SpaceX Falcon 9 in flight
A view of the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket in flight from Orange County. Courtesy OnScene.TV

SpaceX successfully launched a Falcon 9 rocket from Vandenberg Air Force Base Sunday, creating an other-worldly light show over much of Southern California.

The rocket was carrying an Argentine Earth-observing satellite, known as SAOCOM-1A, which was successfully placed into orbit.

After the 7:21 p.m. launch, the first stage successfully landed at Vandenberg, marking the company’s 30th successful landing. It was also the first ground landing on the West Coast; previous landings were on a barge in the Pacific Ocean.

The rocket used was a new Block 5 version of the the Falcon 9 that was previously flown in June. Los Angeles-based SpaceX said the new version can fly as many as 10 missions, helping reduce the cost of space exploration.

The spectacle over Southern California rivaled a SpaceX launch last December that startled many observers.

Sunday’s mission could be seen by many from first-stage flight through second-stage ignition as the vehicle headed toward orbit.

Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.