‘Aliens are real’: SpaceX West Coast launch freaks Californians out (PHOTOS, VIDEOS)

‘Aliens are real’: SpaceX West Coast launch freaks Californians out (PHOTOS, VIDEOS)

‘Aliens are real’: SpaceX West Coast launch freaks Californians out (PHOTOS, VIDEOS)

SpaceX has also been experimenting with a procedure to save additional millions of dollars by retrieving the Falcon 9's fairing, or nose cone.

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. It, too, found success in landing at a new site north of Los Angeles. About half an hour later, the first stage booster was sent back to the base, the first time the company has landed this type of rocket on the West Coast.

The light as viewed from Four Corners in the Briceland area.

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The primary objective of the mission was to place the SAOCOM 1A satellite into orbit, but SpaceX also wanted to expand its recovery of first stages to its launch site at Vandenberg Air Force Base, about 130 miles northwest of Los Angeles.

SpaceX also has successfully landed Falcon 9 first stages on so-called drone ships off the coasts of Florida and California, all as part of its effort to decrease the cost of space launches by reusing rockets rather than allowing them to fall into the ocean.

Argentina's domestic satellite manufacturer INVAP built the satellite with assistance from other agencies and domestic companies.

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Saocom-1A has an L-band payload created to study soil moisture for agriculture, disaster monitoring and scientific research. SpaceX's landing record now stands at 30 successful booster recoveries, 11 at Cape Canaveral, one at Vandenberg and 18 on droneships.

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.

"SAOCOM-1, together with the Italian COSMO-SkyMed X-Band SAR constellation, comprise the Italian-Argentine Satellite System for Emergency Management (SIASGE), a partnership between CONAE and the Italian Space Agency (ASI)", SpaceX officials wrote in a mission description.

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Plenty of eyewitnesses took to Twitter and Facebook to post videos showing the rocket speeding into space, and the incredibly bright light it beamed back against the clouds of smoke definitely gave them reason to be concerned.

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