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  • Space Launch Delta 30 Public Affairs

Team Vandenberg is scheduled to launch a National Reconnaissance Office mission (NROL-87) aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Vandenberg’s Space Launch Complex-4 Wednesday, Feb. 2, with a launch window targeting 12:18 p.m. Pacific Time.

Col. Rob Long, Space Launch Delta 30 commander, will be the launch decision authority.

This is the first NRO mission utilizing a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from the Western Range and the first Falcon 9 first stage landing back on Vandenberg Space Force Base SLC-4 pad since the Sentinel-6 launch and landing on Nov. 21, 2020.  

The mission’s first stage will return to land on Vandenberg. Upon re-entry of the vehicle, spectators and local residents from Santa Barbara, Ventura and San Luis Obispo counties can anticipate hearing 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. Sonic booms generate a sound similar to an explosion or a clap of thunder and the degree experienced will depend on weather conditions and other factors.

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

For questions regarding the launch window or Vandenberg SFB range operations, contact Space Launch Delta 30 Public Affairs at 805-606-3595 or

For queries regarding the SpaceX Falcon 9 mission, contact the SpaceX Communication Lead at