SpaceX's Falcon 9 Rocket Puts on Light Show in Tonight's Sky

08 October, 2018, 08:40 | Author: Patty Aguilar
  • The first Block 5 Falcon 9 at Kennedy Space Center.                  SpaceX

"Local residents may see the first stage of the Falcon 9 returning to Vandenberg AFB, including multiple engine burns associated with the landing", an advisory from the base explained.

The Union-Tribune was soon flooded with photos that came in from such places as San Diego International Airport, Point Loma Nazarene University, Otay Ranch in Chula Vista, the coastal area of Encinitas, and from people in Tijuana.

SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket executed its first on-land touchdown on the West Coast tonight after sending Argentina's SAOCOM 1A satellite into orbit, putting on a show punctuated by a sonic boom for Southern California. Please let us know where you took the image.

SpaceX said it will launch a satellite on a Falcon 9 rocket from Vandenberg.

SpaceX has just successfully landed its first rocket on the U.S. West Coast.


After it separated from the second stage, the first stage of the Falcon 9 rocket arrested its forward movement, and began falling back toward Earth. By launching after the sun has set at the launch site itself, this allows the rocket to quite literally catch up with the terminator and reenter sunlight while those on the ground at or around the pad experience twilight conditions.

If anything goes wrong during the launch and landing, there is a risk of explosion.

Saocom-1A has an L-band payload created to study soil moisture for agriculture, disaster monitoring and scientific research. SpaceX has several other missions planned for this year, including the Falcon 9 launches of another 10 Iridium Next satellites, Es'hailSat's Es'hail-2, and the U.S. Air Force's first GPS-3 satellite.

SAOCOM 1, together with the Italian COSMO-SkyMed X-Band SAR constellation, make up the Italian-Argentine Satellite System for Emergency Management, or SIASGE.

"SAOCOM" is short for "Satélite Argentino de Observación Con Microondas", which is Spanish for "Argentine Microwave-Observation Satellite". The second satellite will be SAOCOM 1B.

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