'Couldn't believe my eyes': social media lights up with SpaceX satellite launch

In this handout image. the NASA  German Research Centre for Geosciences GRACE Follow On spacecraft launch onboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket Tuesday

"We're all about creating an experience that we can remember moving forward, and create memories as a family, and this is definitely something that's gonna be ingrained forever", said mother Frankie Podrat.

The private spaceflight company has launched multiple satellites and shuttled supplies and science gear to the International Space Station, with its Falcon 9 being the first spacecraft from a private company to reach the station in 2012.

Saocom-1A is a 3,000-kilogram synthetic aperture radar (SAR) satellite for the Argentine space agency CONAE that was contracted in 2009 for a launch in 2012. While many people's first instinct was to think aliens were en route, it was, in fact, a SpaceX rocket launch.

Following the launch, the Falcon 9 rocket successfully landed on SpaceX's new Landing Zone 4 (LZ-4) landing pad at the Vandenberg Air Force Base.

It marked the first time the company has pulled off its now-signature rocket recovery method on land on the West Coast. Between then and now, the company chalked up 10 more successful landings at the Air Force Station and another 18 on off-shore droneships.

About three minutes after launch, the rocket detached from the "second stage", including the satellite, stopped its forward momentum, and began to fall back toward the earth, according to SpaceX.

The first stage, meanwhile, flipped around and re-started three of its nine engines to reverse course and head back toward Vandenberg. The satellite is one of a planned six-satellite array.

Shortly afterward SpaceX confirmed that SAOCOM 1A had been successfully deployed in record time.

SpaceX inaugurated its West Coast rocket-landing pad in style.



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