San Francisco: Elon Musk-founded private spaceflight company SpaceX on Sunday successfully landed the first stage of its Falcon 9 rocket on land after delivering an Argentinian earth-observation satellite from the Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.
The "SAOCOM 1A" satellite was deployed about 12 minutes after lift-off, SpaceX said.
Liftoff and landing pic.twitter.com/IXN0NQIC1L
— SpaceX (@SpaceX) October 8, 2018
Following stage separation, Falcon 9`s first stage returned to land at SpaceX`s Landing Zone 4 at Vandenberg Air Force Base, marking the 30th successful landing of a rocket booster for the company.
But this was SpaceX`s first land landing on the West Coast. Its previous West Coast landings had all taken place on the company`s drone ships in the Pacific Ocean.
Operated by Argentina`s Space Agency, the National Commission on Space Activities (CONAE), the satellite carries an active instrument consisting of a Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR), which works in the microwave range of the electromagnetic spectrum, particularly the L-band.
The mission`s main purpose is to gather soil moisture information.