SpaceX launch and landing in California

Two streaks in this long exposure

Social media went into a frenzy in Southern California Sunday night after odd lights appeared to cross the evening sky.

Following stage separation, Falcon 9's first stage returned to land at SpaceX's Landing Zone back at the base.

The mission was also SpaceX's first to include a successful land recovery of the rocket's booster stage at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.

U.S. Air Force officials warned residents of multiple counties across the Golden State earlier this week that they might hear "one or more sonic booms" during the landing attempt.

"Sonic boom warning. This won't be subtle", SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk tweeted on Saturday ahead of the launch.

While the company says this is the 30th landing of a booster, this is the first land touchdown on the West Coast - the rest have happened on land in Florida and from platforms out at sea.

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After a trouble-free countdown, the two-stage rocket blasted off right on time at 7:21 p.m. PT from California's Vandenberg Air Force Base, leaving a post-sunset contrail glowing in the cloudless skies above.

By the way: SpaceX would like to land every booster on terra firma, to ease the reflight process. It's landing on terra firma after successfully obtaining a license for the pad this summer. Prior landings have taken place on the East Coast.

SpaceX has a second CONAE satellite, Saocom-1B, that it is also tasked with launching.

The mission launched Argentina's newest Earth-observing satellite, SAOCOMM-1A, which will be used to track natural disasters like floods, wildfires, and oil spills from a low-earth orbit of 385 miles (620km). The booster first saw action back in July, delivering 10 Iridium NEXT communications satellites into orbit.

SAOCOM 1, together with the Italian COSMO-SkyMed X-Band SAR constellation, make up the Italian-Argentine Satellite System for Emergency Management, or SIASGE.

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