SpaceX to launch and land Falcon 9 rocket from Southern California

‘This won’t be subtle’: SpaceX West Coast launch will create sonic boom

Then a secondary challenge: SpaceX will try to land the first stage of their rocket back at a landing zone.

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket is scheduled to launch a satellite into orbit from Vandenberg Air Force Base at 7:21 p.m. Saturday.

"During the landing attempt, residents from Santa Barbara, Ventura and San Luis Obispo counties may hear one or more sonic booms", according to the advisory.

SpaceX had already pulled off more than two dozen first-stage landings during orbital liftoffs, with the boosters coming down on robotic "drone ships" stationed in the Atlantic and Pacific oceans and on terra firma at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. The retro firings slowed the rocket down from supersonic speeds, setting off a sonic boom that could be heard in some areas (but not others).

The rocket will be carrying an Argentinian Earth-observing satellite, known as SAOCOM-1A, into orbit.

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The fact that the launch and landing took place near Los Angeles meant there were ample opportunities for Southern Californians to catch the show (and for unwitting observers to register UFO reports). SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk also warned of the boom from his Twitter account.

A graphic explaining sonic booms, provided by Vandenberg Air Force Base ahead of a planned SpaceX launch on October 7, 2018.

"What you're looking at is the first launch and landing of the @SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket on the West Coast".

The satellite is the first of two that will be used for emergency management and for land monitoring.

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