SpaceX West Coast launch to bring sonic booms to California

Jan Cross
October 8, 2018

In the launch, scheduled for shortly after 7:20 p.m., a Falcon 9 rocket will carry the satellite SAOCOM 1A to space. Once again, the light is from a SpaceX launch.

The twilight launch created a spectacular sight in the night sky for spectators in Southern California, who took to Twitter to share their wonderful photos.

The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launch on Sunday night carrying an Argentine satellite sparked some confusion on social media about a bright light traveling across the Southern California sky.

Such sights and sounds are familiar to residents near the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida where SpaceX first landed a Falcon 9 booster in December 2015. The rocket launched the SAOCOM 1A satellite into orbit and then the rocket landed back on the west coast.

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

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But Sunday's flight marked the first time SpaceX attempted a landing at Vandenberg, a milestone made possible by extensive environmental and safety studies that concluded the noise and possible aftermath of a failure would not cause any significant damage or harm to area wildlife.

As The Verge noted, SpaceX hasn't been making sea landings by choice.

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

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. The mission will also help planners and emergency-management officials keep tabs on wildfires, floods and other disasters.

SAOCOM 1B is planned to launch next year. Flying both satellite constellations along the same orbit supports a rapid response by providing radar readings in emergency situations.

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