Elon Musk's incredible SpaceX rocket launch lights up the sky

Jan Cross
October 9, 2018

"Local residents may see the first stage of the Falcon 9 returning to Vandenberg AFB, including multiple engine burns associated with the landing", The Air Force said in a statement last Tuesday. The rocket's first stage successfully returned and landed at the Vandenberg base eight minutes after taking off, while the second stage accomplished the successful deployment of SAOCOM 1A after around 12 minutes of the launch.

Booms from the Falcon 9 booster's re-entry into the atmosphere were predicted to shake the Pacific Coast as far southeast as Ventura County, but officials said the noise pattern can not be accurately predicted given varying upper-atmospheric weather patterns.

Cheers went up from SpaceX's headquarters in Hawthorne, Calif., as webcams showed the first stage setting itself down on Landing Zone 4. It was a planned launch by Hawthorne-based SpaceX. It, too, found success in landing at a new site north of Los Angeles.

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When SpaceX launched a rocket carrying an Argentine Earth-observation satellite from California's Central Coast, both the night sky and social media lit up.

Previous tests sent the first stage to offshore barges, not back to launch site. LZ-4 is built on the former site of Space Launch Complex 4W, from which Titan rockets were previously launched. The mission's main objective is to gather soil moisture information. The rocket will carry the Argentinian SOACOM 1A radar mapping satellite. It will also-in partnership with the Italian COSMO-SkyMed X-Band SAR constellation-assist with rapid response during natural disasters.

"SAOCOM" is short for "Satélite Argentino de Observación Con Microondas", which is Spanish for "Argentine Microwave-Observation Satellite".

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