(WAFF) - SpaceX launched its latest mission for NASA Tuesday afternoon.
The Iridium-6/GRACE-FO mission ignited as the Falcon 9 lifted off from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. It deployed the two Earth-observing GRACE-FO satellites shortly after launch, followed by the deployment of five Iridium NEXT satellites.
GRACE-FO- a joint venture between NASA and GFZ German Research Center for Geoesciences. These satellites will spend the next five years monitoring climate change, including the planet's fresh water levels, sea levels and the polar ice caps
The Iridium NEXT satellites are part of the company's campaign to replace the world's largest commercial satellite network.
The Iridium NEXT satellites are commercial communications satellites. A total of eight Iridium NEXT launches are planned with SpaceX, which will deliver 75 new satellites to orbit. In total, 81 satellites are being built, with 66 in the operational constellation, nine serving as on-orbit spares and six as ground spares. SpaceX states that Iridium is the only satellite communications network that spans the entire globe.
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