Published: Mon, October 08, 2018
Science | By

SpaceX launch lights up night sky in Southern California

SpaceX launch lights up night sky in Southern California

The twilight launch created a spectacular sight in the night sky for spectators in Southern California, who took to Twitter to share their incredible photos. It was also the first West Coast landing of an orbital class rocket booster on land, SpaceX said.

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.

The 30th Space Wing says residents may see multiple engine burns by the first stage and there may be one or more sonic booms.

The launch, employing the upgraded Block 5 version of the Falcon 9 rocket, remained scheduled for 7:21 p.m. It, too, found success in landing at a new site north of Los Angeles.

A graphic explaining sonic booms, provided by Vandenberg Air Force Base ahead of a planned SpaceX launch on October 7, 2018.


Southland residents were treated to a spectacular sight Sunday night as SpaceX launched a satellite into space and landed the rocket back to Earth on Californian soil for the first time in the company's history.

Both the launch and landing took place at Vandenberg Air Force Base.

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.

As the biggest antenna in space for a civil mission, its main goal is to gather soil moisture information.

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. The satellite was deployed about 12 minutes after liftoff.

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