We have liftoff! SpaceX successfully launches Falcon 9 rocket

Early-bird Central Coast residents were likely able to catch a glimpse of a SpaceX rocket launch Friday morning.

A Falcon 9 rocket launched as planned from Vandenberg Air Force at about 7:30 a.m., according to a SpaceX tweet.

The rocket carried 10 Iridium commercial satellites into orbit — the eighth and final set in a series of 75 SpaceX has launched as part of its Iridium-8 mission, according to the SpaceX website.

The devices are part of Iridium’s campaign to “replace the world’s largest commercial communication satellite network,” according to a company press kit.

The launch on Friday went off without a hitch after it was delayed in December, when SpaceX needed more time to prepare and pushed it back until January.

The next launch window was planned for Wednesday and then rescheduled for Friday.

The Falcon 9 mission is separate from that of the Delta IV Heavy rocket, which was also to be launched from Vandenberg in December.

United Launch Alliance was to launch that rocket, which was scheduled to carry a top-secret national security payload for the National Reconnaissance Office, a Defense Department intelligence agency.

A new Delta IV Heavy launch date remains under review pending the results of additional testing.

For more information, follow @SpaceX on Twitter or visit spacex.com/webcast to watch the Falcon 9 rocket carry out its mission.

Space X launch. SpaceX launched its Falcon 9 rocket from Vandenberg Air Force Base near Lompoc, California, on Friday, January 11, 2019, after weather delays. The rocket carried Iridium 8 satellites into orbit. United Airlines flight 5656 lands in San Luis Obispo as the rocket takes to the sky. David Middlecamp 1-11-2019 David Middlecamp dmiddlecamp@thetribunenews.com
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