December 17, 2018

SpaceX Rocket Seen Across California

08 October 2018, 07:09 | Ross Houston

First SpaceX West Coast rocket landing lights up California sky

‘This won’t be subtle’: SpaceX West Coast launch will create sonic boom

Scores of people across San Diego County watched - and in many cases photographed - the contrail of a Falcon 9 rocket that soared into space on Sunday night from Vandenberg Air Force Base in Lompoc.

The launch is scheduled for shortly after 7:20 p.m., Vandenberg Air Force base officials said in an advisory.

We'd love to see any photos that you managed to get.

But that's possible only when launching relatively light payloads to not-too-distant orbits; on other missions, there's not enough fuel left for the Falcon 9 first stage to maneuver all the way back to land.

The Air Force last week advised residents on the central California coast they might see multiple engine burns by the first stage and hear one or more sonic booms as it returned.

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The rocket being used in Sunday's mission was previously employed in a June launch.

SpaceX has a goal of using the boosters up to ten times with little maintenance, and 100 with refurbishment, as well as being able to relaunch boosters 24 hours after landing. SpaceX's landing record now stands at 30 successful booster recoveries, 11 at Cape Canaveral, one at Vandenberg and 18 on droneships. SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk also warned of the boom from his Twitter account.

SpaceX calls its California touchdown site Landing Zone 4, presumably because it's part of Vandenberg's Space Launch Complex 4 (SLC-4).

The 3,500-lb. (1,600 kilograms) SAOCOM-1A satellite was developed by Argentina's national space agency, which is known by its Spanish acronym CONAE.

SAOCOM 1, together with the Italian COSMO-SkyMed X-Band SAR constellation, make up the Italian-Argentine Satellite System for Emergency Management, or SIASGE. Its name is short for Satelite Argentino de Observacion Con Microondas.

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