Mostly Sunny With A Chance Of Sonic Booms: USAF Warns California Residents To Expect SpaceX Rocket Landing


In case of loud booming sounds and strange lights in the sky, do not panic. That is just a rocket trying to land in the West Coast.

SpaceX, for the first time, will be attempting to land the Falcon 9 in California on Sunday, Oct. 7, at 7:21 p.m. PDT. The U.S. Air Force has already issued a warning to residents about the launch and landing at the Vandenberg Air Force Base.

Sonic Booms And A Descending Rocket

Residents in the vicinity will be able to watch the first stage of the Falcon 9 return to the Vandenberg Air Force Base. It will have to perform "multiple engine burns" to control its trajectory and fall comfortably back to its landing target.

The U.S. Air Force said that residents in Santa Barbara, Ventura, and San Luis Obispo might hear sonic booms which, the advisory described, might sound like an explosion or a loud clap of thunder. This is normal as sonic booms are created when an object — in this case, a rocket — is traveling faster than the speed of sound. 

This is not the first time that SpaceX has launched a rocket at the Vandenberg Air Force Base, but this will be the first that the company will attempt to land around the same area. Prior Sunday, SpaceX has landed its reusable rockets on drone ships

Californians can watch the launch and landing from the Hawk's Nest on Azalea Lane just half a mile away from the main entrance to the Vandenberg Air Force Base. Gates open at around 7 p.m. PDT. 

Weapons, alcohol, cigarettes, and open fires are not allowed in the vicinity, according to a Facebook post. 

Falcon 9 Launch

The Falcon 9 will be carrying the SAOCOM 1A, an Earth observation satellite from the Argentine Space Agency, on Sunday. A second SAOCOM 1B will also be launched by SpaceX's Falcon 9 at a later date. The observation satellites will provide imagery for monitoring natural resources and disaster management. 

The launch was initially scheduled for Saturday, but it was postponed for a day to complete pre-flight checks. A static fire test has already been conducted last Tuesday, Oct. 2. 

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