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SpaceX Lands Second Rocket at Vandenberg

Photo: SpaceX Falcon 9 camera looks back at the Earth after lifting three satellites into orbit from Vandenberg Air Force Base on June 12, 2019

SpaceX completed a second successful blastoff, satellite deployment, and return of its Falcon 9 rocket at Vandenberg Air Force Base Wednesday morning. The two-stage rocket lifted off through dense fog at 7:17 a.m. from the ocean-side launch facility, carrying three satellites for the Canadian Space Agency that will provide repeated daily views of sea ice in the Arctic, farmland conditions inland, and areas affected by severe weather.

Within eight minutes, the lower portion of the rocket touched down again at Vandenberg, the second time SpaceX has accomplished the feat; the first time was in October 2018. Fifty-four minutes later, the upper part of the missile released the three satellites into orbit, minutes apart. The Synthetic Aperture Radar Earth observation satellites were built by MDA (formerly MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates of BC), now owned by Maxar Technologies of Colorado, which commissioned the ride into space. A live webcast was being carried by SpaceX.

Photo: Space XFalcon 9 separates its booster rocket for return to Earth.
Photo: SpaceXThe second satellite can be seen detaching from Falcon 9 and going into orbit for the Canadian Space Agency.

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