SpaceX's Falcon 9 Rocket Puts on Light Show in Tonight's Sky

Katie Ramirez
October 8, 2018

The Falcon 9, now on base at California's SpaceX launch pad will take off on Sunday night at 7:21 p.m. PT, with a mission to launch an Argentinean Earth-observing satellite into orbit, and then touch back down in a new landing zone located just a quarter mile away from takeoff, Wired reported.

"Sonic boom warning. This won't be subtle" advised SpaceX founder Elon Musk on his Twitter feed on Sunday.

SpaceX has previously landed first stage rockets on land after Florida launches but had not done so on the West Coast.

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.

In keeping with that vision, tonight marked the second flight for this particular Falcon 9 first stage, which also helped loft 10 Iridium Next commercial communications satellites from Vandenberg on July 25.

After launch, the first-stage booster rocket will attempt to land at the Air Force base for the first time.

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As The Verge noted, SpaceX hasn't been making sea landings by choice.

By the way: SpaceX would like to land every booster on terra firma, to ease the reflight process.

If anything goes wrong during the launch and landing, there is a risk of explosion.

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

The rocket will carry the Argentinian SOACOM 1A radar mapping satellite.

"SAOCOM-1, together with the Italian COSMO-SkyMed X-Band SAR constellation, comprise the Italian-Argentine Satellite System for Emergency Management (SIASGE), a partnership between CONAE and the Italian Space Agency (ASI)", SpaceX officials wrote in a mission description.

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