On the 7th October 2018, Space X Falcon 9 Rocket successfully launched, delivering Argentina's SAOCOM-1A Earth-observation satellite to orbit before landing back on its landing pad in West Coast California.
The Falcon 9 rocket did this all in the space of around 8 minutes, "This is great news for everyone here at SpaceX," Tom Praderio, a SpaceX firmware engineer, said during live launch commentary tonight. "We're all very excited."
The launch was conducted at twilight which created a spectacular sight for residents in west California, some took to social media to share their pictures and videos of the launch.
Space.com says in an interview "SpaceX had already pulled off more than two dozen first-stage landings during orbital liftoffs, with the boosters coming down on robotic "drone ships" stationed in the Atlantic and Pacific oceans and on terra firma at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. But tonight's event marked SpaceX's first-ever land touchdown on the West Coast."
Founder and CEO of SpaceX, Elon Musk, has been attempting to develop fully and rapidly reuse rockets and spacecraft which could cut huge costs of spaceflight and enable space exploration to grow at a faster rate. At the moment Falcon 9 is only able to launch relatively light payloads to not-too-distant orbits because of craft size and fuel.
"The 3,500-lb. (1,600 kilograms) SAOCOM-1A satellite was developed by Argentina's national space agency, which is known by its Spanish acronym CONAE. The spacecraft will set up shop 385 miles (620 kilometers) above Earth and scrutinize the planet using a Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) instrument, SAOCOM-1A's radar measurements will track soil-moisture levels, thereby aiding forecasts of crop yields. The mission will also help planners and emergency-management officials keep tabs on wildfires, floods and other disasters." says space.com
"SAOCOM" is short for "Satélite Argentino de Observación Con Microondas," which is Spanish for "Argentine Microwave-Observation Satellite."