Social media lights up with SpaceX satellite launch

Muriel Hammond
October 9, 2018

The SpaceX mission, masterminded by billionaire Elon Musk, marks the 62nd flight of the Falcon 9, a rocket created to land back on Earth so it can be used again.

The Falcon 9 rocket took off as scheduled at 7:21 p.m. PDT from the Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. After launch, the first-stage booster rocket will attempt to land at the Air Force base for the first time. It carries a high-resolution instrument called a synthetic aperature radar that will be used for emergency management and land monitoring. Any rocket launch is exciting, but SpaceX's Falcon 9 has completed so many missions at this point that yet another satellite delivery is easy to overlook.

SpaceX has been working with the USA government and on its own private ventures, which eventually could include private space travel, according to Musk, who also is the founder and CEO of the electric vehicle company Tesla.

Booms from the Falcon 9 booster's re-entry into the atmosphere were predicted to shake the Pacific Coast as far southeast as Ventura County, but officials said the noise pattern can not be accurately predicted given varying upper-atmospheric weather patterns.

SpaceX is aiming to lower the cost of space travel by designing rocket boosters that are reusable.

Aside from the stir it caused among the locals, the launch was a huge success for SpaceX.

The 3,500-lb. (1,600 kilograms) SAOCOM-1A satellite was developed by Argentina's national space agency, which is known by its Spanish acronym CONAE. SpaceX's landing record now stands at 30 successful booster recoveries, 11 at Cape Canaveral, one at Vandenberg and 18 on droneships.

SAOCOM 1B is planned to launch next year.

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