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26 June 2017, 02:34 | Laverne Osborne
The last time United States rockets launched such simultaneous types of rockets in two days apart was in 1995 when both Lockheed Martin Atlas and Atlas-E sent two separate missions into space with the intention of delivering Intelsat broadcast and Air Force weather satellites to space.
Then on Sunday SpaceX launched Falcon 9 again, this time with 10 low-Earth orbit satellites for the communications company Iridium.
In addition to delivering the satellites, the Falcon had a secondary mission - attempt to land the first-stage motor on the droneship, "Just Read the Instructions", positioned in Pacific Ocean.
Roughly eight minutes after the launch, the rocket's first stage completed a vertical landing on the "Of Course I Still Love You" droneship stationed in the Atlantic Ocean.
The Falcon 9 rocket blasted off through low-lying fog at 1:25 p.m. PDT from Vandenberg Air Force Base northwest of Los Angeles.
The last of the 10 satellites launched Sunday was deployed to low-Earth orbit at 2:37 p.m.
The missions saw both rockets drop from space landing into the sea to ensure that the boosters would be available for reuse in the future.
The initial phases of the launch went according to plan, the second stage enters the low Earth orbit prior to a second burn following the spacecraft separation. The launch Sunday was SpaceX's second delivery; it sent up the first 10 satellites in January.
With each satellite able to communicate with up to four others - one ahead, one behind and one to either side in adjacent orbital planes - the Iridium system provides a global communications network that includes hand-held phones, machine-to-machine devices and ship- and aircraft-born data transmitters. In total, 81 new satellites are being built, with nine serving as on-orbit spares and six as ground spares.
On Friday, a Falcon 9 rocket that launched from Cape Canaveral carried a communications satellite for Bulgaria into orbit. The new fins are a bit heavier, but are designed for multiple re-uses as SpaceX seeks to more toward rapid reuse of its first stage booster. The new satellites will not create visible flashes of reflected sunlight as they passed overhead.
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