"Sonic boom warning. This won't be subtle", he wrote.
The primary goal of the mission was to place the SAOCOM 1A satellite into space, but SpaceX also wanted to expand its recovery of first-stage boosters to its launch site at Vandenberg Air Force Base, about 130 miles north-west of Los Angeles.
The notoriously foggy launch site provided a rare clear day for the private aerospace company; the only visible clouds were those formed by gaseous liquid oxygen bleeding off from the vehicle itself, according to SpaceX engineer Tom Praderio.
Local residents may see the first stage of the Falcon 9 returning to Vandenberg AFB, including multiple engine burns associated with the landing. Previous rocket landings had taken place on the East Coast. SpaceX has several other missions planned for this year, including the Falcon 9 launches of another 10 Iridium Next satellites, Es'hailSat's Es'hail-2, and the U.S. Air Force's first GPS-3 satellite. The SAOCOM 1 mission consists of a constellation of two identical satellites, SAOCOM 1A and 1B, each of which carries an L-Band SAR polarimetric instrument. A backup instantaneous launch opportunity is available on Thursday, October 11 at 7:21 p.m. PDT, or Friday, October 12 at 2:21 UTC.
The Falcon 9 can carry a payload of up to 5.5 metric tons.
Videos of the rocket's liftoff also drew attention. Including Sunday's successful landing, SpaceX has returned 30 total boosters back to land or to a floating sea platform.
Shortly afterward SpaceX confirmed that SAOCOM 1A had been successfully deployed in record time.