SpaceX has launched a total of seven satellites, including two for Nasa and five for Iridium, in a single flight from Space Launch Complex 4E at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.

A recycled Falcon 9 rocket was used to launch Nasa’s Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment Follow-On probes (GRACE-FO) and Iridium’s five NEXT satellites.

Nearly 11 minutes and 30 seconds after the launch, the rocket deployed the GRACE-FO satellites. The Iridium satellites were deployed around an hour after the launch.

SpaceX used the first stage of the Falcon 9 rocket to launch the Zuma mission from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in January this year.

“GRACE-FO data will be used throughout the world to improve people’s lives,from better predictions of drought impacts to higher quality information on use and management of water.”

The company did not attempt to recover the first stage of the rocket used in the Iridium-6/GRACE-FO mission after completing the most recent launch.

The GRACE-FO mission was jointly developed by Nasa and the German Research Centre for Geosciences (GFZ) to monitor the continuous movement of water and other changes in Earth’s mass on and beneath the planet’s surface for a period of five years.

Nasa Science Mission Directorate associate administrator Thomas Zurbuchen said: “GRACE-FO will provide unique insights into how our complex planet operates.

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“Just as important, because the mission monitors many key aspects of the Earth’s water cycle, GRACE-FO data will be used throughout the world to improve people’s lives, from better predictions of drought impacts to higher quality information on use and management of water from underground aquifers.”

The five Iridium NEXT satellites will replace the company’s earlier spacecraft and will help build Iridium Certus, a next-generation broadband solution for specialised applications, such as safety services, data and communications, remote monitoring, and tracking.

The satellites have increased the total number of Iridium NEXT satellites in orbit to 55.