California rocket launch spotted in West Texas night sky

Olive Hawkins
October 9, 2018

But, no need to fear.

SpaceX conducted its seventeenth launch of the year October 7, sending an Argentine radar satellite into low-Earth orbit on a Falcon 9 rocket. About half an hour later, the first stage booster was sent back to the base, the first time the company has landed this type of rocket on the West Coast. After launch, the first-stage booster rocket will attempt to land at the Air Force base for the first time.

SpaceX will launch a Falcon 9 rocket carrying the SAOCOM 1A satellite from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.

SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket as seen from the North Coast. Residents in Santa Barbara, Ventura and San Luis Obispo counties may hear sonic booms.

"Sonic boom warning. This won't be subtle" advised SpaceX founder Elon Musk on his Twitter feed on Sunday.

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Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti was among those trying to clear up the speculation, tweeting a photo of the launch and writing: "Nope, definitely not aliens". First-stage boosters that landed on SpaceX's floating platform in the Pacific Ocean returned to the Port of Los Angeles and were then trucked to Hawthorne for refurbishment.

That almost identical satellite will launch in "the near future", also on a Falcon 9, according to the mission narrator for the Saocom-1A webcast.

The mission launched Argentina's newest Earth-observing satellite, SAOCOMM-1A, which will be used to track natural disasters like floods, wildfires, and oil spills from a low-earth orbit of 385 miles (620km).

"SAOCOM-1, together with the Italian COSMO-SkyMed X-Band SAR constellation, comprise the Italian-Argentine Satellite System for Emergency Management (SIASGE), a partnership between CONAE and the Italian Space Agency (ASI)", SpaceX officials wrote in a mission description.

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

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