Skip to main content

SpaceX To Launch Falcon 9 Rocket From Vandenberg Air Force Base

A Falcon 9 SpaceX rocket, with a payload of 60 satellites for SpaceX's Starli...

Credit: Associated Press

Above: A Falcon 9 SpaceX rocket, with a payload of 60 satellites for SpaceX's Starlink broadband network, lifts off from Space Launch Complex 40 at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Cape Canaveral, Fla., Thursday, May 23, 2019.

Hawthorne-based SpaceX will attempt to launch a rocket carrying three satellites Wednesday morning from Vandenberg Air Force Base in Santa Barbara County, potentially creating an impressive aerial display while also potentially causing sonic booms along the central coast.

The launch of the Falcon 9 rocket carrying the RADARSAT Constellation for the Canadian Space Agency is scheduled for 7:17 a.m. Wednesday.

SpaceX will attempt again to recover the first stage of the Falcon 9 rocket by landing it back at Vandenberg. Base officials said the returning rocket could cause one or more sonic booms as it travels faster than the speed of sound. Depending on weather and other conditions, sonic booms could be audible for people in Santa Barbara, Ventura and San Luis Obsipo counties.

Recovering rockets has become a hallmark for SpaceX, which reuses the rockets in an effort to lower the costs of launches.

Previous launches at Vandenberg have created impressive light shows over Southern California, particularly those done in the evening hours. Although Wednesday's launch will occur after daybreak, it will still likely be visible for people across the region.

The three satellites are part of Canada's RADARSAT Constellation of Earth-observation satellites. According to the Canadian Space Agency, the satellites will gather data for a variety of uses, primarily for maritime surveillance, disaster management and ecosystem monitoring.

Want more KPBS news?
Find us on Twitter and Facebook, or sign up for our newsletters.

To view PDF documents, Download Acrobat Reader.