Published: Tue, October 09, 2018
Science | By Michele Flores

SpaceX rocket launch causes social media stir in Southern California

SpaceX rocket launch causes social media stir in Southern California

Social media went into a frenzy in Southern California Sunday night after odd lights appeared to cross the evening sky.

But, no need to fear. Pacific time. The launch was delayed one day for "pre-flight vehicle checkouts", SpaceX tweeted last week.

Thanks to the low-energy orbit, relatively small satellite, and Falcon 9 Block 5's healthy performance margins, B1048 likely experienced the most forgiving recovery conditions since SpaceX began landing and reusing boosters, making the rocket a prime candidate to be the first SpaceX Falcon 9 booster to fly three times. Vandenberg has warned people in Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo and Ventura counties that they might hear multiple sonic booms as the Falcon 9's first stage touches down at the base's Landing Zone 4.

The primary goal of the mission was to place the SAOCOM 1A satellite into space, but SpaceX also wanted to expand its recovery of first-stage boosters to its launch site at Vandenberg Air Force Base, about 130 miles north-west of Los Angeles.

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Having a rocket's first stage return safely to Earth is part Space Exploration Technologies strategy to reduce launch costs and win market share.

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

SpaceX previously accomplished this feat after leaving from Florida but hadn't done so in California or the West Coast until now, Fox News reported.

It took off at 7:21pm Sunday from Vandenberg Air Force Base (160 miles north of Los Angeles) and returned safely to base about 10 minutes later. This facility, which SpaceX leases from the Air Force, used to feature two launch pads, known as SLC-4 East and SLC-4 West. SpaceX has converted the western one into a landing site and launches Falcon 9s from the eastern one. Its acronym is short for Satelite Argentino de Observacion Con Microondas. The second satellite will be SAOCOM 1B.

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