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SpaceX launches Falcon 9 rocket carrying telecom and climate satellites

The private aerospace company headed by Elon Musk said the rocket carried two earth monitoring satellites used for tracking the movement of the Earth’s mass, plus five communication satellites for Iridium, which SpaceX called the “only satellite communications network that spans the entire globe”.

It said the Iridium satellites are part of the the company’s “campaign to replace the world’s largest commercial satellite network”.

The launch occurred at 12:47 p.m. local time (1947 GMT) from Vandenberg Air Force Base north of Santa Barbara.

SpaceX said data from the twin GRACE satellites can be used to monitor “changes in ice sheets and glaciers, underground water storage, water in large lakes and rivers, and sea level, providing a unique view of Earth’s evolving climate”.

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