SpaceX rocket carrying Argentinian satellite takes off successfully

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket lifts off from a launch pad in Florida

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket lifts off from a launch pad in Florida

Landing and refurbishing first-stage boosters are key to SpaceX's plans to decrease launch costs. "We're all very excited".

The Air Force warned southern California area residents to expect unfamiliar sonic booms, meanwhile in Reno rays of light lit up the night sky.

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

For an encore, the rocket's first stage booster floated earthward and stuck its landing in the center of LZ-4, SpaceX's new landing pad at Vandenberg. The rocket plume is expected to be illuminated by the sun after the launch at 7:21 p.m. Sunday. SpaceX developed innovative titanium grid fins that were mounted on top of the rocket's stages that allowed it to exercise control over attitude and steering before finally, the booster landed on the ground tail-first on its four landing legs.

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk had tweeted the previous day: "This won't be subtle".

The satellite is the first of two for Argentina's space agency.

Since landing its first booster back on Earth in 2015, SpaceX has fine-tuned the inspection and refurbishment process. The rocket blasted off from Space Launch Complex 4E (SLC-4E) at the air force base at 7.21 pm local time.

Shortly afterward SpaceX showed a shot of Falcon 9, successfully landed on landing zone 4.

The Saocom-1A launch places SpaceX one mission away from tying its record of 18 launches in one year, set in 2017.

The SAOCOM 1 mission aims to study soil moisture using synthetic-aperture radar readings from two identical satellites in low Earth orbit, SAOCOM 1A and 1B. The mission's main goal is to collect soil moisture information. Both spacecraft will make similar observations from orbit, which will be integrated with measurements made by a network of Italian satellites.

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