- The launch clock remained set to 7:21 p.m. for SpaceX's launch of a satellite into orbit from Vandenberg Air Force Base, and planned landing of the rocket booster 100 miles west of Los Angeles.
The primary goal of Sunday's mission was to place the SAOCOM 1A satellite into orbit, but SpaceX also successfully sent a first stage booster back to the base for the first time.
"During the landing attempt residents from Santa Barbara, Ventura and San Luis Obispo counties may hear one or more sonic booms".
SpaceX said it will launch a satellite on a Falcon 9 rocket from Vandenberg. The company views ground-based rocket landings as better for expediting reuse, since drone ship landings require time to return to port.
Land landings aren't threatened by storms like ocean landings are, and they also allow SpaceX to refurbish the boosters faster, as they don't need to be recovered from sea.
Unspent fuel from the rocket was illuminated by rays from the setting sun, making the contrail visible across wide areas of California.
Known as plume interaction, the phenomena has been known to produce extraordinary visual effects and the launch of SAOCOM 1A was certainly no exception.
Saocom-1A has an L-band payload created to study soil moisture for agriculture, disaster monitoring and scientific research. SpaceX's landing record now stands at 30 successful booster recoveries, 11 at Cape Canaveral, one at Vandenberg and 18 on droneships.
A graphic explaining sonic booms, provided by Vandenberg Air Force Base ahead of a planned SpaceX launch on October 7, 2018. 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.