The rocket's first - and reusable - stage landed successfully, marking the first West Coast landing for a booster.
A Falcon 9 rocket with a pre-flown first stage launched from California's Vandenberg Air Force Base tonight (Oct. 7) at 10:21 p.m. EDT (7:21 p.m. local time; 0221 GMT on October 8), successfully delivering Argentina's SAOCOM-1A Earth-observation satellite to orbit. Residents in Santa Barbara, Ventura and San Luis Obispo counties may hear sonic booms. Previous rocket landings had taken place on the East Coast. The booster, meanwhile, relit its engines to maneuver itself for the return trip to SpaceX's landing zone, not far from the launch pad.
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti tweeted out this picture of the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket's contrail, glowing in Southern California's skies after sunset. But tonight's event marked SpaceX's first-ever land touchdown on the West Coast.
Such sights and sounds are familiar to residents near the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida where SpaceX first landed a Falcon 9 booster in December 2015.
The launch is scheduled for shortly after 7:20 p.m., Vandenberg Air Force base officials said in an advisory.
The satellite is the first of two that will be used for emergency management and for land monitoring. The mission's main objective is to gather soil moisture information. CONAE will operate the satellite as part of the Argentine-Italian System of Satellites with the Italian Space Agency, coordinating observations with Italy's four Cosmo-Skymed X-band SAR satellites.
Its name is short for Satelite Argentino de Observacion Con Microondas.