First SpaceX West Coast rocket landing lights up California sky

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The Union-Tribune was soon flooded with photos that came in from such places as San Diego International Airport, Point Loma Nazarene University, Otay Ranch in Chula Vista, the coastal area of Encinitas, and from people in Tijuana. Please let us know where you took the image.

That mission was a success, and SpaceX also landed the first stage of the Falcon 9 at a new site (Landing Zone 4) near its Vandenberg launchpad in a historic first.

If the mission goes according to plan, Sunday night will mark SpaceX's first landing of this sort on the West Coast. During previous West Coast launches, it has sent out a ship equipped with a giant net to catch parafoil-equipped components of the nosecone as the descend toward the ocean.

Earlier, the launch had been planned for Saturday, but SpaceX said Wednesday it was rescheduling the launch and would use the extra time to complete pre-flight checks.

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Two minutes and 20 seconds after liftoff, now well out of the dense lower atmosphere, the Merlin engines shut down, the first stage was jettisoned and a single engine powering the Falcon 9's second stage ignited for a planned 10-minute burn. A sonic boom sounds like an explosion or thunder and is the result of shock waves from a vehicle traveling faster than sound.

The loudness of the boom will depend on the weather and other conditions, officials added.

Argentina's National Commission on Space Activities, or CONAE, will operate the two SAOCOM satellites in cooperation with the Italian Space Agency's COSMO-SkyMed radar satellites.

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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