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SpaceX To Launch Several Satellites From Vandenberg Tuesday

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE (CBSLA) – Hawthorne-based SpaceX is set to launch several communication and research satellites on a Falcon 9 rocket from Vandenberg Air Force Base near Lompoc Tuesday.
FILE — A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launches from Vandenberg Air Force Base on March 30, 2018. (Credit: U.S. Air Force)
The rocket, which will be carrying five communications satellites for Iridium and two research satellites for NASA, is set to lift off at 12:47 p.m. Pacific time.
While SpaceX often recovers the first-stage of its rockets so they can be reused in future missions, SpaceX will not be attempting such a recovery this time.
Watch The Launch Live Here
The five communication satellites are part of Iridium’s $3 billion system that will ultimately include 75 satellites bolstering a worldwide voice and data communication network.
The research satellites are part of the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment Follow-On, or GRACE-FO, mission. The project, a joint effort of NASA and the German Research Centre for Geosciences. It is an effort to observe the movement of water and other mass around the planet by precisely tracking the changing pull of gravity.
The GRACE-FO satellites will be deployed first, at around 11 minutes after the launch, followed by the Iridium satellites, about one hour after launch.
Earlier this month, Vandenberg Air Force Base was the launch site of the Mars-bound Atlas 5 rocket , which is carrying a robotic lander that will be used to probe the Red Planet’s core. It was the first ever interplanetary launch from the West Coast.
On May 11, SpaceX launched an upgraded Falcon 9 rocket from the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Fla. Known as the Falcon 9 Block 5, the enhanced rocket will eventually be used to launch astronauts to the International Space Station. It is designed to refly its first stage at least 10 times.
For the past several years, SpaceX has been developing the use of recycled rockets in order to cut launch costs and speed up flights. SpaceX launched its first ever recycled rocket in March of 2017. In June of 2017, it launched and successfully recovered its first-ever recycled capsule.
Last December, it launched its first reused rocket and reused spacecraft in the same mission: using a recycled Dragon capsule and a recycled Falcon 9 rocket.
SpaceX has re-launched 11 first stage boosters to date, but none have flown more than twice. The Falcon 9 Block 5 is expected to change that.
On Sunday, meanwhile, SpaceX-founder Elon Musk posted a photo to Instagram of a newly-designed Crew Dragon capsule which would potentially be able to one day carry people to Mars.
(©2018 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

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