The Launch of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 From a West Hollywood Perspective

No. That wasnā€™t an alien invasion. And no, you hadnā€™t been drinking too much or smoking too much weed. What you were seeing in the sky Sunday night was the successful launch into orbit by SpaceX of a Falcon 9 rocket and satellite from Vandenberg Air Force Base (the rocket booster also safely landed back on Earth), the first time the futuristic firm has done so on the West Coast.

Chris Garlington of WeHo Studio captured a view of the launch from West Hollywood and graciously is sharing it on YouTube with WEHOville readers.

The lift-off came at its scheduled time of 7:21 p.m. SpaceX then successfully handled the launching of an Argentine satellite after setting off a colorful pyrotechnic display as its rocket stages separated.

For an encore, the rocket’s first stage booster floated earthward and stuck its landing in the center of LZ-4, SpaceX’s new landing pad at Vandenberg.

“Sonic boom warning. This won’t be subtle” advised SpaceX founder Elon Musk on his Twitter feed at midday Sunday.

Previous recapture missions from Vandenberg have landed the rocket on a barge floating in the Pacific Ocean, about 400 miles out to sea.

The company previously has landed rockets on the ground, but always at Cape Canaveral in Florida.

The launch employed the upgraded Block 5 version of the Falcon 9 rocket. 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 issued a warning that residents in San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara and Ventura counties could potentially hear one or more sonic booms due to the flight.

The rocket was carrying into orbit an Argentine Earth-observing satellite, known as SAOCOM-1A. The satellite is one of a planned six-satellite array.

  1. Ugh! SpaceX, really? This folly just shows the cognitive dissonance the human species has – especially the entitled, wealthy ones! The fact that people support the idea of a rocket that at each launch creates the yearly emissions of 72 cars – be employed to ferry rich people on a joyride in space is not only vulgar but extremely disrespectful to the rest of earths inhabitants. Hello? This is the last thing we need in this time of man created climate change. Get a grip, folks! Just because they make it doesn’t mean we need it.

    1. Though Anthropogenic Climate Change is a very real and legitimate issue (please see the Climate Change postings on my G+ page by clicking my name), SpaceX rockets or even rockets in general are are NOT a significant contributor to Green House gases or toxicity. Elon Musk has lead the charge in moving away from fossil fuels and the urgency of action in stopping Anthropogenic Climate Change. The Merlin engines on SpaceX rockets use RP-1 and liquid oxygen as rocket propellants in a gas-generator power cycle. RP-1 (aka Rocket Propellant-1 or Refined Petroleum-1) is a highly refined form of kerosene . Because of the low alkenes and aromatics that make up RP-1, it’s significantly less toxic than various jet and diesel fuels, and far less toxic than gasoline. Put simply, NO cars have a far greater environmental impact than rockets! šŸš€ That’s why I drive a scooter as opposed to a car. šŸ›µ Mind you that ANY hydrocarbon-based fuel when burned produces carbon dioxide (CO2), toxic carbon monoxide (CO), hydrocarbon (HC) emissions, and oxides of nitrogen (NOx) and, eco-friendly alternatives are in the making.

      In interest of full disclosure YES I worked a temp science job at SpaceX and would like a full time position for life! The SpaceX temp positions are offered through,, and Aerotek. Having one is NO big deal! My current position has me locked in a Downtown LA skyscraper all night, where I pass my time posting on social media and playing video games. šŸ™‚

      1. Oops, I should have put a comma after NO as in “no, cars have a far greater environmental impact than rockets!” To clarify internal combustion engine vehicles running on hydrocarbon fuels are one of the top contributors to green house gases. The environmental impact of rockets is NOT significant!

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