Published: Mon, October 08, 2018
Sci-tech | By Lila Blake

San Diegans photograph Sunday night's launch of Falcon 9 rocket at Vandenberg

San Diegans photograph Sunday night's launch of Falcon 9 rocket at Vandenberg

About half an hour later, the first stage booster was sent back to the base, the first time the company has landed this type of rocket on the West Coast. There's no specified launch window, and that could force SpaceX to move liftoff to October 11th if it has to scrub the launch on the 7th.

Southern California residents are being warned to expect a large sonic boom Sunday evening as SpaceX launches a Falcon 9 rocket from Vandenberg Air Force Base, then attempts its first-ever landing on the West Coast, according to the company and military officials. "A sonic boom is the sound associated with the shock waves from an aircraft or vehicle traveling faster than the speed of sound".

The booster put on a spectacular show as it descended tail first toward Landing Zone 4 just a few hundred yards from the rocket's launch stand, deploying four legs and firing up one of its nine Merlin engines, seemingly at the last moment, to slow down for touchdown in a cloud of fiery exhaust.


"Vandenberg LZ-4, the Falcon has landed", a member of SpaceX's launch team reported.

SpaceX has a second CONAE satellite, Saocom-1B, that it is also tasked with launching.

The satellite is the first of two for Argentina's space agency.


SAOCOM 1, together with the Italian COSMO-SkyMed X-Band SAR constellation, make up the Italian-Argentine Satellite System for Emergency Management, or SIASGE. All previous recoveries in California used a drone ship to land boosters out at sea.

The upgraded Block 5 Falcon 9 is part of SpaceX's plan for vastly cheaper and more efficient spaceflight. Prior landings have taken place on the East Coast.


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