ibusinesslines.com October 15, 2018

SpaceX plans Vandenberg satellite launch Sunday evening may create sonic boom

08 October 2018, 07:08 | Justin Tyler

A Falcon 9 rocket with a pre-flown first stage launched from California's Vandenberg Air Force Base tonight (Oct. 7) at 10:21 p.m. EDT (7:21 p.m. local time; 0221 GMT on October 8), successfully delivering Argentina's SAOCOM-1A Earth-observation satellite to orbit.

"This is great news for everyone here at SpaceX", Tom Praderio, a SpaceX firmware engineer, said during live launch commentary tonight.

Below are some photos we were sent by viewers Sunday night.

It's the very first time SpaceX (or anyone) has successfully landed a rocket on the West Coast.

But Sunday's flight marked the first time SpaceX attempted a landing at Vandenberg, a milestone made possible by extensive environmental and safety studies that concluded the noise and possible aftermath of a failure would not cause any significant damage or harm to area wildlife.

SpaceX founder Elon Musk was a bit more succinct in a pre-launch tweet: "Sonic boom warning". The rocket plume is expected to be illuminated by the sun after the launch at 7:21 p.m. Sunday.

The upgraded Block 5 Falcon 9 is part of SpaceX's plan for vastly cheaper and more efficient spaceflight.

Land landings aren't threatened by storms like ocean landings are, and they also allow SpaceX to refurbish the boosters faster, as they don't need to be recovered from sea.

SAOCOM-1A's radar measurements will track soil-moisture levels, thereby aiding forecasts of crop yields.

The satellite is the first of two that will be used for emergency management and for land monitoring. Flying both satellite constellations along the same orbit supports a rapid response by providing radar readings in emergency situations.

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