Published: Tue, October 09, 2018
Sci-tech | By Jackie Newman

SpaceX Nails First West Coast Falcon 9 Rocket Landing

SpaceX Nails First West Coast Falcon 9 Rocket Landing

While the company says this is the 30th landing of a booster, this is the first land touchdown on the West Coast - the rest have happened on land in Florida and from platforms out at sea.

Booms from the Falcon 9 booster's re-entry into the atmosphere were predicted to shake the Pacific Coast as far southeast as Ventura County, but officials said the noise pattern can not be accurately predicted given varying upper-atmospheric weather patterns.

The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying an Argentinian satellite blasts off from the Vandenberg Air Force Base launch site.

A second, almost identical satellite (SAOCOM 1B) will be launched "in the near future", also aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, Praderio said.

From the ground, Twitter users posted incredible shots of the Falcon 9 coming back to Earth.

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Proving out a successful booster retrieval system at the former site of Vandenberg's Space Launch Complex 4W marks another step in SpaceX's drive to increase rocket reusability and as a result drive down the cost of access to space.

Two streaks in this long exposure photo show a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket lifting off, left, from Vandenberg Air Force Base, as seen from Pismo Beach, and then its first stage returning, right, to Earth at a nearby landing pad.

The satellite, Saocom-1A, separated from the launcher's upper stage about 13 minutes later. The mission's main objective is to collect soil moisture information. The mission will also help planners and emergency-management officials keep tabs on wildfires, floods and other disasters.

SAOCOM 1B is planned to launch next year. Both spacecraft will make similar observations from orbit, which will be integrated with measurements made by a network of Italian satellites. Boosters are shorter-burning rocket motors/engines that are used alongside the main rockets to augment the space vehicle's takeoff thrust and payload capacity during initial stage launch.

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