That wasn't a UFO. SpaceX launch lights up Southern California sky

Mindy Sparks
October 9, 2018

Following successful separation from Falcon 9's upper stage and the SAOCOM 1A satellite payload, booster B1048 immediately began a rapid 180-degree flip maneuver, igniting either one or three of its Merlin 1D engines to begin its journey back to the launch site.

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.

The event marked the company's first West Coast landing on dry land. Pacific time. The launch was delayed one day for "pre-flight vehicle checkouts", SpaceX tweeted last week. Land-based booster recovery requires more fuel to make it back to dry land.

If anything goes wrong during the launch and landing, there is a risk of explosion. SpaceX has several other missions planned for this year, including the Falcon 9 launches of another 10 Iridium Next satellites, Es'hailSat's Es'hail-2, and the U.S. Air Force's first GPS-3 satellite.

The launch is scheduled for shortly after 7:20 p.m., Vandenberg Air Force base officials said in an advisory. The rocket will carry the Argentinian SOACOM 1A radar mapping satellite. This mission has the main aim to gather soil moisture information.

The launch lit up the sky across San Diego and locals flooded KSWB with photos and questions about what they'd just seen overhead. Both spacecraft will make similar observations from orbit, which will be integrated with measurements made by a network of Italian satellites.

Its name is short for Satelite Argentino de Observacion Con Microondas.

SpaceX has a second CONAE satellite, Saocom-1B, that it is also tasked with launching.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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