First SpaceX West Coast rocket landing lights up California sky

SpaceX					SpaceX’s Falcon 9 Block 5 ready for first Return-To-Launch-Site booster landing

The private spaceflight company has launched multiple satellites and shuttled supplies and science gear to the International Space Station, with its Falcon 9 being the first spacecraft from a private company to reach the station in 2012.

The descent was heralded in dramatic fashion by loud sonic booms that rumbled across Southern California as the rocket homed in on its landing pad.

Not yet officially on the schedule, SpaceX's next Vandenberg launch is expected to be Spaceflight Industries' SSO-A rideshare mission, carrying around 70 individual satellites of varying masses. It was also the first West Coast landing of an orbital class rocket booster on land, SpaceX said.

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

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SpaceX first started leasing the California landing space from the Air Force in 2015 but only recently received an approval from the Federal Aviation Administration to make a return landing of this sort, Wired reports. "This won't be subtle".

The satellite is the first of two that will be used for emergency management and for land monitoring. The second satellite will be SAOCOM 1B.

To put the satellite into the intended polar orbit, the Falcon 9 quickly arced away to the south over the Pacific Ocean, smoothly accelerating as it consumed its liquid oxygen and kerosene propellants and lost weight. LZ-4 is built on the former site of Space Launch Complex 4W, from which Titan rockets were previously launched. The satellite, Saocom-1A, separated from the launcher's upper stage about 13 minutes later.

Shortly afterward SpaceX confirmed that SAOCOM 1A had been successfully deployed in record time. Including Sunday's successful landing, SpaceX has returned 30 total boosters back to land or to a floating sea platform.

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