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SpaceX launches its first Falcon 9 rocket of 2019

Friday January 11, 2019. 01:42 AM , from Ars Technica
Enlarge / The first stage of a Falcon 9 rocket targeted for a launch Friday morning first flew in September, 2018, launching the Telstar 18 mission. (credit: SpaceX)
10:40am ET Friday update: The Falcon 9 rocket launched during its target window on Friday, as sunrise broke over the Pacific Coast at Vandenberg Air Force Base. The launch was nominal, with the first stage delivering the payload into low-Earth orbit, and then descending back to a drone ship in the Pacific Ocean. Final deployment of the 10 Iridium satellites was expected about 1 hour and 11 minutes after the launch.
Original post: Fresh off a successful flight campaign in 2018, which included a record 21 missions, SpaceX returns to the launchpad Friday for its first mission of the new year. The instantaneous launch window opens at 10:31am ET (15:31 UTC).
This will be SpaceX's eighth and final launch to build out a constellation of 75 modern communications satellites for Iridium. For this mission, SpaceX will be launching 10 of the Iridium NEXT satellites to a low Earth polar orbit.
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