OCT 07, 2018 4:28 PM PDT

SpaceX to Launch Satellite, Then Attempt First Falcon 9 Landing on California Soil

WRITTEN BY: Anthony Bouchard

Sunday, October 7th is expected to be a special day for SpaceX. The commercial space company is poised to launch a Falcon 9 rocket launch from California’s Vandenberg Air Force Base at approximately 10:21 P.M. Eastern time, after which it will land the rocket so that it can be reclaimed for refurbishment.

But unlike every other Falcon 9 first stage landing that blasted off from California before today, this one will attempt an upright landing on dry Californian soil rather than on the surface of a drone ship floating in the Pacific Ocean.

SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket stands tall at Vandenverg Air Force Base, awaiting launch instructions.

Image Credit: SpaceX/Twitter

No landing is ever guaranteed, but SpaceX and its loyal fans are crossing their fingers and hoping for the best. Citing the company’s Twitter social media account, the landing attempt will transpire approximately nine minutes after the launch, and take place at Vandenberg Air Force Base’s one and only Landing Zone 4 (LZ-4).

So what about the Falcon 9 rocket’s cargo? As it would seem, there’s an Earth-observing satellite dubbed SAOCOM 1A tucked away in the cargo hold. Argentina's Space Agency owns this particular satellite, which will gather information about Earth’s soil and moisture, among other things. The spacecraft will be deployed in orbit around the Earth about 12 minutes after the launch.

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk noted via his personal Twitter account that residents in California might expect to hear a sonic boom as the rocket falls back through the sky during its landing attempt. "Sonic boom warning," Musk said. "This won't be subtle."

Related: SpaceX launches its Falcon Heavy rocket for the first time, sending a Tesla Roadster into space

Even the United States Air Force chimed in:

"Local residents may see the first stage of the Falcon 9 returning to Vandenberg AFB, including multiple engine burns associated with the landing," the United States Air Force said in a public advisory. "During the landing attempt, residents from Santa Barbara, Ventura and San Luis Obispo counties may hear one or more sonic booms."

Like most of its publicized launches, SpaceX will be live-streaming the event from its YouTube channel. We’ve embedded the live-stream for your convenience below:

SpaceX has conducted soil-based rocket landings on the East coast in the past, but this is a first for the West coast. Performing landings on dry soil can be more cost-efficient for SpaceX, as it’s easier to reclaim the first stage so that it can be refurbished and reused in a future mission.

Related: SpaceX's new 'Block 5' Falcon 9 rocket earns a badge for reliability

If SpaceX fails to move forward with the planned launch Sunday evening, then another launch opportunity exists on Thursday, October 11th at 10:21 P.M. Eastern time.

It should be interesting to see how things pan out. After all, reusable rocket technology is the future of space travel.

Source: SpaceX, United States Air Force

About the Author
  • Fascinated by scientific discoveries and media, Anthony found his way here at LabRoots, where he would be able to dabble in the two. Anthony is a technology junkie that has vast experience in computer systems and automobile mechanics, as opposite as those sound.
You May Also Like
APR 26, 2020
Space & Astronomy
Can Planets Be Larger Than Their Host Stars?
APR 26, 2020
Can Planets Be Larger Than Their Host Stars?
When you look at the confines of our solar system and notice just how large the Sun is when compared to Jupiter, the lar ...
MAY 05, 2020
Space & Astronomy
How Much Do You Know About the Moon?
MAY 05, 2020
How Much Do You Know About the Moon?
There are literally dozens upon dozens of natural satellites orbiting the planets in our solar system, but only one of t ...
MAY 31, 2020
Space & Astronomy
SpaceX Demo-2 Mission Docks Safely with International Space Station
MAY 31, 2020
SpaceX Demo-2 Mission Docks Safely with International Space Station
SpaceX and NASA gave the green light for the precedent-setting Demo-2 mission Saturday afternoon, officially bringing cr ...
JUN 08, 2020
Space & Astronomy
Space Agencies Are Developing Novel Space Junk Cleanup Tools
JUN 08, 2020
Space Agencies Are Developing Novel Space Junk Cleanup Tools
There are thousands of satellites orbiting the Earth today, with some residing in Low-Earth Orbit and others following a ...
JUL 06, 2020
Space & Astronomy
New Technology Can Detect Fast Radio Bursts
JUL 06, 2020
New Technology Can Detect Fast Radio Bursts
Fast radio bursts are intense pulses of energy that come from light years away, popping fir a few milliseconds before di ...
JUL 19, 2020
Chemistry & Physics
Did interstellar organic material form water on Earth?
JUL 19, 2020
Did interstellar organic material form water on Earth?
A recent study published in Scientific Reports sheds light on how our planet’s water could have first come to be. ...
Loading Comments...