SpaceX plans Vandenberg satellite launch Sunday evening may create sonic boom

‘This won’t be subtle’: SpaceX West Coast launch will create sonic boom

‘This won’t be subtle’: SpaceX West Coast launch will create sonic boom

Following stage separation, Falcon 9's first stage will return to land at SpaceX's Landing Zone 4 (LZ-4) at Vandenberg Air Force Base.

SpaceX has just successfully landed its first rocket on the U.S. West Coast. At the time, the launch was scheduled to occur from the Kwajalein Atoll in the Pacific Ocean where SpaceX launched the now retired Falcon 1.

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. "A sonic boom is the sound associated with the shock waves from an aircraft or vehicle traveling faster than the speed of sound". This will be SpaceX's first landing attempt on the ground at Vandenberg.

"Vandenberg LZ-4, the Falcon has landed", a member of SpaceX's launch team reported.

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Two minutes later, the second stage engine shut down as planned and two-and-a-half minutes after that, the SAOCOM 1A satellite was released into the planned polar orbit.

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

Argentina's National Commission on Space Activities, or CONAE, will operate the two SAOCOM satellites in cooperation with the Italian Space Agency's COSMO-SkyMed radar satellites. It, too, found success in landing at a new site north of Los Angeles.

The upgraded Block 5 Falcon 9 is part of SpaceX's plan for vastly cheaper and more efficient spaceflight. But a successful landing would mean the company would no longer have to rely only on its drone ship for post-launch landings, according to Wired.

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