On Sunday night-for the first time since July-SpaceX will attempt to launch a satellite into space, and then land part of the rocket back on its base.
After launching a satellite from California's Vandenberg Air Force Base on Sunday evening with the Falcon 9 rocket, the spaceflight company brought its first stage booster back to Earth just under eight minutes after liftoff.
Shortly afterward SpaceX showed a shot of Falcon 9, successfully landed on landing zone 4.
Nearby residents in Santa Barbara, Ventura and San Luis Obispo counties were warned they "may hear one or more sonic booms" from the landing.
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.
The Air Force said before the 7:22 p.m. launch that it expected that people as far away as Sacramento and Southern California would see the rocket's contrail.
SAOCOM 1A 3,000-kilogram satellite built by INVAP and this deployment was done in conjunction with Argentina's space agency with the goal of radar-imaging the earth. Finally, dropping straight down toward Landing Zone 4, the rocket's four landing legs deployed, a single engine re-started and the booster settled to a picture-perfect touchdown in a cloud of smoke.
SAOCOM 1B is planned to launch next year. SpaceX's landing record now stands at 30 successful booster recoveries, 11 at Cape Canaveral, one at Vandenberg and 18 on droneships. Once again, the light is from a SpaceX launch.