First SpaceX West Coast rocket landing lights up California sky

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The primary goal of the mission was to place the SAOCOM 1A satellite into orbit, but SpaceX also wanted to expand its recovery of first stages to its launch site at Vandenberg Air Force Base, about 130 miles northwest of Los Angeles. Once again, the light is from a SpaceX launch.

Below are some photos we were sent by viewers Sunday night.

SpaceX had previously flown first-stage rockets back to land after Florida launches but had not done so on the West Coast. After launch, the first-stage booster rocket will attempt to land at the Air Force base for the first time.

The mission got underway at 7:21:28 p.m. PDT (GMT-7; 10:21 p.m. EDT), a bit less than an hour after sunset, when the booster's nine Merlin 1D engines ignited, throttled up to full thrust and quickly pushed the 229-foot-tall rocket away from Launch Complex 4-East. It will mark the first time the innovative company has attempted a ground landing at Vandenberg.

As The Verge noted, SpaceX hasn't been making sea landings by choice. SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk warned that the booms "won't be subtle".

The upgraded Block 5 Falcon 9 is part of SpaceX's plan for vastly cheaper and more efficient spaceflight.

A look at Landing Zone 4, SpaceX's newest rocket landing site, at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. The mission will also help planners and emergency-management officials keep tabs on wildfires, floods and other disasters.

Argentina's National Commission on Space Activities, or CONAE, will operate the two SAOCOM satellites in cooperation with the Italian Space Agency's COSMO-SkyMed radar satellites. Its name is short for Satelite Argentino de Observacion Con Microondas.

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