Express to conduct additional inspections of the second stage", SpaceX said on the company Twitter page. The fairing-a cone-like structure that protects satellites, equipment, food, and other items during the journey into space-was supposed to be caught in the netting of a recovery vessel known as Mr. Steven. SpaceX has postponed the rocket's mission since mid-November due to booster checks and bad weather at the lift-off area.

The launch is the largest single rideshare mission from a US -based launch vehicle - carrying spacecraft for 34 organizations from 17 countries - but is not the first, nor the largest launch of smallsats on a single mission.

SpaceX's customer for the SSO-A mission, Spaceflight, aims to be a sort of Uber service for space.

Usually, these kinds of small satellites would fly to space as secondary payloads aboard a rocket with a larger space mission of some kind, but these 64 satellites got their own rides to space on a reusable rocket. And an art project, funded by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, that pays homage to the first African American astronaut, Robert Henry Lawrence Jr., also took flight. The 15 microsats and 49 cubesats be released into a "sun-synchronous low Earth orbit".

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