QR.bizNewsOdd light from rocket launch visible in northern Nevada

Odd light from rocket launch visible in northern Nevada

The lift-off came at its scheduled time of 7:21 p.m. SpaceX then successfully handled the launching of an Argentine satellite after setting of a colorful pyrotechnic display as its rocket stages separated.

Watching a rocket blast into space is always quite the sight, but it was particularly mesmerising for people living on California's coast on Sunday. Residents in Santa Barbara, Ventura and San Luis Obispo counties may hear sonic booms. Previous rocket landings had taken place on the East Coast. About 8 minutes after liftoff, the rocket's first stage returned and landed at Vandenberg in a first for a California-based SpaceX launch.

The mission consisted of two identical satellites, SAOCOM 1A and 1B, each of which carries an L-Band SAR polarimetric instrument. Once again, the light is from a SpaceX launch. Land-based booster recovery requires more fuel to make it back to dry land.

The company made headlines last month when Musk held a press conference to announce the first "space tourist" - a Japanese billionaire who will be launched around the moon on the company's Big Falcon Rocket in 2023.

SpaceX has also been experimenting with a procedure to save additional millions of dollars by retrieving the Falcon 9's fairing, or nose cone.

SpaceX calls its California touchdown site Landing Zone 4, presumably because it's part of Vandenberg's Space Launch Complex 4 (SLC-4). The mission's main goal is to collect soil moisture information.

Landing and refurbishing first-stage boosters is key to SpaceX's plans to decrease launch costs.

That almost identical satellite will launch in "the near future", also on a Falcon 9, according to the mission narrator for the Saocom-1A webcast.

A graphic explaining sonic booms provided by Vandenberg Air Force Base ahead of a planned SpaceX launch on Oct. 7 2018

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