SpaceX rocket carrying Argentinian satellite takes off successfully

Gwen Vasquez
October 9, 2018

The launch of SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket Sunday night came with a sonic boom warning.

The primary goal of the mission was to place the SAOCOM 1A satellite into space, but SpaceX also wanted to expand its recovery of first-stage boosters to its launch site at Vandenberg Air Force Base, about 130 miles north-west of Los Angeles. SpaceX completed the secondary mission of landing the first stage of the Falcon 9 rocket at Landing Zone 4, which was previously called SLC-4W, at Vandenberg Air Force Base.

U.S. Air Force officials warned residents of multiple counties across the Golden State earlier this week that they might hear "one or more sonic booms" during the landing attempt.

SpaceX launches of larger payloads use more fuel, so typically touch down on the drone ships at sea, though landings on solid ground reduce turnaround times for the booster rockets.

CONAE was one of the company's first customers, signing up for two Falcon 9 launches back when SpaceX had only flown the smaller Falcon 1 vehicle.

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A handsome sky show following Falcon 9's launch. It was the 30th successful landing for SpaceX out of 62 total launches and the 12th on land.

After a trouble-free countdown, the two-stage rocket blasted off right on time at 7:21 p.m. PT from California's Vandenberg Air Force Base, leaving a post-sunset contrail glowing in the cloudless skies above.

SAOCOM 1A 3,000-kilogram satellite built by INVAP and this deployment was done in conjunction with Argentina's space agency with the goal of radar-imaging the earth. The rocket will carry the Argentinian SOACOM 1A radar mapping satellite. The company was founded in 2002 by business magnate and billionaire Elon Musk. It was a planned launch by Hawthorne-based SpaceX. This mission has the main aim to gather soil moisture information.

The SAOCOM launch marks SpaceX's 17th launch of the year.

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