Tuesday, 16 October, 2018

SpaceX successfully launches - and lands - rocket in Southern California

A graphic explaining sonic booms provided by Vandenberg Air Force Base ahead of a planned SpaceX launch on Oct. 7 2018 A graphic explaining sonic booms provided by Vandenberg Air Force Base ahead of a planned SpaceX launch on Oct. 7 2018
Frank Williams | 10 October, 2018, 07:44

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.

The success achieved in the safe return of the first stage is significant for SpaceX as the company is looking at a reduction in launch cost through such measures. Residents in Santa Barbara, Ventura and San Luis Obispo counties may hear sonic booms.

Californians from Los Angeles to Sacramento - more than 547 kilometres from the launch site - also posted their confusion.

Not yet officially on the schedule, SpaceX's next Vandenberg launch is expected to be Spaceflight Industries' SSO-A rideshare mission, carrying around 70 individual satellites of varying masses.

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.

"Nope, definitely not aliens, "Garcetti wrote on Twitter as he posted an awesome photo".

SpaceX Founder Elon Musk simply tweeted afterwards, "Falcon has landed".

Turkey believes missing Saudi journalist was murdered at Saudi consulate in Istanbul
Protesters hold pictures of Saudi Journalist Jamal Khashoggi during a demonstration organized by Turkish-Arabic Media Association. On Friday, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said Turkey could search the consulate for the missing dissident.

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

SAOCOM 1A is operated by Argentina's Space Agency, the National Commission on Space Activities (CONAE).

It's the very first time SpaceX (or anyone) has successfully landed a rocket on the West Coast. This mission has the main aim to gather soil moisture information. It will also-in partnership with the Italian COSMO-SkyMed X-Band SAR constellation-assist with rapid response during natural disasters.

That almost identical satellite will launch in "the near future", also on a Falcon 9, according to the mission narrator for the Saocom-1A webcast.

"SAOCOM" is short for "Satélite Argentino de Observación Con Microondas", which is Spanish for "Argentine Microwave-Observation Satellite".

SAOCOM 1B is planned to launch next year.

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