The Falcon 9, now on base at California's SpaceX launch pad will take off on Sunday night at 7:21 p.m. PT, with a mission to launch an Argentinean Earth-observing satellite into orbit, and then touch back down in a new landing zone located just a quarter mile away from takeoff, Wired reported. There's no specified launch window, and that could force SpaceX to move liftoff to October 11th if it has to scrub the launch on the 7th.
The twilight launch created a spectacular sight in the night sky for spectators in Southern California, who took to Twitter to share their unbelievable photos.
SpaceX has flown boosters back to land after launches from Florida but has yet to do so in California.
Minutes after launch, the rocket's second stage separated from the first-stage booster and continued rising spaceward.
The primary goal of Sunday's mission was to place the SAOCOM 1A satellite into orbit, but SpaceX also successfully sent a first stage booster back to Vandenberg Air Force Base for the first time. The rocket plume is expected to be illuminated by the sun after the launch at 7:21 p.m. Sunday.
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State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert told reporters Tuesday that the secretary expects to meet with Kim in Pyongyang. The United States argues the sanctions should remain in place until North Korea has fully and verifiably denuclearized.
"Sonic boom warning. This won't be subtle" advised SpaceX founder Elon Musk on his Twitter feed on Sunday. SpaceX's landing record now stands at 30 successful booster recoveries, 11 at Cape Canaveral, one at Vandenberg and 18 on droneships.
The upgraded Block 5 Falcon 9 is part of SpaceX's plan for vastly cheaper and more efficient spaceflight. It will mark the first time the innovative company has attempted a ground landing at Vandenberg.
The satellite is the first of two for Argentina's space agency.
SpaceX is launching a satellite to space Sunday - and it's going to be noisy, Vandenberg Air Force Base in Santa Barbara County warns. It carries a high-resolution instrument called a synthetic aperature radar that will be used for emergency management and land monitoring. Its name is short for Satelite Argentino de Observacion Con Microondas.