VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- Ten more satellites for Iridium Communications have been successfully launched into orbit.
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket lifted off from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, at 4:39 a.m. Wednesday and released the satellites about an hour later.
It was the seventh launch in Iridium's $3 billion campaign to replace its entire fleet of globe-circling satellites and brought the number in orbit to 65. One more launch will increase the number to 75, including 66 operational satellites and nine spares.
SpaceX says that despite challenging weather and sea conditions, the Falcon's first stage successfully returned to Earth and landed on a "droneship" stationed in the Pacific Ocean south of Vandenberg.