SpaceX to launch and land Falcon 9 rocket from Southern California

Jan Cross
October 10, 2018

"Falcon 9 is the first orbital class rocket capable of reflight", notes the SpaceX website.

The Falcon 9 rocket lifted off from Vandenberg Air Force Base on California's central coast about 7:21 p.m. local time.

The landing of the booster is part of efforts by the space transportation service to cut the cost of space launches by re-using rockets.

SpaceX inaugurated its West Coast rocket-landing pad in style.

Another milestone for the SpaceX chief Elon Musk - "the Falcon has landed".

Since landing its first booster back on Earth in 2015, SpaceX has fine-tuned the inspection and refurbishment process.

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A second, almost identical satellite (SAOCOM 1B) will be launched "in the near future", also aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, Praderio said.

SpaceX has always been trying to achieve ground landings on its Vandenberg facilities, which is named Space Launch Complex 4 (SLC-4 for short). But a successful landing would mean the company would no longer have to rely only on its drone ship for post-launch landings, according to Wired. Previously, the SpaceX ground landings all have been occurred at the company's launch site: Cape Canaveral, Florida, where the company has a pair of launch and landing pads.

Now it's the second stage which burned its single Merlin engine for 10 minutes before executing deployment.

The rocket took just 12 minutes from take off before launching Argentina's SAOCOM 1A satellite (pdf). It carries a high-resolution instrument called a synthetic aperature radar that will be used for emergency management and land monitoring. The mission's main objective is to collect soil moisture information.

Videos of the rocket's liftoff also drew attention.

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