In Photos: SpaceX's Fantastic Nighttime Launch of SAOCOM-1 & Rocket Landing!

A Dazzling Liftoff

SpaceX

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launched the SAOCOM-1A radar-imaging satellite on Oct. 7, 2018, creating a spectacular plume in the California sky. The rocket's first stage also pulled off a historic landing shortly thereafter. See photos here.

What a View

Joaquin Baldwin via Twitter and Instagram

Photographer Joaquin Baldwin captured this spectacular image of SpaceX's successful Falcon 9 rocket launch and landing at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California on Oct. 7, 2018. The streak at top right is the Falcon 9 first stage returning to Earth.

Simply Amazing

Courtesy of Sheila Hoffos

Two stages of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket separate inside a glowing plume shortly after the rocket lifted off from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California late Sunday night (Oct. 7). After separation, the rocket's second stage continued to haul the SAOCOM-1A satellite into orbit while the first stage returned to Earth for a historic first landing on the U.S. West Coast. Photographer Sheila Hoffos captured this view of the launch from Simi Valley, California, roughly 120 miles (190 kilometers) southeast of Vandenberg.

A Gorgeous New Nebula

Office of the Mayor/Eric Garcetti

The plume generated by the Falcon 9 launch from California’s Vandenberg Air Force Base on Oct. 7, 2018, looked like something NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope might spy in the vast distances between the stars.

Giant Cloud Over LA

Office of the Mayor/Eric Garcetti

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti captured this shot of the Falcon 9 plume over the lights of LA on Oct. 7, 2018.

Two Rocket Stages

Office of the Mayor/Eric Garcetti

The Falcon 9’s first and second stages (right and left, respectively) are clearly visible in this photo by Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti.

A Wi-Fi Symbol in the Sky

Office of the Mayor/Eric Garcetti

The pulses fired by the Falcon 9 first stage’s small reaction-control thrusters as the booster headed back to Earth carved a Wi-Fi symbol into the sky, as captured in this shot by Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti.

Rainbow of Light

Elon Musk/SpaceX

This SpaceX image shows the successful launch (and landing) of the company's Falcon 9 rocket from California's Vandenberg Air Force Base to orbit Argentina's SAOCOM-1A Earth-observation satellite. It was SpaceX's first mission to land a Falcon 9 booster on a pad at Vandenberg.

The Full Flight

SpaceX

This photo captures all of the SpaceX action on Oct. 7, 2018: A Falcon 9 rocket launching the SAOCOM-1A satellite from California’s Vandenberg Air Force Station; the plume created by the liftoff; and the Falcon 9’s first stage coming back to land at Vandenberg (short orange arc at right).

Dazzling Plume

Doug Macmillan

Skywatcher Doug Macmillan captured this shot of the plume created by the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket that launched Argentina’s SAOCOM-1A radar-imaging satellite from California’s Vandenberg Air Force Station on Oct. 7, 2018. Macmillan was in Del Cerro Park in the Palos Verdes Peninsula, which is near Los Angeles.

That's No Nebula

SpaceX

The plume created by the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket that launched Argentina’s SAOCOM-1A satellite from California’s Vandenberg Air Force Station on Oct. 7, 2018. The two-stage rocket had separated by this point, and both stages are visible in this shot.

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