LOMPOC (CBSLA) – Residents in Santa Barbara and Ventura counties may hear several sonic booms when Elon Musk’s SpaceX rocket launches a NASA satellite from Vandenberg Air Force Base Saturday morning near Lompoc.
The Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich satellite is scheduled to launch at 9:17 a.m. aboard a Falcon 9 rocket, according to Vandenberg AFB.
Two minutes after the launch, residents in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties may hear a series of sonic booms when the reusable portion of the Falcon 9 makes re-entry after sending the satellite into orbit.
The reusable portion of the rocket will land back at Vandenberg AFB to be used again in future missions.
The satellite, named for former NASA Earth Science Division Director Michael Freilich, is the first of two identitical satellites to launch five years apart, NASA reports. Both will be used to monitor sea levels.
NASA will be in charge of Saturday’s launch. Several scientific instruments for the Freilich satellite were built at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena.
Vandenberg often conducts test launches of unarmed intercontinental ballistic missiles. The last such test occurred on Oct. 29.