Published: Mon, October 08, 2018
Science | By Cecil Little

SpaceX West Coast launch to bring sonic booms to California

SpaceX West Coast launch to bring sonic booms to California

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.

The Falcon 9, now on base at California's SpaceX launch pad will take off on Sunday night at 7:21 p.m. PT, with a mission to launch an Argentinean Earth-observing satellite into orbit, and then touch back down in a new landing zone located just a quarter mile away from takeoff, Wired reported.

Local residents may see the first stage of the Falcon 9 returning to Vandenberg AFB, including multiple engine burns associated with the landing. Residents in Santa Barbara, Ventura and San Luis Obispo counties may hear sonic booms.

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Humanitarian agencies had been in communication with the government and were ready to help, he said. The U.N. announced a $15 million allocation to bolster relief efforts.


A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket lifts off from a launch pad in Florida on March 30, 2017.

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. A sonic boom sounds like an explosion or thunder and is the result of shock waves from a vehicle traveling faster than sound. Prior landings have taken place on the East Coast.

A graphic explaining sonic booms, provided by Vandenberg Air Force Base ahead of a planned SpaceX launch on October 7, 2018.

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"Sonic boom warning. This won't be subtle" advised SpaceX founder Elon Musk on his Twitter feed on Sunday. The spacecraft will set up shop 385 miles (620 kilometers) above Earth and scrutinize the planet using a Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) instrument.

"What you're looking at is the first launch and landing of the @SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket on the West Coast".

SAOCOM 1B is planned to launch next year.

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This included Nadine Duty, Jeremy Board, and Kim Bennett, who said the couple were "very engaging" with her two-year-old daughter Freya Martin.


The satellite is the first of two that will be used for emergency management and for land monitoring.

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