That wasn't a UFO. SpaceX launch lights up Southern California sky

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Overlooking the event is precisely what many California residents seem to have done, but when they spotted a bright light streaking across the evening sky, they were quick to jump on social media and ask just what the heck they were seeing. It was also the first West Coast landing of an orbital class rocket booster on land, SpaceX said.

The U.S. Air Force last week warned central California residents of an expected sonic boom (or two) as the first stage of the Falcon 9 returned to Vandenberg AFB. The company views ground-based rocket landings as better for expediting reuse, since drone ship landings require time to return to port. At the time, the launch was scheduled to occur from the Kwajalein Atoll in the Pacific Ocean where SpaceX launched the now retired Falcon 1.

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying an Argentinian satellite has blasted off from California.

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"Sonic boom warning. This won't be subtle", SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk tweeted on Saturday ahead of the launch. Land-based booster recovery requires more fuel to make it back to dry land.

Known as plume interaction, the phenomena has been known to produce extraordinary visual effects and the launch of SAOCOM 1A was certainly no exception.

If the mission goes according to plan, Sunday night will mark SpaceX's first landing of this sort on the West Coast. Prior landings have taken place on the East Coast. This mission has the main aim to gather soil moisture information.

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The satellite is the first of two for Argentina's space agency, Comision Nacional de Actividades Espaciales, and will work in conjunction with a constellation of Italian space agency satellites.

About 12 minutes later, the SAOCOM 1A satellite was deployed into a low-Earth orbit.

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