Monday, 10 December, 2018

SpaceX Falcon 9 Rocket Visible Across Mother Lode

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
Doris Mccormick | 10 October, 2018, 09:29

Lighting up the early evening sky, a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket streaked away Sunday from California, boosting an Argentine environmental satellite into orbit. This time, the experts minutely calculated the choreographed orbital gymnastics and the first stage booster of the famous Falcon 9 rocket stuck its flawless landing in the center of SpaceX's new landing pad at Vandenberg Air Force Base, LZ-4. About 8 minutes after liftoff, the rocket's first stage returned and landed at Vandenberg in a first for a California-based SpaceX launch. While many people's first instinct was to think aliens were en route, it was, in fact, a SpaceX rocket launch.

The satellite, dubbed SAOCOM 1A, was deployed to low Earth obit about 12 minutes after launch.

SpaceX Founder Elon Musk simply tweeted afterwards, "Falcon has landed".

Three readers reported seeing an unusual light in the southern skies.

"Falcon 9 is the first orbital class rocket capable of reflight", notes the SpaceX website. LZ-4 is built on the former site of Space Launch Complex 4W, from which Titan rockets were previously launched.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti cleared up the confusion with stunning photos of the launch on Twitter.

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The reusable booster assembly makes the use of rockets more affordable for a wide range of customers across the globe.

It will be followed by SAOCOM 1B in 2019. The satellite is created to provide radar imagery to help emergency responders and monitor the environment, including the collection of soil moisture measurements.

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

Its name is short for Satelite Argentino de Observacion Con Microondas.

The launch also looked just as stunning in video.

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