SpaceX launches satellite, recovers rocket on land

Source: Xinhua| 2018-10-08 12:50:03|Editor: Yang Yi
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LOS ANGELES, Oct. 7 (Xinhua) -- U.S. private spaceflight company SpaceX launched an Argentine Earth-observing satellite on a Falcon 9 rocket from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California on Sunday.

The launch of the satellite, dubbed SAOCOMM 1A, marks the company's first successful on-land landing of the recovered first stage of the rocket on the West Coast.

The rocket blasted off from Space Launch Complex 4E at the air force base at 7:21 p.m. PDT (0221 GMT).

The satellite was deployed into obit about 12 minutes after launch.

Following stage separation, the first stage of the rocket returned to land at SpaceX's Landing Zone 4 at Vandenberg Air Force Base.

SpaceX's previous west coast landings had all taken place on the company's drone ship.

The SAOCOM 1A satellite carries an active instrument consisting of a Synthetic Aperture Radar, which works in the microwave range of the electromagnetic spectrum. The mission's main purpose is to gather soil moisture information.

The Vandenberg Air Force Base said earlier in a release that central Californian residents may hear one or more sonic booms when SpaceX attempts its secondary mission of landing the first stage of the Falcon 9 rocket.

A sonic boom is the sound associated with the shock waves from an aircraft or vehicle traveling faster than the speed of sound. Sonic booms generate a sound similar to an explosion or a clap of thunder. The sonic boom experienced will depend on weather conditions and other factors.