SpaceX plans Vandenberg satellite launch Sunday evening may create sonic boom

08 October, 2018, 10:24 | Author: Priscilla Morrison
  • ‘This Won’t be Subtle’: SpaceX West Coast Launch to Create Large Sonic Boom

The primary goal of the flight was to boost Argentina's SAOCOM 1A satellite into an orbit around Earth's poles, the first of two orbital radar stations capable of "seeing" through clouds and at night to measure soil moisture, a key indicator of crop yields, droughts and floods.

SpaceX had previously flown first-stage rockets back to land after Florida launches but had not done so 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. You can expect more rocket landings after this, then. SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk also warned of the boom from his Twitter account. The satellite is created to provide radar imagery to help emergency responders and monitor the environment, including the collection of soil moisture measurements.

The Air Force said before the 7:22 p.m. launch that it expected that people as far away as Sacramento and Southern California would see the rocket's contrail.

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. This may include multiple engine burns. Once again, the light is from a SpaceX launch.

Known as plume interaction, the phenomena has been known to produce extraordinary visual effects and the launch of SAOCOM 1A was certainly no exception. SpaceX's landing record now stands at 30 successful booster recoveries, 11 at Cape Canaveral, one at Vandenberg and 18 on droneships.



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