Scores of people across San Diego County watched - and in many cases photographed - the contrail of a Falcon 9 rocket that soared into space on Sunday night from Vandenberg Air Force Base in Lompoc.
SAOCOM 1A 3,000-kilogram satellite built by INVAP and this deployment was done in conjunction with Argentina's space agency with the goal of radar-imaging the earth. The rocket plume is expected to be illuminated by the sun after the launch at 7:21 p.m. Sunday.
- The launch clock remained set to 7:21 p.m. for SpaceX's launch of a satellite into orbit from Vandenberg Air Force Base, and planned landing of the rocket booster 100 miles west of Los Angeles. Please let us know where you took the image.
Lighting up the early evening sky, a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket streaked away Sunday from California, boosting an Argentine environmental satellite into orbit.
SpaceX used the same first stage for the Saocom-1A mission that launched 10 satellites for Iridium about 10-and-a-half weeks ago, also from Vandenberg.
SpaceX inaugurated its West Coast rocket-landing pad in style. The booster, meanwhile, relit its engines to maneuver itself for the return trip to SpaceX's landing zone, not far from the launch pad.
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. It's the 30th successful landing of a rocket booster.
SpaceX calls its California touchdown site Landing Zone 4, presumably because it's part of Vandenberg's Space Launch Complex 4 (SLC-4).
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.
SAOCOM 1B is planned to launch next year. Its name is short for Satelite Argentino de Observacion Con Microondas.