February 19, 2019

SpaceX launch and landing in California

08 October 2018, 07:08 | Dale Webster

A graphic explaining sonic booms provided by Vandenberg Air Force Base ahead of a planned SpaceX launch on Oct. 7 2018

A graphic explaining sonic booms provided by Vandenberg Air Force Base ahead of a planned SpaceX launch on Oct. 7 2018

This will mark the first time SpaceX has attempted a ground landing of the Falcon 9 on the West Coast.

The primary goal of Sunday's mission is to place the SAOCOM 1A satellite into orbit, but SpaceX will also try for the first time to bring the Falcon's first stage back to a landing at the Vandenberg Air Force Base launch site.

Residents in Santa Barbara, Ventura and San Luis Obispo counties also may hear sonic booms.

The launch, employing the upgraded Block 5 version of the Falcon 9 rocket, remained scheduled for 7:21 p.m.

The fact that the launch and landing took place near Los Angeles meant there were ample opportunities for Southern Californians to catch the show (and for unwitting observers to register UFO reports). Previous re-capture missions from Vandenberg have landed the rocket on a barge floating in the Pacific Ocean, about 400 miles out to sea. SpaceX's landing record now stands at 30 successful booster recoveries, 11 at Cape Canaveral, one at Vandenberg and 18 on droneships.

Elon Musk put it a little more bluntly: "This won't be subtle", he wrote on Twitter.

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying the SAOCOM-1A Earth-observation satellite launches from California's Vandenberg Air Force Base on October 7, 2018.

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

The rocket will be carrying an Argentinian Earth-observing satellite, known as SAOCOM-1A, into orbit. The satellite is created to provide radar imagery to help emergency responders and monitor the environment, including the collection of soil moisture measurements.

SAOCOM 1B is planned to launch next year.

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