SpaceX plans launch Wednesday morning and lands at Vandenberg Air Force Base | Local news


A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket is to be launched and landed Wednesday morning at Vandenberg Air Force Base. Base officials warn that the return of the rocket could cause one or more audible sound bangs in Santa Barbara, Ventura and San Luis Obispo Counties.

The launch is scheduled for a window starting at 7:17 am on Wednesday, June 12th from VAFB's Space Launch Complex-4. The Falcon 9 rocket is expected to carry the RADARSAT constellation, which will include three Earth observation satellites, on behalf of the Canadian Space Agency.

After the launch, SpaceX will attempt to land the first stage of the Falcon 9 rocket in Landing Zone 4, previously called Space Launch Complex – 4W. The company successfully completed the first land landing on the west coast last October.

Colonel Bob Reeves, Vice Commander of 30 Space Wing, will be the Space Launch Commander.

"The V team continues its commitment to guaranteed access to space for the nation," said Reeves, referring to the Vandenberg team. "Partnership is critical to the success of the mission and we are proud to share the burden of this mission with SpaceX."

Base officials warn local residents that the landing, which will involve several engine burns, could result in sonic booms. A sonic boom is the sound associated with shock waves emitted by an airplane or vehicle moving faster than the speed of sound.

"The sound booms generate a sound like an explosion or a thunderclap," reads one part of a statement drawn from the public affairs of the 30th Space Wing of the VAFB. "The experienced sonic boom [Wednesday] will depend on weather conditions and other factors. "

The RADARSAT constellation would consist of three identical satellites developed by MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates, a subsidiary of Maxar Technologies. Once operational, the constellation should provide C-band data to the Canadian government and provide maritime surveillance, disaster management and ecosystem monitoring, according to the Canadian Space Agency.

Members of the public will be able to see the launch from the Hawk's Nest located on Azalea Lane, near Highway 1, about a mile south of the main VAFB Gate. The zone will be open at 6 am and closed after the end of the landing of the first leg, according to the 30th Space Squadron.

Willis Jacobson covers the city of Lompoc for Lee Central Coast Newspapers. Follow him on Twitter @WJacobsonLR.


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