When SpaceX launched it’s Falcon 9 rocket from Vandenberg Air Force Base in about 130 miles north of Los Angeles on the evening of Sunday, October 7th, it lit up the night sky and most of social media. People from hundreds of miles away took some fantastic photos and videos and posted them across all of the major platforms.
— ? Kim See ? (@echemkim) October 8, 2018
— Dave Bernhardt ? (@AstrobiologyGuy) October 8, 2018
SpaceX posted their official recap video as well, shown below.
Video recap of last night’s launch and landing pic.twitter.com/QRcyZQp612
— SpaceX (@SpaceX) October 8, 2018
Watching a rocket blast into space is not a common occurrence, but it is a beautiful one, this one was especially vivid due to the clear skies and timing relative to sunset. The launch plumes picked up the colors of sunset in the high atmosphere. After launching the satellite, SpaceX brought its first stage booster back to Earth. Landing safely just under eight minutes after liftoff.
This launch was not the first from Vandenberg for SpaceX, but it was the first time SpaceX landed the first-stage booster back at its launch site at Vandenberg Air Force Base. Residents on the Central Coast were warned of the launch and landing, told that they might see multiple engine burns by the first stage and hear one or more sonic booms as it returned.
The reusable Falcon 9 booster is an integral part of SpaceX’s plan for more efficient, and less expensive spaceflight. The goal is to reduce costs by reusing the boosters up to ten times with only minimal maintenance, and as many as 100 times with occasional refurbishment. Another benefit is a reduced turnaround between launches. The company expects to be able to refuel and relaunch boosters as little as 24 hours after landing.