SpaceX rocket launch causes social media stir in Southern California

Amy Powell

The launch illuminated the sky, prompting a flood of social media messages from those caught off guard by the eerie display in California.

Residents across the Mother Lode had a clear view of the first ever SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launch from the West Coast.

Residents in Santa Barbara, Ventura and San Luis Obispo counties also may hear sonic booms.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti cleared up the confusion with stunning photos of the launch on Twitter. 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. If SpaceX is planning to reuse B1048 a third time with SSO-A, that will demand a record-breaking turnaround for the booster, as few as 42 days between landing #2 and launch #3.

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"Nope, definitely not aliens, "Garcetti wrote on Twitter as he posted an wonderful photo".

Part of a two-satellite system operated by Argentina's National Commission on Space Activities (CONAE), SAOCOM 1A uses synthetic aperture radar (SAR) to monitor Earth.

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

SpaceX has been working with the US government and on its own private ventures, which eventually could include private space travel, according to Musk, who also is the founder and CEO of the electric auto company Tesla.

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SpaceX had previously flown first-stage rockets back to land after Florida launches but had not done so on the West Coast.

It will be followed by SAOCOM 1B in 2019.

As the biggest antenna in space for a civil mission, its main goal is to gather soil moisture information.

Its name is short for Satelite Argentino de Observacion Con Microondas.

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