Monday, 10 December, 2018


SpaceX's latest rocket launch dazzles in California's night sky

Two streaks in this long exposure SpaceX's latest rocket launch dazzles in California's night sky
Kristine Garrett | 08 October, 2018, 21:14

The notoriously foggy launch site provided a rare clear day for the private aerospace company; the only visible clouds were those formed by gaseous liquid oxygen bleeding off from the vehicle itself, according to SpaceX engineer Tom Praderio. "We're all very excited".

Arizonans, and presumably Americans all over the country were collectively confused and maybe a little scared when a giant light appeared in the sky on Sunday night.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti tweeted out this picture of the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket's contrail, glowing in Southern California's skies after sunset.

The launch, employing the upgraded Block 5 version of the Falcon 9 rocket, remained scheduled for 7:21 p.m.

SpaceX had already pulled off more than two dozen first-stage landings during orbital liftoffs, with the boosters coming down on robotic "drone ships" stationed in the Atlantic and Pacific oceans and on terra firma at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. This is SpaceX's first attempt at a land landing on the West Coast.

This will mark the first time SpaceX has attempted a ground landing of the Falcon 9 on the West Coast.

By the way: SpaceX would like to land every booster on terra firma, to ease the reflight process. LZ-4 is built on the former site of Space Launch Complex 4W, from which Titan rockets were previously launched. Prior landings have taken place on the East Coast.

Saocom-1A is a 3,000-kilogram synthetic aperture radar (SAR) satellite for the Argentine space agency CONAE that was contracted in 2009 for a launch in 2012.

Saocom-1A has an L-band payload created to study soil moisture for agriculture, disaster monitoring and scientific research. The mission will also help planners and emergency-management officials keep tabs on wildfires, floods and other disasters. The satellite, Saocom-1A, separated from the launcher's upper stage about 13 minutes later.

The satellite is the first of two for Argentina's space agency, Comision Nacional de Actividades Espaciales, and will work in conjunction with a constellation of Italian space agency satellites.

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