Strange Light in Sky Is A Rocket Launch

Amy Powell

Elon Musk's SpaceX company launched a satellite into space Sunday night, causing the California sky to light up and excite social media.

Shortly afterward SpaceX confirmed that SAOCOM 1A had been successfully deployed in record time.

Sunday, October 7, SpaceX planted the first stage of Falcon 9 on the coast of California.

A spokesperson for the base says the rocket was launched at 7:21 p.m., and residents may see the first stage of the Falcon 9 returning to Vandenberg AFB, including multiple engine burns associated with the landing.

Shortly afterward SpaceX showed a shot of Falcon 9, successfully landed on landing zone 4.

A burst of light could be seen over the Californian city for a number of minutes as the spacecraft, an Argentinian Earth-observation satellite, detached from its booster in the night sky.

SpaceX launching a Falcon 9 rocket carrying the SAOCOM 1A satellite.

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Known as "twilight phenomena", it occurs when launches take place on clear days shortly after sunset and are visible brightly from Los Angeles across the trajectory of the rocket.

Proving out a successful booster retrieval system at the former site of Vandenberg's Space Launch Complex 4W marks another step in SpaceX's drive to increase rocket reusability and as a result drive down the cost of access to space. SpaceX's landing record now stands at 30 successful booster recoveries, 11 at Cape Canaveral, one at Vandenberg and 18 on droneships.

Argentina's satellite will reportedly track natural disasters, crop yields and soil-moisture levels from 385 miles (620km) above the earth.

The launch also looked just as stunning in video.

The second stage continued the flight to the satellite into a sun-synchronous orbit.

"SAOCOM" is short for "Satélite Argentino de Observación Con Microondas", which is Spanish for "Argentine Microwave-Observation Satellite".

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