Rocket's first stage lands back at launch site

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The primary objective of Sunday's mission is to place the SAOCOM 1A satellite into orbit, but SpaceX will also try for the first time to bring the Falcon's first stage back to a landing at the Vandenberg Air Force Base launch site.

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.

We'd love to see any photos that you managed to get.

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

The primary objective of Sunday's mission was to place the SAOCOM 1A satellite into orbit, but SpaceX also successfully sent a first stage booster back to Vandenberg Air Force Base for the first time.

"Sonic boom warning. This won't be subtle" advised SpaceX founder Elon Musk on his Twitter feed on Sunday. It will mark the first time the innovative company has attempted a ground landing at Vandenberg.

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SpaceX has also been experimenting with a procedure to save additional millions of dollars by retrieving the Falcon 9's fairing, or nose cone. SpaceX's landing record now stands at 30 successful booster recoveries, 11 at Cape Canaveral, one at Vandenberg and 18 on droneships.

Viewers took to social media to speculate on the rocket, which was launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base, which is about 130 miles northwest of Los Angeles.

The rocket will carry the Argentinian SOACOM 1A radar mapping satellite. The mission will also help planners and emergency-management officials keep tabs on wildfires, floods and other disasters.

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Two minutes later, the second stage engine shut down as planned and two-and-a-half minutes after that, the SAOCOM 1A satellite was released into the planned polar orbit. Flying both satellite constellations along the same orbit supports a rapid response by providing radar readings in emergency situations.

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