Home / Science / SpaceX Ace's first ever Rocket Landing in California after spectacular satellite launch

SpaceX Ace's first ever Rocket Landing in California after spectacular satellite launch

SpaceX invigorated its west coast rocket landing plate in style.

A Falcon 9 rocket launching from California's Vandenberg Air Force Base tonight (7 October) at 10:21 EDT (07:21 local time, 0221 GMT, October 8) successfully delivered Argentina's SAOCOM-1A Earth Observation Satellite to circulation.

And less than 8 minutes after the liftoff, the booster's first stage came back to earth for a definite touchdown on SpaceX's Vandenberg landing zone, just a quarter mile (400 meters) from the starting board. [SpaceX’s Epic Fly-Back Reusable Rocket Landings Explained]

"This is great news for everyone here on SpaceX," says Tom Praderio, a SpaceX firmware engineer, during the live launch commentary tonight. "We are all very excited."

Twilight launched a spectacular night sky vision for southern California viewers who went on Twitter to share their amazing pictures. One of these viewers was Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti.

"No, definitely not aliens." Garcetti wrote on Twitter as he wrote a great photo. "What you are watching is the first launch and landing of the @SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket on the west coast. The rocket departed from the Vandenberg Air Force Base at 19:21 and landed safely back on earth."

SpaceX had already pulled more than two dozen first-stage landings during orbital liftoffs, with boosters coming down on drone ships stationed in the Atlantic and Pacific, and at the terra firma at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. But tonight's event marked SpaceX's first migration on the west coast.

Such landings are part of SpaceX's driving force for developing completely and rapidly reusable rockets and spacecraft, a breakthrough that the company's founder and CEO Elon Musk have emphasized can reduce the cost of space flight enough to make major exploration performances such as conciliation of Mars economically feasible .

According to that vision tonight marked the second flight for this Falcon 9 first stage, which also helped ceiling 10 Iridium next commercial communications satellites from Vandenberg on July 25th.

  A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying the SAOCOM-1A Earth Observation Satellite launch from California's Vandenberg Air Force Base on October 7, 2018.

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying SAOCOM-1A Earth observation satellite launches from California's Vandenberg Air Force Base on October 7, 2018.

Credit: SpaceX

By the way: SpaceX would like to support every booster on terra, to facilitate the reflight process. But it is only possible when starting relatively light payloads for non-distant lanes. On other missions, there is not enough fuel left for Falcon 9 first stage to maneuver all the way back to shore.

SpaceX calls its California Touchdown Site Landing Zone 4, probably because it is part of Vandenberg's Space Starter Complex 4 (SLC-4). This facility, which SpaceX leases from the air force, used to have two launch plates, known as SLC-4 East and SLC-4 West. SpaceX has transformed the West into a landing spot and launches Falcon 9s from the East. (The company has two touchdown sites at Cape Canaveral, called Landing Zone 1 and Landing Zone 2.)

  A look at Landing Zone 4, SpaceX's newest rocket launching site at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.

A look at Landing Zone 4, SpaceX's newest rocket launching site, at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.

Credit: SpaceX

The 3,500-lb. (1,600 kilos) SAOCOM-1A satellite was developed by the Argentina National Space Agency, known by its Spanish acronym CONAE. The spacecraft will create the store 385 miles (620 kilometers) above the ground and review the planet using a Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) instrument.

SAOCOM-1A's radar measurements will track the soil moisture content, thereby contributing to forecasts of yield. The mission will also help planers and akuthushholders to keep tabs on fires, floods and other disasters.

The satellite tv, SAOCOM-1B, will also be launched on a Falcon 9; Its liftoff is aimed at next year. Both spacecraft will make similar observations from orbit, which will be integrated with measurements made by a network of Italian satellites.

"SAOCOM-1, together with the Italian COSMO-SkyMed X-Band SAR constellation, consists of the Italian-Argentinean satellite management system (SIASGE), a partnership between CONAE and the Italian Space Agency (ASI)," SpaceX officials wrote in a mission description. "Flying both constellations along the same orbit supports a prompt response by providing SAR information in emergencies."

"SAOCOM" is abbreviated for "Satélite Argentino de Observación Con Microondas", which is Spanish for "Argentine Microwave Observatory Satellite."

Editor's Note: If you have taken a great picture of video of SpaceXs Falcon 9 rocket launch and want to share it with Space.com for a story or gallery, send photos and comments to: [email protected] Mike Wall's book about the search for alien life, " Out There ," will be published on November 13th. Follow him on Twitter @michaeldwall and [19659028] Google+ [19659028]. Follow us @Spacedotcom Facebook or Google+ . Originally published on Space.com .

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