San Diegans photograph Sunday night's launch of Falcon 9 rocket at Vandenberg

‘This won’t be subtle’: SpaceX West Coast launch will create sonic boom

Vandenberg has warned people in Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo and Ventura counties that they might hear multiple sonic booms as the Falcon 9's first stage touches down at the base's Landing Zone 4.

The rocket will carry the Argentinian SOACOM 1A radar mapping satellite. The rocket plume is expected to be illuminated by the sun after the launch at 7:21 p.m. Sunday.

The California-based aerospace manufacturing company founded by Elon Musk launched its Falcon 9 rocket Sunday evening. Please let us know where you took the image.

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.

Known as plume interaction, the phenomena has been known to produce extraordinary visual effects and the launch of SAOCOM 1A was certainly no exception.

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Cheers went up from SpaceX's headquarters in Hawthorne, Calif., as webcams showed the first stage setting itself down on Landing Zone 4.

Argentina's domestic satellite manufacturer INVAP built the satellite with assistance from other agencies and domestic companies.

Later, SpaceX reported that the SAOCOM 1A radar satellite was placed in its proper pole-to-pole orbit.

SpaceX has a second CONAE satellite, Saocom-1B, that it is also tasked with launching. SpaceX has several other missions planned for this year, including the Falcon 9 launches of another 10 Iridium Next satellites, Es'hailSat's Es'hail-2, and the U.S. Air Force's first GPS-3 satellite. That almost identical satellite will launch in "the near future", also on a Falcon 9, according to the mission narrator for the Saocom-1A webcast.

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