A thick marine layer blanketing Vandenberg Air Force Base in California restricted views of SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket lifting off early Wednesday, but cameras fixed to the launcher provided spectacular imagery of the predawn departure with 10 Iridium satellites on-board.
It is the first time that the company is having one mission for a first stage landing and the recovery of payload that will be done by catcher ship Mr. Steven.
After the rocket's nine Merlin 1D engines passed an automated health check, the Falcon 9 was released from the Space Launch Complex 4E (SLC-4E) at Vandenberg Air Force Base at 4:39 a.m. PDT (1139 GMT).
While SpaceX is working for NASA's manned spacecraft created to send astronauts to the ISS, it also works with other companies to send satellites to the Earth's orbit.
Previous to launch Iridium satellites took place in late may. The satellites launched are part of Iridium's in-development $3 billion array that will eventually include 75 satellites supporting a worldwide voice and data communications network.
Shortly after the start of the first stage of the rocket Falcon 9 made a successful landing on a platform in the ocean. The payload and the rocket have been transported to the launch pad, and the rocket is vertical for launch. "The weather and the sea conditions are fairly rough, they're the worst that we've ever had for trying to get a first stage back on the drone ship". The Galileo satellites provide global-positioning services across Europe, and Wednesday's launch should complete the network.
The Iridium Next satellites were deployed about 56 minutes after liftoff, with the process taking about 15 minutes.
SpaceX will continue its ambitious launch schedule with another Falcon 9 launch set for August 2.