SpaceX Pulls Off First West Coast Rocket Landing

First-stage booster made it back to launch site
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Oct 8, 2018 2:36 AM CDT
SpaceX Pulls Off First West Coast Rocket Landing
In this image made from video provided by SpaceX, a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying an Argentinian satellite blasts off from the Vandenberg Air Force Base launch site.   (SpaceX via AP)

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carried an Argentine Earth-observation satellite into space Sunday and for the first time landed a first-stage booster back at its California launch site. The primary purpose of the mission was to place the SAOCOM 1A satellite into orbit, but SpaceX also wanted to expand its recovery of first stages to its launch site at Vandenberg Air Force Base, 130 miles northwest of Los Angeles. SpaceX had previously flown first-stage rockets back to land after Florida launches but had not done so on the West Coast. The Air Force last week advised residents on the central California coast they might see multiple engine burns by the first stage and hear one or more sonic booms as it returned.

SpaceX also has successfully landed Falcon 9 first stages on so-called drone ships off the coasts of Florida and California, all as part of its effort to decrease the cost of space launches by reusing rockets rather than allowing them to fall into the ocean. The satellite is the first of two for Argentina's space agency, Comision Nacional de Actividades Espaciales, and will work in conjunction with a constellation of Italian space agency satellites, the AP reports. Its name is short for Satelite Argentino de Observacion Con Microondas. (Elon Musk recently named SpaceX's first passenger for a loop around the moon.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.