SpaceX Launches Falcon 9 with SAOCOM satellite

Pablo Tucker
October 10, 2018

A Space X Falcon 9 rocket was set to take off from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California around 7:21 p.m.

Earlier this year, on February 6, the Falcon Heavy rocket successfully launched from Kennedy Space Center in Florida, launching a red Tesla Roadster driven by a Starman mannequin.

Air Force officials have issued a warning that residents in Santa Barbara, Ventura and San Luis Obispo counties could potentially hear one or more sonic booms due to the launch. During previous West Coast launches, it sent out a ship equipped with a giant net to catch parafoil-equipped components of the nose cone as the descend.

On Twitter, SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk said it "wouldn't be subtle".

Since landing its first booster back on Earth in 2015, SpaceX has fine-tuned the inspection and refurbishment process.

This marked SpaceX's 30th landing of a first stage, as well as the first time a Falcon 9 rocket touched down on the West 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. Pacific time. The launch was delayed one day for "pre-flight vehicle checkouts", SpaceX tweeted last week. The rocket's reusable first stage landed back at the base without a problem in less than 10 minutes, a first.

Some of the visuals came from the launch itself, which put an Argentinian Earth-observation satellite into orbit.

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. The mission's main objective is to collect soil moisture information.

The satellite is the first of two that will be used for emergency management and for land monitoring. The second satellite will be SAOCOM 1B.

But unofficially, it just looked really darn cool.

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