Tuesday, 23 October, 2018

SpaceX plans Vandenberg satellite launch Sunday evening may create sonic boom

‘This won’t be subtle’: SpaceX West Coast launch will create sonic boom First SpaceX West Coast rocket landing lights up California sky
| 08 October, 2018, 10:25

The rocket will carry the Argentinian SOACOM 1A radar mapping satellite.

The primary goal of Sunday's mission was to place the SAOCOM 1A satellite into orbit, but SpaceX also successfully sent a first stage booster back to the base for the first time.

In a first for the West Coast, a Falcon 9 rocket's first stage landed at Vandenberg Air Force Base Sunday evening, touching down at Landing Zone 4 just a few hundred yards from the launch pad where the mission began.

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

CONAE was one of the company's first customers, signing up for two Falcon 9 launches back when SpaceX had only flown the smaller Falcon 1 vehicle.


Proving out a successful booster retrieval system on the West Coast marks another step in SpaceX's drive to increase rocket reusability and as a result drive down the cost of access to space.

Nearby residents in Santa Barbara, Ventura and San Luis Obispo counties were warned they "may hear one or more sonic booms" from the landing.

The satellite is the first of two that will be used for emergency management and for land monitoring. The rocket plume is expected to be illuminated by the sun after the launch at 7:21 p.m. Sunday. This may include multiple engine burns.

Later, SpaceX reported that the SAOCOM 1A radar satellite was placed in its proper pole-to-pole orbit. SpaceX's landing record now stands at 30 successful booster recoveries, 11 at Cape Canaveral, one at Vandenberg and 18 on droneships.

Earlier, the launch had been planned for Saturday, but SpaceX said Wednesday it was rescheduling the launch and would use the extra time to complete pre-flight checks.

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