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Santa Maria - Lompoc - North County

Vandenberg Air Force Base warns of Sonic Boom during satellite launch

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. - Team Vandenberg and SpaceX are scheduled to launch the Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich satellite Saturday morning, and residents in the surrounding counties should expect to hear it.

The launch of the Sentinel-6 is scheduled for 9:17 a.m. from Vandenberg Air Force Base. Sentinel-6 is the first of two identical satellites set to head into Earth's orbit five years apart to continue sea level observations for at least the next decade.

Vandenberg warns that, upon reentry of the vehicle, residents and spectators from Santa Barbara, Ventura and San Luis Obispo counties should expect to hear multiple sonic booms as the vehicle breaks the sound barrier.

A sonic boom is the sound associated with the shock waves from an aircraft or launch vehicle traveling faster than the speed of sound. The booms generate a sound similar to an explosion or a clap of thunder, but may be impacted by weather conditions and other factors.

The Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich satellite will head into orbit on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Space Launch Complex 4E at Vandenberg.

The launch is being managed by NASA's Launch Services Program, based at the agency's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory manages the agency's contribution to the mission.

In compliance with COVID-19 restrictions, the normal public viewing area on Azalea Lane off of Highway 1 about a half-mile south of the Air Force Base's main gate will not be open to the public.

San Luis Obispo County / Santa Barbara - South County / Ventura County

Jessica Brest

Jessica Brest is a digital journalist and assignment editor at KEYT | KCOY | KKFX.

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