SpaceX rocket launch captivates Californians

SpaceX rocket launch captivates Californians

After it separated from the second stage, the first stage of the Falcon 9 rocket arrested its forward movement, and began falling back toward Earth.

The event marked the company's first West Coast landing on dry land.

"This is great news for everyone here at SpaceX", Tom Praderio, a SpaceX firmware engineer, said during live launch commentary tonight. For SpaceX this is the twelfth successful landing of the first stage to earth and thirtieth in the overall standings together with the marine landings on an Autonomous platform.

Californians from Los Angeles to Sacramento - more than 547 kilometres from the launch site - also posted their confusion.

SpaceX used the same first stage for the Saocom-1A mission that launched 10 satellites for Iridium about 10-and-a-half weeks ago, also from Vandenberg.

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Air Force officials issued a warning that residents in San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara and Ventura counties could potentially hear one or more sonic booms due to the flight.

Fortunately, Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti took to Twitter to assuage any concerns of paranormal activity.

"Vandenberg, LZ-4, the Falcon has landed", a member of SpaceX's launch team reported.

The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launch on Sunday night carrying an Argentine satellite sparked some confusion on social media about a bright light traveling across the Southern California sky. 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's main goal is to collect soil moisture information.

The launch comes just days after Elon Musk was fined $20million and told he must resign as chairman of Tesla after reaching a settlement on fraud charges.

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