SpaceX rocket launch causes social media stir in Southern California

Gwen Vasquez
October 10, 2018

The company, led by Elon Musk, sells launches on used Falcon 9 first-stage boosters at a discount, compared to the 62-million-U.S. -dollar price of a launch on a new Falcon 9 rocket.

A second, almost identical satellite (SAOCOM 1B) will be launched "in the near future", also aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, Praderio said. About 8 minutes after liftoff, the rocket's first stage returned and landed at Vandenberg in a first for a California-based SpaceX launch.

A spokesperson for the base says the rocket was launched at 7:21 p.m., and residents may see the first stage of the Falcon 9 returning to Vandenberg AFB, including multiple engine burns associated with the landing.

Not yet officially on the schedule, SpaceX's next Vandenberg launch is expected to be Spaceflight Industries' SSO-A rideshare mission, carrying around 70 individual satellites of varying masses.

SpaceX lit up the night sky in Southern California on Sunday, and sent gawkers from across the region craning their necks to the sight.

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying the SAOCOM-1A Earth-observation satellite launches from California's Vandenberg Air Force Base on October 7, 2018.

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After about two minutes there was a division of the degrees, and 12 minutes after start of the first stage landed successfully at site LZ-4 spaceport 4W (SLC-4W) on the coast of California.

Cheers went up from SpaceX's headquarters in Hawthorne, Calif., as webcams showed the first stage setting itself down on Landing Zone 4. 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.

Californians from Los Angeles to Sacramento - about 435km from the launch site - also posted their confusion. The spacecraft will set up shop 385 miles (620 kilometers) above Earth and scrutinize the planet using a Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) instrument.

It will be followed by SAOCOM 1B in 2019.

Saocom-1A has an L-band payload created to study soil moisture for agriculture, disaster monitoring and scientific research.

Its name is short for Satelite Argentino de Observacion Con Microondas.

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