First SpaceX West Coast rocket landing lights up California sky

Amy Powell

Amy Powell @abc7amy

In a move that could cut its costs to launch space hardware even further, SpaceX landed a first-stage booster on a pad at California's Vandenberg Air Force Base on Sunday night.

The historic part of the mission will occur soon after the launch when SpaceX attempts to land the first stage of the Falcon 9 rocket at Vandenberg.

For an encore, the rocket's first stage booster floated earthward and stuck its landing in the center of LZ-4, SpaceX's new landing pad at Vandenberg. Stream launch was conducted on YouTube channel SpaceX, reports the online edition of the with reference to the Correspondent.

About three minutes after launch, the rocket detached from the "second stage", including the satellite, stopped its forward momentum, and began to fall back toward the earth, according to SpaceX.

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk had tweeted the previous day: "This won't be subtle".

The rocket's trail left a haze of light in the night sky, culminating in a spectacular show which lasted for a few minutes.

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In California launched a rocket Falcon 9 SpaceX with the Argentine satellite SAOCOM-1A.

Californians from Los Angeles to Sacramento - about 435km from the launch site - also posted their confusion. Land-based booster recovery requires more fuel to make it back to dry land.

The SAOCOM 1A carries a high-resolution instrument called a synthetic aperture radar, which will be used to try to monitor and predict the severity of natural disasters.

The mission's main objective is to gather soil moisture information. Its acronym is short for Satelite Argentino de Observacion Con Microondas.

The satellite's twin, SAOCOM-1B, will also launch on a Falcon 9; its liftoff is targeted for next year.

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