SpaceX Successfully Launches SAOCOM 1A

In this handout image. the NASA  German Research Centre for Geosciences GRACE Follow On spacecraft launch onboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket Tuesday

What was that bright light in the California sky earlier tonight?

Following stage separation, the first stage of the rocket returned to land at SpaceX's Landing Zone 4 at Vandenberg Air Force Base.

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket's first stage has landed back at its California launch site after carrying an Argentinian satellite into space. SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk also warned of the boom from his Twitter account. The rocket plume is expected to be illuminated by the sun after the launch at 7:21 p.m. Sunday. The rocket being used in Sunday's mission was previously employed in a June launch. SpaceX's landing record now stands at 30 successful booster recoveries, 11 at Cape Canaveral, one at Vandenberg and 18 on droneships.

The second stage continued the flight to the satellite into a sun-synchronous orbit.

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Share this article: The SpaceX landing site at Vandenberg Air Force Base.

The Falcon 9 booster stage landed safely only 8 minutes after taking off, lighting up the sky in a dazzling flurry that captured the attention of onlookers on the ground. If SpaceX is planning to reuse B1048 a third time with SSO-A, that will demand a record-breaking turnaround for the booster, as few as 42 days between landing #2 and launch #3. The satellite, Saocom-1A, separated from the launcher's upper stage about 13 minutes later.

SAOCOM-1A's radar measurements will track soil-moisture levels, thereby aiding forecasts of crop yields. "Flying both constellations along the same orbit supports a rapid response by providing SAR information in emergency situations".

Its name is short for Satelite Argentino de Observacion Con Microondas.

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