SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket blasts off from Vandenberg

SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base on Monday morning after weeks of delays.

The launch, which happened shortly after 10:30 a.m., was originally scheduled for Nov. 19, Noozhawk reported. It was the first of two rocket launches planned this week from Vandenberg.

The rocket had an especially large payload for this mission, Spaceflight Industries’ SSO-A: SmallSat Express, made up of 64 CubeSats and micro satellites for customers all over the world. That includes universities and startups from countries including the United States, South Korea, Kazakhstan and India.

The launch was delayed multiple times due to inclement weather and to conduct more inspections before takeoff. The rocket went vertical on the launch pad Sunday night, and “vehicle and weather are a go ahead of today’s launch window,” SpaceX tweeted.

Monday’s launch was the third for the Falcon’s first-stage booster, which previously conducted two other launches from Florida.

With its mission complete Monday, the first-stage booster returned to the drone ship, “Just Read the Instructions,” positioned southwest of Vandenberg.

“Falcon 9 has touched down for the third time,” a SpaceX representative said on the webcast.

Central Coast residents will get a second rocket launch at the end of the work week.

United Launch Alliance’s Delta IV Heavy rocket is scheduled for its flight from Space Launch Complex-6 on South Base at 8:19 p.m. Friday. Since the rocket will carry a National Reconnaissance Office payload, the launch window remains top secret but is not expected to extend beyond 9:38 p.m.

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