The Air Force is warning residents on California’s central coast to be prepared for unusual sights and sounds this weekend as SpaceX attempts its first return of a rocket to launch site on the West Coast.
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket is scheduled to launch a satellite into orbit from Vandenberg Air Force Base at 7:21 p.m. Saturday.
The Falcon’s first stage will then fly back to Vandenberg and set down in a landing zone on the coastal base.
The 30th Space Wing says residents may see multiple engine burns by the first stage and there may be one or more sonic booms.
SpaceX has flown boosters back to land after launches from Florida but has yet to do so in California.
In 2008, SpaceX’s Falcon 1 was the first privately-developed liquid fuel rocket to reach the Earth’s orbiot and this launch was followed up with the Falcon 1 flight 5, the first of its kind to deliver a commercial satellite to our planet’s orbit.
Two years later, the company was able to send a spacecraft into orbit and bring it back in one piece and then, became the first private organisation to reach a space station – when the Dragon craft visited the ISS in 2012.
In December 2015, the Falcon 9 rocket achieved the first ever orbital class rocket landing after returning from delivering 11 communications satellites and this year, it launched Falcon Heavy, the heaviest rocket in use.
Eatrlier this week a Japanese startup has signed a deal with Elon Musk’s SpaceX to send a spacecraft to the moon in the 2020s.
Private lunar exploration company ispace said it would blast a lander and rovers towards the moon on a SpaceX rocket on two separate missions.
The spaceware will first orbit the moon in mid-2020, followed by a moon landing attempt set for mid-2021.
It comes a week after SpaceX confirmed Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa will be the first man to fly around the moon on a SpaceX rocket as early as 2023.
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