Rocket launch successful from Vandenberg Air Force Base
It was a thrilling week at Vandenberg Air Force Base. The last time three launches occurred in one week was in July of 2004. That is, until this morning, when all eyes were on the sky. "It was a beautiful, clear Sunday morning, a cloudless sky. It was a launch that went in slow motion. A beautiful sight to see," said Jim Richardson, Mayor of Solvang. It only looked like it was in slow motion. In just one minute and ten seconds after liftoff, the upgraded Falcon 9 rocket already reached supersonic speed, powered by its nine engines which generate 1.3 million pounds of thrust. "The atmosphere was electric," said Richardson. This is the sixth flight for the American made rocket. It will deliver a Canadian satellite into orbit and make history. It's the first launch for private company SpaceX from Vandenberg Air Force Base, as part of the government's certification process to test the rockets reliability. "Congress has dictated and directed the Department of Defense to facilitate competition," said 1st Lt. Chris Jordan, USAF. The goal is to bring on new providers for space launch capabilities to reduce costs of space lifts for the government. They are looking for a better solution for reusable boosters and hope to save millions. "SpaceX is trying to recover the first stage and align it over a point in the water to try and recover it," said Jordan. "It's an exciting thing to be a part of the space frontier," said Richardson. About 15 minutes after the rocket launched, the satellite was deployed into orbit. Vandenberg's 30th Space Wing's 1st Air and Space Test Squadron will continue their evaluation of SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket. The government is hoping to make space missions more affordable.
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