SpaceX postpones rocket launch from Vandenberg Air Force Base

SpaceX launched a rocket carrying a payload of 64 satellites from Vandenberg Air Force Base

SpaceX launched the same Falcon 9 rocket first stage for the third time on Monday.

The landing marked the first time SpaceX had flown a first stage three times.

SmallSat Express mission includes 15 microsats and 49 cubesats from commercial and government entities, including universities, startups and a middle school, according to the SpaceX press kit.

Monday's success sets a new SpaceX record for the number of launches in one year, after a total of 18 in 2017.

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A Falcon 9 rocket lifts off from at Vandenberg Air Force Base on Monday, carrying a 64-satellite payload. Because of the sheer amount of space required, this mission was also the first time that Spaceflight Industries purchased the payload space of an entire Falcon 9 rocket.

The mission comes days after India fired a rocket carrying 31 satellites from eight different countries into space.

Instead of just using one rocket for one mission, like traditional launch providers, SpaceX wants to refurbish and reuse their rockets to make it cheaper to fly to space in the first place.

Hitching a ride on the Falcon rocket was a satellite from Australian Internet of Things (IoT) satellite technology startup Myriota, which will be put into a sun-synchronous orbit and add to the company's existing constellation. This time around, the retraction jig was visibly stripped and SpaceX technicians did not attempt any leg retractions. 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.

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Before landing, however, the booster helped deliver 64 small satellites to orbit for a variety of companies. Two companies - US-based Capella Space Corporation and Finland's ICEYE - seek to use advanced radars to track airplanes or ships, even in cloudy weather.

It marked one of the largest satellite ride-sharing missions ever launched and the most crowded single mission in USA history, according to Spaceflight, SpaceX's customer for the launch.

The satellites will be placed into orbit over the next several hours.

As with previous SpaceX launches from Vandenberg, the rocket created an impressive aerial light show over Southern California. For updates on the deployment sequence, check out Spaceflight Industries twitter feed. 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 flight plan called for the single Merlin engine powering the second stage to fire for about seven-and-a-half minutes to complete the trip to a 375-mile-high orbit around Earth's poles.

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