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SpaceX Launches 10 Communications Satellites From Vandenberg AFB

SANTA BARBARA COUNTY (CBS SF / AP) — Ten new satellites for Iridium Communications' global network have been successfully deployed in orbit after launch from California's Central Coast.

The satellites were individually released from the upper stage of a Falcon 9 rocket that blasted off from Vandenberg Air Force Base on Friday morning.

SpaceX Iridium Launch - Vandenberg AFB
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, carrying the final Iridium mission this year, launches from Space Launch Complex-4E at Vandenberg Air Force Base, CA on Jan. 11, 2019. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Clayton Wear/Released)

Iridium now has 75 new satellites in orbit, including nine spares. The McLean, Virginia-based company's $3 billion Iridium NEXT project replaces its entire original fleet.

The Falcon's first stage successfully landed on a so-called droneship in the Pacific Ocean, marking its second launch and recovery.

© Copyright 2019 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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