LOMPOC, Calif. – SpaceX successfully launched a satellite to space from Vandenberg Air Force Base in Santa Barbara County Sunday – and then they stuck the landing.
The innovative company launched a Falcon 9 rocket carrying the satellite SAOCOM 1A to space around 7:20 p.m. Then SpaceX successfully landed part of their rocket back on Earth for the first time on the West Coast.
The launch lit up the sky across San Diego and locals flooded KSWB with photos and questions about what they’d just seen overhead.
Ahead of the launch, officials issued warnings to residents about the possibility of sonic booms.
“Local residents may see the first stage of the Falcon 9 returning to Vandenberg AFB, including multiple engine burns associated with the landing,” an advisory from the base explained.
“During the landing attempt residents from Santa Barbara, Ventura and San Luis Obispo counties may hear one or more sonic booms. A sonic boom is a 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.”
Elon Musk put it a little more bluntly: “This won’t be subtle,” he wrote on Twitter.
The SAOCOM 1 satellite is operated by Argentina’s space agency, the National Commission on Space Activities, and will work in tandem with another satellite primarily to gather soil moisture information.