A mix of satellites with a variety of missions for an assortment of customers, including one based in Santa Barbara, will take a daytime trek together into orbit aboard a Falcon 9 rocket Saturday from Vandenberg Space Force Base.
Liftoff of the two-stage rocket built by SpaceX and its 90 satellites will occur between 10:49 a.m. and 11:44 a.m. from Space Launch Complex-4 on South Base for the Transporter-9 rideshare mission.
SpaceX confirmed on Thursday the 55-minute launch window opens at 10:49 a.m. If the countdown gets delayed, the launch opportunity remains the same for Sunday.
Typical advisories issued ahead of this mission revealed it will provide spectators a chance to see a daylight departure following a series of middle-of-the-night liftoffs by SpaceX recently.
Mission managers set rocket launch times based upon orbital mechanics and where the payload needs to be placed space.
Like the other rideshare missions, the first-stage booster is expected to return to land at Vandenberg, just west of the launch site, 7 minutes after liftoff.
That means residents of Santa Barbara, Ventura and San Luis Obispo counties can expect to hear sonic booms signaling the first-stage booster’s return as the vehicle breaks the sound barrier en route back to Vandenberg.
Sonic booms stem from the shock waves created by an aircraft or launch vehicle traveling faster than the speed of sound. The booms have been likened to an explosion or a clap of thunder, but sound at various locations can depend on weather conditions and other factors.
The Transporter-9 mission aims to deliver dozens of satellites of varying sizes into orbit while sharing a ride aboard a rocket.
Santa Barbara-based Umbra reportedly has two tiny satellites aboard the mission to continue its effort to deliver high-quality images to commercial and government customers while making ordering the data as simple as reserving a hotel room.
Additional Transporter-9 satellites have ties to Poland, Croatia and other countries across the planet as excited team members took to social media to reveal their participation.
SpaceX rocket launches and landings typically attract onlookers to the Lompoc Valley.
Vandenberg has restricted access, but several locations around the Lompoc Valley provide views of the launch and landing sites, which are south of West Ocean Avenue/Highway 246.
The locations include west of Lompoc, the peak of Harris Grade Road, and near the intersection of Moonglow and Stardust roads.
Providence Landing Park, at 699 Mercury Ave. in Vandenberg Village, also is a popular gathering spot, along with West Ocean Avenue west of the Lompoc’s city limits.
A live webcast of the mission will start 10 minutes before liftoff on the SpaceX account on the website formerly known as Twitter.