Elon Musk’s SpaceX pulled off the first West Coast launch and landing of its reusable Falcon 9 rocket on Sunday night, lighting up the skies of California.
The rocket, carrying an Argentinian satellite, blasted off from Vandenberg Air Force Base, near Santa Barbara, around 7:20 p.m. Sunday, and landed on a concrete pad at the base about 15 minutes later. All previous Falcon 9 launches had been from Cape Canaveral, Fla.
Musk had tweeted a warning Saturday to residents of Southern and Central California: “Sonic boom warning. This won’t be subtle.”
The launch resulted in a technicolor swirl of light that was seen as far north as San Francisco. Here’s how it looked from ground level:
— Danny Sullivan (@dannysullivan)
— Billy Jensen (@Billyjensen)
A SpaceX launch of a Falcon 9 rocket from Vandenberg Air Force Base lights up the sky 250 miles north in a view from Mount Hamilton. (Karl Mondon/Bay Area News Group) pic.twitter.com/Jjt90V8oDD
— Karl Mondon (@karlmondon)
— Kristen Walbolt (@kWalbolt)
#SpaceX’s #Falcon9 rocket launches #SAOCOM1A from Vandenberg Air Force Base this evening. Seen is the rocket’s second stage heading toward orbit. Occurring shortly after sunset, portions of the rocket's flight were beautifully illuminated by the already-set sun. pic.twitter.com/RAyKsE6z0b
— John Kraus (@johnkrausphotos)
— Veronica Miracle (@ABC7Veronica)
Nope, definitely not aliens.
What you’re looking at is the first launch and landing of the @SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket on the West Coast. The rocket took off from Vandenberg Air Force Base at 7:21 p.m. and landed safely back on Earth.