On October 7, 2018, the fifth Argentine Earth observation satellite, SAOCOM 1A, belonging to the National Space Activities Commission (CONAE, in Spanish) was launched from the Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, USA, at 11.20 p.m. in Argentina. The event was broadcast live by Space X.
By this means of communication and thanks to the constant contact with INVAP's professionals staying at Vandenberg and at Córdoba Ground Station (ETC, in Spanish) in Argentina —which belongs to CONAE—, the successful launching of the SAOCOM 1A was confirmed. The Argentine Microwave Observation Satellite (SAOCOM in Spanish), on board the Falcon 9 rocket, passed successfully through each of the following stages:
- 13 minutes after the launch, the final separation of the Falcon 9 rocket took place.
- 1 minute later, the telemetry transmitters were switched on.
- 2 minutes later, the deployment of the solar panels started.
- Finally, 17 minutes after the launch, contact was established for the first time with a ground station located in Tahiti, where the first official telemetric measurements were received. Meanwhile, the solar panels were completely deployed and oriented to the sun.
- 12 hours after the launch, the corresponding maneuvers to deploy the SAR antenna began.
During the day, there were moments of intense emotion each time the mission successfully passed through the stages to put the satellite into orbit, with each step being confirmed by the telemetric data received from the SAOCOM 1A. Now, the only thing left is to wait the final tests and precise settings to be carried out in order to reach the exact position in orbit about 30 days after the launch.