Wednesday, 17 October, 2018


Sonic-boom UFO show! SpaceX launches satellite, lands rocket booster in California

Kristine Garrett | 08 October, 2018, 06:23

The Air Force is warning residents on California's central coast to be prepared for unusual sights and sounds this weekend as SpaceX attempts its first return of a rocket to launch site on the West Coast.

The primary objective of Sunday's mission is to place the SAOCOM 1A satellite into orbit, but SpaceX will also try for the first time to bring the Falcon's first stage back to a landing at the Vandenberg Air Force Base launch site. Residents in Santa Barbara, Ventura and San Luis Obispo counties may hear sonic booms.

Minutes after launch, the rocket's second stage separated from the first-stage booster and continued rising spaceward.

A graphic explaining sonic booms, provided by Vandenberg Air Force Base ahead of a planned SpaceX launch on October 7, 2018. A sonic boom sounds like an explosion or thunder and is the result of shock waves from a vehicle traveling faster than sound.

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk took to Twitter to warn Californians what was in store for them.

The mission could also create a spectacular light show visible across the Southland, depending on weather conditions.

The launch of the satellite, SAOCOM 1A, is being conducted for Argentina's space agency.

SAOCOM 1A carries a high-resolution instrument called a synthetic aperature radar that will be used for emergency management during disasters and for land monitoring.

The launch, employing the upgraded Block 5 version of the Falcon 9 rocket, remained scheduled for 7:21 p.m. Its name is short for Satelite Argentino de Observacion Con Microondas.

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