SpaceX successfully launches Argentinian radar satellite

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Capitalism in space: SpaceX today successfully launched an Argentinian radar satellite, while also achieving the first on-land first stage recovery at Vandenberg.

The first stage was a Block 5 that was used and landed on a barge in July, meaning they turned it around in about two months, the fastest turn-around on the West Coast. With this successful landing on land at Vandenberg, they will able to speed up that turn-around time considerably in the future.

The leaders in the 2018 launch race:

26 China
17 SpaceX
8 Russia
6 Europe (Arianespace)

China remains the leader in the national rankings, 26 to 25, over the United States.



  • Michael

    Just saw my first Falcon 9 launch. I was able to see first stage engine shut down followed second stage start up and then first stage boost back. I was able to follow the second stage till about 7 to 8 minutes when it became too dim to see.

    It was a pretty spectacular light show — you had to be blind to miss it. Bet police phones are ringing off the hook.

    I am to the east of LA. One thing I found heartening was the neighboorhood kids were out watching.

  • Jason Hillyer

    We drove 4.5 hours to go see it, just missed getting to one of the viewing areas, but still got to see most of it. Really cool!! The double sonic booms after the first stage landed was awesome. Pretty surreal to think that astronauts will be riding atop one of those very soon. To the comment above mine, that’s great to hear that the neighborhood kids were out watching, we need more people to get interested in space travel again, and I know SpaceX is helping greatly in that category.

  • wayne

    very cool! That is, A great Adventure!

    SpaceX launch
    Seen from Victorville California

  • Frank

    Quite the visual show over California last night. I could see everything but the landing burn from Orange County.
    I’d like to know the dimension of the upper stage exhaust gas plume at its largest. What we saw looks huge.

  • pzatchok

    Space X did what?


    Do the NASA engineers still say re-usability is not worth it?
    Can’t be done?

  • Col Beausabre

    Does anyone know why Argentina thinks it needs a radar satellite ? To detect what ?

  • Col Beausabre: This lidar radar is used worldwide for research into national resources and geology. This is not a military spacecraft, but something designed to give Argentina a good census of its ground resources, for a number of industries.

    The U.S. got this with its Landsat satellites as well as the lidar flown on several shuttle missions. Canada got it with its Radarsat. For Argentina to get it at high resolution, focused on their country, they need to launch their own satellite.

  • Col Beausabre

    Bob the Z – Thanks, but why not just buy the data from Google Earth? Gotta be cheaper….

  • wayne

    If Wikipedia is to be believed–

    “The SAOCOM mission consists of putting into orbit two constellations, SAOCOM 1 and SAOCOM 2, the second series of which will incorporate certain technological advances resulting from the experience of the first. Each constellation is composed of two satellites, called A and B respectively, which are basically similar, due to the need to obtain an adequate revisit of the monitored Earth surface. The SAOCOM satellites, together with four satellites of the Italian Constellation COSMO-SkyMed, belonging to the Italian Space Agency (ASI, in Italian), make up the Italian-Argentine Satellite System for Emergency Management (SIASGE, in Spanish), created by the National Commission for Space Activities (CONAE, in Spanish) and ASI for the benefit of society, emergency management and economic development.”

  • Google Earth can’t provide it. It doesn’t see through vegetation or into the soil to see different spectral signatures.

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