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On Sunday (June 25), SpaceX will complete a rocket launch doubleheader when it launches a new Falcon 9 rocket from Space Launch Complex 4 at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. Liftoff is set for 1:25 p.m. PDT (4:25 p.m. EDT/2025 GMT). 

The Falcon 9 rocket will launch 10 next-generation Iridium NEXT satellites for SpaceX customer Iridium. They are satellites 11 through 20 of what will be a 70-satellite constellation to boost Iridum's mobile communications network. The first 10 satellites launched earlier this year in January. 

SpaceX is expected to attempt to land the Falcon 9 first stage during this launch using one of the company's drone ships. A similar flight plan was used during SpaceX's first launch for Iridium this year, with the Falcon 9 booster used on that mission reused for a Bulgarian satellite launch on Friday (June 23). 

The webcast and more information can be found at www.spacex.com/webcast.

Update for June 24, 1:30 p.m. ET: NASA has once again delayed the launch of the artificial cloud mission due to unexpected cloudiness around the Wallops Flight Facility launch site. Wallops has not announced when the next launch window will open. NASA will provide an update on the next launch attempt here.  

The rocket will launch to test a canister deployment system designed to eject ampoules containing gas that can create glowing artificial clouds in the night sky. Clear weather is vital for mission scientists in order to record the cloud deployment using ground-based cameras at the launch site - NASA's Wallops Flight Facility on Wallops Island, Virginia, and in Duck, North Carolina.

If you live near the Wallops Island area in Virginia and would like to watch the sounding rocket launch in person, visit NASA's Wallops Flight Facility Visitors Center. Because the launch is weather dependent, local spectactors and online viewers can recieve the latest updates from NASA via the Wallops center Facebook and Twitter sites.

Editor's note: If you capture an amazing image of the sounding rocket launch or the colorful artificial clouds that you would like to share with Space.com and its news partners for a story or photo gallery, send photos and comments to: spacephotos@space.com.

Artificial clouds should be visible shortly after 9 p.m. EDT on June 11 from New York to North Carolina if a NASA sounding rocket launches on time from the agency's Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia.
Artificial clouds should be visible shortly after 9 p.m. EDT on June 11 from New York to North Carolina if a NASA sounding rocket launches on time from the agency's Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia.
Credit: NASA

From NASA:

"NASA has two ground stations — at Wallops and Duck, N.C. — to view blue-green and red artificial clouds that will be produced as part of the test. Clear skies are required at one of the two ground stations for this test.
 
"The multi-canister ampoule ejection system flying on this mission will allow scientists to gather information over a much larger area than previously able. Canisters will deploy between 4 and 5.5 minutes after launch releasing blue-green and red vapor to form artificial clouds. These clouds, or vapor tracers, allow scientists on the ground to visually track particle motions in space.
 
"The clouds may be visible along the mid-Atlantic coastline from New York to North Carolina.