Published: Mon, October 08, 2018
Sci-tech | By April Francis

SpaceX rocket launch causes social media stir in Southern California

SpaceX rocket launch causes social media stir in Southern California

On Sunday, SpaceX completed a historic launch (and landing) after it successfully sent one of its previously used Block 5 Falcon 9 rockets into space, delivering SAOCOM 1A - an Argentinian Earth-imaging satellite - into orbit, before landing safely in Vandenberg AFB in California.

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.

We'd love to see any photos that you managed to get.

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.

The historic part of the mission will occur soon after the launch when SpaceX attempts to land the first stage of the Falcon 9 rocket at Vandenberg.

SpaceX had already pulled off more than two dozen first-stage landings during orbital liftoffs, with the boosters coming down on robotic "drone ships" stationed in the Atlantic and Pacific oceans and on terra firma at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. Elon Musk's company had leased a former Titan rocket launch site in 2015 to build its own landing pad, but it it hasn't received clearance.

A look at Landing Zone 4, SpaceX's newest rocket landing site, at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.

SAOCOM-1A's radar measurements will track soil-moisture levels, thereby aiding forecasts of crop yields. The satellite is one of a planned six-satellite array.

Argentina's National Commission on Space Activities, or CONAE, will operate the two SAOCOM satellites in cooperation with the Italian Space Agency's COSMO-SkyMed radar satellites. "Flying both constellations along the same orbit supports a rapid response by providing SAR information in emergency situations".

Like this: