Get ready, rocket fans: Another SpaceX launch is coming to Vandenberg Air Force Base

The contrail from a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket is seen from Long Beach, Calif., more than 100 miles southeast from its launch site at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif., on Friday, Dec. 22, 2017.


By KAYTLYN LESLIE | The Tribune (San Luis Obispo, Calif.) | Published: March 12, 2019

(Tribune News Service) — SpaceX has some good news for West Coast space junkies: The commercial space company is expected to launch its Falcon 9 rocket once again from Vandenberg Air Force Base near Lompoc in May.

According to Space Archive, a website that tracks West Coast rocket launches, the launch window for the rocket is May 16-22, though that is subject to change based on anticipated weather conditions.

A Vandenberg Air Force Base public relations representative said he could not confirm any information on a potential rocket launch from the base at this time. But the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) lists the new launch window on its website.

According to the CSA, the rocket is expected to carry three radar-based, earth-imaging satellites into orbit for the country’s RadarSat Constellation program. The satellites will be used for maritime surveillance, disaster management and ecosystem monitoring, according to the website.

The mission was originally slated for sometime in February, and then again in March, but has since been delayed, according to the Space Archive.

SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket was the first orbital class rocket capable of reflight, which means it can be reused for multiple missions, according to the SpaceX website. The rocket took the Crew Dragon spacecraft into orbit on March 2 as part of the commercial company’s bid to eventually send manned missions into space.

If it proceeds as planned, the May launch would be the third launch from the Central Coast base in 2019.

On Jan. 11, SpaceX launched a Falcon 9 from Vandenberg. The rocket carried 10 Iridium commercial satellites into orbit — the eighth and final set in a series of 75 SpaceX launched as part of its Iridium-8 mission.

Days later, on Jan. 19, the United Launch Alliance sent its Delta IV rocket rocket into space, carrying a top-secret payload for the National Reconnaissance Office. That dramatic launch was watched by hundreds of people lining the streets in nearby Lompoc.

An unarmed Minuteman III missile also launched from the military base in February.

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