Published: Mon, October 08, 2018
Research | By Wilma Wheeler

SpaceX West Coast launch to bring sonic booms to California

SpaceX West Coast launch to bring sonic booms to California

The satellite is the first of two for Argentina's space agency, Comision Nacional de Actividades Espaciales, and will work in conjunction with a constellation of Italian space agency satellites.

Those near the base, which is near Lompoc, may be able to see quite a show as the first stage of the Falcon 9 rocket burns its rocket engines to come to a gentle landing back at the air force base, officials said.

The Falcon 9 rocket took off from Vandenberg Air Force Base at 7:21 p.m., lighting up the overcast sky before placing an Argentinian SAOCOM 1A satellite into orbit. This is SpaceX's first attempt at a land landing on the West Coast.

"Sonic boom warning. This won't be subtle", he wrote.

The Falcon's first stage will then fly back to Vandenberg and set down in a landing zone on the coastal base. It, too, found success in landing at a new site north of Los Angeles. The rocket plume is expected to be illuminated by the sun after the launch at 7:21 p.m. Sunday.


Land landings aren't threatened by storms like ocean landings are, and they also allow SpaceX to refurbish the boosters faster, as they don't need to be recovered from sea.

It was SpaceX's 17th flight so far this year, the company's 44th successful launch in a row and the 63rd overall for the Falcon 9 family of rockets, including the February debut of its three-core Falcon Heavy rocket.

The second satellite will be SAOCOM 1B.

Saocom-1A has an L-band payload created to study soil moisture for agriculture, disaster monitoring and scientific research. SpaceX's landing record now stands at 30 successful booster recoveries, 11 at Cape Canaveral, one at Vandenberg and 18 on droneships.

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