SpaceX launch lights up night sky in Southern California

Amy Powell

Amy Powell

SpaceX had previously flown first-stage rockets back to land after Florida launches but had not done so on the West Coast. The Block 5 is considered more durable than previous Falcon 9 varieties, capable of flying as many as 10 missions. Eastern during an instantaneous launch window.

About 12 minutes later, the SAOCOM 1A satellite was deployed into a low-Earth orbit. The California-based aerospace manufacturing company founded by Elon Musk launched its Falcon 9 rocket Sunday evening.

The reusable booster assembly makes the use of rockets more affordable for a wide range of customers across the globe.

The mission consisted of two identical satellites, SAOCOM 1A and 1B, each of which carries an L-Band SAR polarimetric instrument. By that year the launch had slipped to 2014, and would continue to slip further as Falcon 9 explosions in 2015 and 2016 compounded earlier delays.

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Shortly afterward SpaceX showed a shot of Falcon 9, successfully landed on landing zone 4. While many people's first instinct was to think aliens were en route, it was, in fact, a SpaceX rocket launch.

Argentina's domestic satellite manufacturer INVAP built the satellite with assistance from other agencies and domestic companies. NASA and the space agencies of Europe, Italy and Canada also provided technical support.

As the biggest antenna in space for a civil mission, its main objective is to gather soil moisture information.

Those who knew they were watching a satellite launch posted videos they captured of the stunning spectacle, including one taken over the downtown Los Angeles skyline and a timelapse from Kern County.

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