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Rocket carrying 64 satellites takes off from California

December 3, 2018

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. (AP) — A SpaceX rocket carrying 64 small satellites has lifted off from California with a first stage that has been used twice before.

The Falcon 9 blasted off from Vandenberg Air Force Base at 10:34 a.m. Monday, arcing over the Pacific west of Los Angeles as it headed toward space.

If all goes well, the rocket’s first stage will perform a so-called boost back maneuver and land on an unmanned ship in the Pacific.

The first stage was previously launched and recovered during missions in May and August. SpaceX founder Elon Musk has made reusability a major goal.

The payload of the Spaceflight SSO-A SmallSat Express includes satellites from 34 organizations in 17 countries. Full deployment into low Earth orbit is expected to take six hours.

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