LOS ANGELES, Calif. (AP) - A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying 10 Iridium Communications satellites has blasted off from California. The rocket lifted off at 7:31 a.m. PT Friday at Vandenberg Air Force Base and arced over the Pacific Ocean west of Los Angeles. SpaceX landed the Falcon's first stage on an autonomous vessel floating in the ocean.
The payload is the eighth and final set of satellites to be launched as Iridium replaces its entire globe-circling fleet with next-generation orbiters. Deployment of the satellites is scheduled to be completed a little over an hour after liftoff.
If successful, Iridium will have a total of 75 new satellites in orbit, including nine spares. Iridium is deorbiting its original fleet of satellites.
AP contributed to this report.