Hawthorne-based SpaceX will look to achieve another milestone Sunday when it attempts to launch a satellite into orbit from Vandenberg Air Force Base, then land the first stage of its Falcon 9 rocket back on the ground at the base.
It will mark the first time SpaceX has attempted a ground landing of the Falcon 9 on the West Coast. Previous re-capture missions from Vandenberg have landed the rocket on a barge floating in the Pacific Ocean. The company has landed rockets on the ground before, but always at Cape Canaveral in Florida.
The launch, employing the upgraded Block 5 version of the Falcon 9 rocket, is scheduled for 7:21 p.m. The Block 5 is considered more durable than previous Falcon 9 varieties, capable of flying as many as 10 missions. The rocket being used in Sunday’s mission was previously employed in a June launch.
Air Force officials have issued a warning that residents in Santa Barbara, Ventura and San Luis Obispo counties could potentially hear one or more sonic booms due to the launch.
The mission could also create a spectacular light show visible across the Southland, depending on weather conditions.
The rocket will be carrying an Argentinian Earth-observing satellite, known as SAOCOM-1A, into orbit. The satellite is one of a planned six-satellite array.