Space and astronomy news and information for the American Southwest. Coverage includes Vandenberg AFB rocket and missile launches.

Tuesday Vandenberg Launch Visibility

by Brian Webb

2021 November 20

A Falcon 9 rocket carrying a deep space probe is scheduled for launch late this Tuesday evening (November 23) from Vandenberg SFB.

The rocket is slated to lift off from south base at 22:20 PST. After climbing vertically for several seconds, the Falcon will begin a gradual turn and head south. The rocket will then roughly parallel the West Coast as it climbs into orbit. If the launch is successful, the Falcon 9 will place NASA's DART spacecraft into a temporary orbit before sending it on a 10-month journey to impact the asteroid Dimorphos.

Although launch occurs long after sunset, viewing may be hampered by a bright moon in the eastern sky. Weather permitting, the bright orange flame from the rocket's first stage could initially be visible to the unaided eye as far away as Big Sur, Bakersfield, and Palos Verdes, Calif. As the rocket gains altitude, it should become visible over a wider area and observers in dark locations may see a tenuous exhaust plume from the first and second stage engines.

People in very quiet locations in coastal Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties and the western Santa Monica mountains may hear a distant, muffled rumble from the launch sometime between T+4 and T+12 minutes.

For the best view of the launch, find a dark location with an unobstructed horizon towards the launch site and rocket's flight path. The best locations may be between Carpinteria and Ventura, between Point Mugu and Malibu, the western Santa Monica Mountains, and the western Palos Verdes Peninsula.

Regardless of where you plan to view the launch, allow enough time to get there well before liftoff. Be careful when driving, especially on unfamiliar roads. After you arrive, be aware of your surroundings and possible hazards.

For launch status and countdown information, go to:

The Internet countdown feed may be delayed by several seconds. Rather than relying on the feed for launch cueing, use a GPS receiver or another source for the exact time. You can also set your watch to the exact time using the National Institute of Standards and Technology (

For information on viewing Vandenberg rocket and missile launches, go to:

Home | Site Map | Search | About | Contact

Copyright © 2021, Brian Webb. All rights reserved.