SpaceX launches Falcon 9 rocket for third time

For the first time, a single orbital-class rocket booster has been used for three missions, pushing a payload into space and then returning safely to Earth each time.

A SpaceX Block 5 Falcon 9 rocket lifted off from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California at 10:34 a.m. PT Monday. About seven minutes later, the first stage landed on the company’s drone ship, called Just Read the Instructions and stationed in the Pacific Ocean.

The mission, dubbed SSO-A, also marked the third voyage to space for the same Falcon 9 rocket — another milestone for SpaceX’s cost-cutting reusable rocket technology.

The Falcon 9 blasted off from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California at 10.34am local time, carrying satellites from 34 different companies, government agencies, and universities.

SpaceX said the mission was “one of the most complex and intricate endeavours” for Seattle-based startup Spaceflight, the ride-share company that arranged passage for each satellite maker.

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