SpaceX satellite launch lights up night sky, social media

SpaceX satellite launch lights up night sky, social media

SpaceX satellite launch lights up night sky, social media

Residents across California were dumbfounded and awe-struck Sunday night as a odd object ignited the night sky.

Edhat readers share their photos of the Space X Launch that lit up local skies on Sunday evening.

But, no need to fear.

Thanks to the introduction of a brand new rocket landing pad (LZ-4) less than half a kilometer (~0.3 miles) from SpaceX's SLC-4 Vandenberg launch complex, members of the media attending the launch were given the first opportunity ever to capture a Falcon booster recovery with remote cameras.

Officially, the rocket company owned by Elon Musk was launching its Falcon 9 rocket into space to deliver SAOCOM 1A, an Argentine satellite, into orbit.

The primary objective of the SpaceX 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. Residents in Santa Barbara, Ventura and San Luis Obispo counties may hear sonic booms.

But Sunday's flight marked the first time SpaceX attempted a landing at Vandenberg, a milestone made possible by extensive environmental and safety studies that concluded the noise and possible aftermath of a failure would not cause any significant damage or harm to area wildlife.

First-stage boosters that landed on SpaceX's floating platform in the Pacific Ocean returned to the Port of Los Angeles and were then trucked to Hawthorne for refurbishment.

The SAOCOM 1 mission aims to study soil moisture using synthetic-aperture radar readings from two identical satellites in low Earth orbit, SAOCOM 1A and 1B. It was the 30th successful landing for SpaceX out of 62 total launches and the 12th on land. The rocket's reusable first stage landed back at the base without a problem in less than 10 minutes, a first.

The satellite is the first of two for Argentina's space agency.

Landing and refurbishing first-stage boosters is key to SpaceX's plans to decrease launch costs. Its acronym is short for Satelite Argentino de Observacion Con Microondas.

The SAOCOM launch marks SpaceX's 17th launch of the year.

Related news