SpaceX launches satellites from California base

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Just before the launch, SpaceX founder Elon Musk said via Twitter: "Falcon 9 will experience its highest ever reentry force and heat in today's launch". Aside from Vandenberg's usual cover of dense fog obscuring the view of the many fans and employees who journeyed to view the launch live, the last several steps of the mission will nearly certainly proceed without issue.

SpaceX's next launch is targeted for mid-July for Intelsat.

In total, SpaceX has more than 70 launches, worth more than $10 billion, on its manifest, said company spokesman John Taylor.

The launch marks the first time that the company has launched two rockets the same weekend.

On Friday, a Falcon 9 rocket that launched from Cape Canaveral carried a communications satellite for Bulgaria into orbit.

The Sunday launch also represented SpaceX's fastest turnaround so far from a previous launch. But extreme weather was a factor on Sunday, with fog enveloping the Falcon 9 on the launch pad.

Musk celebrated an unexpected recovery Friday of the rocket's first-stage booster, which faced especially hot temperatures on its return through the Earth's atmosphere. It was the first time SpaceX has landed one rocket on both of its drone ships.

A Falcon 9 rocket soared through a mostly clear sky over the Lompoc Valley early Sunday afternoon following a launch that marked a pair of firsts for Vandenberg Air Force Base.

Zayakov said that SpaceX's cost-cutting ways made space more accessible for small nations and money-conscious companies like BulgariaSat. After being refurbished and trucked to Florida, it flew the Bulgarians satellite and landed, with a bit of a crunch, on SpaceX's robot barge in the Atlantic ocean. Musk has brought in executives from other industries to promote innovation including Andy Lambert, SpaceX's vice-president of production, who previously spent more than a decade at BMW AG.

Minutes after launch, the 16-story-tall booster will flip around after reaching the edge of the Earth's atmosphere, where it will separate from the second stage that delivers the satellite to orbit. The mission today is the second batch of satellites to be deployed and the next batch (satellites 21-30) is scheduled to launch on August 24, 2017.