HAWTHORNE (CBSLA) — Fourth time was the charm for a rocket launch at Vandenberg Air Force Base that had already been delayed three times.
The Falcon 9 rocket lifted off at 10:32 a.m. from Vandenberg on a “ridesharing” mission to carry 64 satellites into orbit. 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.
This was a historic launch, marking the first time the same Falcon 9 rocket has been used in three space missions. SpaceX has worked for years to perfect the reuse of its rockets to slash the cost of space missions, landing the first stage of the rockets either back on land near the original launch site or on barges floating in the ocean. It has often re-used the first stages of Falcon 9 rockets, but Monday’s launch was the first time the same rocket was used a third time.
The rocket in Monday’s launch was previously used for satellite launches in May and August of this year. After launch, the first stage of the rocket made a successful landing on a barge — named “Just Read the Instructions” — floating in the Pacific Ocean, potentially setting the stage for a fourth use of the rocket.
The used rocket touched down in the water, just short of the landing pad, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk tweeted.
Organized by Spaceflight Industries, the satellites aboard the rocket come from 34 organizations from 17 countries. The 15 microsats and 49 cubesats be released into a “sun-synchronous low Earth orbit.”
Monday’s mission was SpaceX’s 19th launch of the year.
(© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)