Southland residents were treated to a spectacular sight Sunday night as SpaceX launched a satellite into space and landed the rocket back to Earth on Californian soil for the first time in the company's history.
Those near the base, which is near Lompoc, may be able to see quite a show as the first stage of the Falcon 9 rocket burns its rocket engines to come to a gentle landing back at the air force base, officials said.
SpaceX is targeting Sunday, October 7 for the launch of the SAOCOM 1A satellite from Space Launch Complex 4E (SLC-4E) at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. "A sonic boom is the sound associated with the shock waves from an aircraft or vehicle traveling faster than the speed of sound".
SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket as seen from the North Coast.
"Vandenberg LZ-4, the Falcon has landed", a member of SpaceX's launch team reported.
SAOCOM 1A 3,000-kilogram satellite built by INVAP and this deployment was done in conjunction with Argentina's space agency with the objective of radar-imaging the earth.
The satellite is the first of two that will be used for emergency management and for land monitoring.
SAOCOM 1B is planned to launch next year. CONAE will operate the satellite as part of the Argentine-Italian System of Satellites with the Italian Space Agency, coordinating observations with Italy's four Cosmo-Skymed X-band SAR satellites. You can expect more rocket landings after this, then. It has previously made such landings on drone ships in the ocean.
SpaceX has also been experimenting with a procedure to save additional millions of dollars by retrieving the Falcon 9's fairing, or nose cone.