Rocket's first stage lands back at launch site

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In a first for the West Coast, a Falcon 9 rocket's first stage landed at Vandenberg Air Force Base Sunday evening, touching down at Landing Zone 4 just a few hundred yards from the launch pad where the mission began.

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

SpaceX has flown boosters back to land after launches from Florida but has yet to do so in California.

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Senator Susan Collins, a Maine Republican who also has yet to declare her stand on the nomination, was also critical of Trump. Corker, who is retiring in January after two terms in the Senate, said, "This is the worst it's been since I've been here".

SpaceX has previously launched a Falcon 9 from Vandenberg and landed it offshore in the Pacific Ocean aboard a droneship.

It will be SpaceX's first time trying to land one of its reusable rockets on the West Coast. Once again, the light is from a SpaceX launch. Combined, the rocket plumes are thus backlit by the sun at the same time as the sky to any grounded observer is nearing total darkness, akin to an aurora or bioluminescence in the deep sea. It, too, found success in landing at a new site north of Los Angeles. The satellite, Saocom-1A, separated from the launcher's upper stage about 13 minutes later.

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.

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SAOCOM-1A's radar measurements will track soil-moisture levels, thereby aiding forecasts of crop yields.

The Saocom-1A launch places SpaceX one mission away from tying its record of 18 launches in one year, set in 2017.

SpaceX is launching a satellite to space Sunday - and it's going to be noisy, Vandenberg Air Force Base in Santa Barbara County warns. CONAE will operate the satellite as part of the Argentine-Italian System of Satellites with the Italian Space Agency, coordinating observations with Italy's four Cosmo-Skymed X-band SAR satellites.

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