SpaceX's latest rocket launch dazzles in California's night sky

SpaceX's latest rocket launch dazzles in California's night sky

After a trouble-free countdown, the two-stage rocket blasted off right on time at 7:21 p.m. PT from California's Vandenberg Air Force Base, leaving a post-sunset contrail glowing in the cloudless skies above.

During the landing attempt residents from Santa Barbara, Ventura and San Luis Obispo counties were warned that they may hear one or more sonic booms. Finally, dropping straight down toward Landing Zone 4, the rocket's four landing legs deployed, a single engine re-started and the booster settled to a picture-perfect touchdown in a cloud of smoke.

SpaceX has previously launched a Falcon 9 from Vandenberg and landed it offshore in the Pacific Ocean aboard a droneship.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti tweeted out this picture of the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket's contrail, glowing in Southern California's skies after sunset. Land-based booster recovery requires more fuel to make it back to dry land. The launch marked the 30th successful landing of a rocket booster, according to the company.

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On Twitter, SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk said it "wouldn't be subtle". The second satellite will be SAOCOM 1B. This facility, which SpaceX leases from the Air Force, used to feature two launch pads, known as SLC-4 East and SLC-4 West. SpaceX has converted the western one into a landing site and launches Falcon 9s from the eastern one.

Saocom-1A has an L-band payload created to study soil moisture for agriculture, disaster monitoring and scientific research.

SAOCOM 1A 3,000-kilogram satellite built by INVAP and this deployment was done in conjunction with Argentina's space agency with the objective of radar-imaging the earth. "Flying both constellations along the same orbit supports a rapid response by providing SAR information in emergency situations".

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