A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket’s first stage landed back at its Vandenberg Air Force Base launch site after carrying an Argentinian satellite into space.
The primary purpose of Sunday’s mission was to place the SAOCOM 1A satellite into orbit, but SpaceX also successfully sent a first stage booster back to Vandenberg for the first time.
SpaceX has previously landed first stage rockets on land after Florida launches but had not done so on the West Coast.
And thousands of Californians noticed. Photos and videos flooded social media as the rocket turned the night sky into a beautiful light show. People from as far south as Mexico reported taking in the spectical.
The satellite is the first of two for Argentina’s space agency. It carries a high-resolution instrument called a synthetic aperature radar that will be used for emergency management and land monitoring.