SpaceX launches 64 "smallsats" in record flight

U.S. Air Force a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying the Spaceflight SSO-A Small Sat Express launches from Space Launch Complex-4E at Vandenberg Air Force Base Calif. Monday Dec. 3 2018. The SpaceX rocket carrying 64 small

It might just fly a fourth time, too, as SpaceX already has plans to launch the rocket again.

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

This mission also marks a first for SpaceX: It's the first time the company has sent the same first-stage booster into space three times.

What exactly goes into the process of preparing Falcon 9 Block 5 boosters for reused launches is not entirely clear, but it can be said with some confidence that Block 5 (or SpaceX's comfort level) is not quite to the point that a booster has flown with literally zero significant refurbishment between launches.

The launch, which happened shortly after 10:30 a.m., was originally scheduled for November 19, Noozhawk reported.

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The Hawk's Nest gates will open on Sunday at 9:00 a.m. PST and close at 10:15 a.m. PST.

The flight will be the third for this particular Falcon 9 rocket.

This is the second delay for the launch. Among them there are 15 microsatellites (22-220 pounds) and 49 cubesats - small artificial satellites of the Earth for space exploration, including 25 small satellites beloningg to global organizations from 17 countries, including the United States, Australia, Italy, the Netherlands, Finland, South Korea, Spain, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, Germany, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Thailand, Poland, Canada, Brazil and India. One sponsored a balloon that will inflate in orbit and be visible from the ground. The current record is held by an Indian rocket that launched 104 small satellites earlier this year.

Organized by Spaceflight Industries, the satellites aboard the rocket would come from 34 organizations and be released into a "sun-synchronous low Earth orbit".

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

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