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A SpaceX rocket carrying 64 small satellites lifted off from California on Monday, marking the first time the same Falcon 9 rocket has been used in three space missions.

The rocket blasted off from Vandenberg Air Force Base, arcing over the Pacific Ocean west of Los Angeles as it headed toward space. 

Minutes later, the rocket’s first stage performed a so-called boost back maneuver and landed on an unmanned ship in the Pacific. 

Scroll down for video 

The Falcon 9 blasted off from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California at 10:34 a.m. local time (18:34 GMT) carrying satellites from 34 different companies, government agencies, and universities, including the University of Illinois.

They include an artificial star, a reflective, inflatable sculpture designed to eject from its satellite and orbit the earth ‘for several weeks before disintegrating upon re-entry into Earth’s atmosphere.’ 

Also aboard are the cremated remains of 100 people. 

Elysium Space said families paid about $2,500 to have a sample of their loved ones’ ashes placed on the rocket

The landing marked the first time SpaceX had flown a first stage three times.

The first stage was previously launched and recovered during missions in May and August as part of a program intended to make the equipment capable of being used 10 or more times without refurbishment.

SpaceX founder Elon Musk has made reusability a major goal.

The payload of the Spaceflight SSO-A SmallSat Express includes satellites from 34 organizations in 17 countries.   

This will be the second largest rideshare mission ever and the largest for a single mission on US soil.

‘It includes 15 microsats and 49 cubesats from both commercial and government entities, of which more than 25 are from international organizations from 17 countries, including the United States, Australia, Italy, Netherlands, Finland, South Korea, Spain, Switzerland, UK, Germany, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Thailand, Poland, Canada, Brazil and India,” according to Spaceflight Industries. 

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Full deployment into low Earth orbit was expected to take six hours.  

SpaceX was also attempting to use an enormous net atop a vessel to catch the Falcon’s aerodynamic shield over the payload that gets jettisoned at high altitude and falls back to Earth.

THE ARTIFICIAL STAR BLASTED INTO SPACE 

The reflective, inflatable sculpture is designed to eject from its satellite and orbit the earth 'for several weeks

The reflective, inflatable sculpture is designed to eject from its satellite and orbit the earth 'for several weeks

The reflective, inflatable sculpture is designed to eject from its satellite and orbit the earth ‘for several weeks

The Nevada Museum of Art sent up a sculpture called ‘Orbital Reflector’ by artist Trevor Paglen. 

The reflective, inflatable sculpture is designed to eject from its satellite and orbit the earth ‘for several weeks before disintegrating upon re-entry into Earth’s atmosphere,’ the museum said.

Named, the Orbital Reflector, the installation is the length of a football field. 

Back on Earth, people wanting to see it will be able to put their location into a ‘star map’ on the website to find out when Orbital Reflector will fly over.

Mr Paglen said he wanted to highlight how many satellites are circling the Earth.

The new work, is a reflective, inflatable sculpture affixed to a small satellite that will orbit the earth for several weeks before disintegrating upon re-entry into Earth’s atmosphere. 

Mr Paglen said it is ‘extremely unlikely that it will collide with anything else’ in the sky. 

‘It’ll look like one of the stars in the Big Dipper but slowly moving across the sky,’ he told The Telegraph

‘It will be in what’s called a sun-synchronous orbit, and will slowly fall to earth from there, eventually burning up harmlessly as it gets close to earth.’   

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However, Elon Musk confirmed the Falcon fairing halves missed the net, but touched down softly in the water. Mr Steven is picking them up. Plan is to dry them out & launch again. Nothing wrong with a little swim. 

The shield is equipped with parachutes and would add another reusable element to the spacecraft.

The 64-satellite payload was a record for a U.S.-based launch vehicle, SpaceX said.

Not all the clients have scientific missions.

The Nevada Museum of Art sent up a sculpture called ‘Orbital Reflector’ by artist Trevor Paglen.

Video courtesy of Nevada Museum of Artwww.orbitalreflector.com.

Touchdown! The rocket's first stage performed a so-called boost back maneuver and landed on an unmanned ship in the Pacific.

Touchdown! The rocket's first stage performed a so-called boost back maneuver and landed on an unmanned ship in the Pacific.

Touchdown! The rocket’s first stage performed a so-called boost back maneuver and landed on an unmanned ship in the Pacific.

The reflective, inflatable sculpture is designed to eject from its satellite and orbit the earth ‘for several weeks before disintegrating upon re-entry into Earth’s atmosphere,’ the museum said.

Named, the Orbital Reflector, the installation is the length of a football field. 

Back on Earth, people wanting to see it will be able to put their location into a ‘star map’ on the website to find out when Orbital Reflector will fly over.

Mr Paglen said he wanted to highlight how many satellites are circling the Earth.

THE MEMORIAL CRAFT TAKING ASHES INTO SPACE

Each ash capsule has up to  3 characters engraved on its cap

Each ash capsule has up to  3 characters engraved on its cap

Each ash capsule has up to 3 characters engraved on its cap

Customers receive a kit containing a custom ash capsule to collect a cremated remains sample. 

The kit includes a mini-scoop to easily transfer a ‘symbolic portion’ of the remains from a cremation urn to the capsule. 

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The kit includes a shipping box with a pre-addressed/pre-paid label for US customers and shipping instructions for international customers. 

The capsule is individually prepared to have the initials of your choice, up to 3 characters, elegantly engraved on its cap.

 Elysium then puts the capsule in a dedicated spacecraft module. 

A module offers multiple individual niches, each holding one ash capsule, and is tightly closed before integration into the spacecraft. 

All components of the spacecraft have been designed and are engineered for the space environment.

In addition to the capsule, an engraved message of your choice, up to 80 characters, will be carried by the memorial spacecraft to the stars.

The mail order kit includes a shipping box with a pre-addressed/pre-paid label for US customers and shipping instructions for international customers

The mail order kit includes a shipping box with a pre-addressed/pre-paid label for US customers and shipping instructions for international customers

The mail order kit includes a shipping box with a pre-addressed/pre-paid label for US customers and shipping instructions for international customers

The Elysium Memorial spacecraft will be deployed in a Sun-synchronous orbit, ensuring it will pass over every location in the world during its journey among the stars. 

For about 2 years, it will orbit the Earth. 

Family and friends will follow this journey using our free iOS/Android mobile app, enhancing the overall personal connection and experience. 

Eventually, in a last poetic moment, the spacecraft will harmlessly reenter the Earth’s atmosphere, blazing as a shooting star.

 

 

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