The Latest: Science satellites deployed from SpaceX rocket

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VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. (AP) — The Latest on the launch of seven satellites from California (all times local):

1:06 p.m.

A SpaceX rocket has deployed two U.S.-German science satellites into orbit after a launch from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California.

A second deployment consisting of five commercial Iridium Communications satellites is expected later Tuesday afternoon.

The science payload from NASA and the German Centre for Geosciences includes two identical satellites for the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment.

The mission is designed to detect the movement of Earth’s water masses and changes in mass within the planet by measuring tiny fluctuations in the distance between the two satellites as they orbit together.

The commercial payload will increase Iridium Communications’ globe-circling fleet to 55 next-generation satellites.

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12:59 p.m.

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying two U.S.-German science satellites and five commercial communications satellites has blasted off from the central California coast.

The rocket lifted off from Vandenberg Air Force Base at Tuesday and arced over the Pacific Ocean west of Los Angeles as it headed toward the South Pole.

The science payload from NASA and the German Centre for Geosciences includes two identical satellites for the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment.

The mission is designed to detect the movement of Earth’s water masses and changes in mass within the planet by measuring tiny fluctuations in the distance between the two satellites as they orbit together.

The commercial payload will increase Iridium Communications’ globe-circling fleet to 55 next-generation satellites.

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