A Falcon 9 rocket with a pre-flown first stage launched from California's Vandenberg Air Force Base tonight (Oct. 7) at 10:21 p.m. EDT (7:21 p.m. local time; 0221 GMT on October 8), successfully delivering Argentina's SAOCOM-1A Earth-observation satellite to orbit.
Watching a rocket blast into space is always quite the sight, but it was particularly mesmerising for people living on California's coast on Sunday.
On Sunday night-for the first time since July-SpaceX will attempt to launch a satellite into space, and then land part of the rocket back on its base.
"Local residents may see the first stage of the Falcon 9 returning to Vandenberg AFB, including multiple engine burns associated with the landing", an advisory from the base explained.
Landing and refurbishing first-stage boosters is key to SpaceX's plans to decrease launch costs.
In metro Phoenix, witnesses hit up social media with photos and videos of the peculiar streak of light and ghostlike images they saw.
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Air Force officials have issued a warning that residents in San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara and Ventura counties could potentially hear one or more sonic booms due to the launch.
The notoriously foggy launch site provided a rare clear day for the private aerospace company; the only visible clouds were those formed by gaseous liquid oxygen bleeding off from the vehicle itself, according to SpaceX engineer Tom Praderio.
It marked the first time the company has pulled off its now-signature rocket recovery method on land on the West Coast.
A lovely sky show following Falcon 9's launch. The second satellite will be SAOCOM 1B. The rocket will carry the Argentinian SOACOM 1A radar mapping satellite.
The Saocom-1A launch places SpaceX one mission away from tying its record of 18 launches in one year, set in 2017.
"SAOCOM" is short for "Satélite Argentino de Observación Con Microondas", which is Spanish for "Argentine Microwave-Observation Satellite".