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(Vandenberg Space Force Base)

VANDENBERG SFB, Calif. (Tribune News Service) — A SpaceX rocket will take off from Vandenberg Space Force Base on Wednesday, in the first launch of the year.

The aerospace company's Falcon 9 rocket will launch from the Central Coast military base around 12:18 p.m., carrying a classified payload for the National Reconnaissance Office into orbit.

The launch could be delayed if weather conditions change.

According to a news release, the mission's first stage will return to land on Vandenberg.

Upon re-entry, residents across Santa Barbara, Ventura and San Luis Obispo counties could hear multiple sonic booms as the vehicle breaks the sound barrier.

How to watch the rocket launch

The SpaceX launch will likely be viewable from around the Central Coast, depending on the weather conditions and whether Vandenberg's infamous fog makes an appearance.

There are several viewing areas around the Lompoc area for those interested in watching the spectacle live. The public viewing area known as the Hawks Nest at Camellia Lane on Vandenberg Space Force Base will not be open Wednesday.

Cars also often line up along Ocean Avenue, also known as Highway 246, with hundreds of spectators sitting on top of their vehicles or on the side of the road waiting for the rocket to come shooting up over the hills.

Other popular viewing sites include spots along Firefighter, Harris Grade and Santa Lucia roads.

(c)2022 The Tribune (San Luis Obispo, Calif.)

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