San Diegans photograph Sunday night's launch of Falcon 9 rocket at Vandenberg

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

After launch, the first-stage booster rocket will attempt to land at the Air Force base for the first time.

It will be SpaceX's first time trying to land one of its reusable rockets on the West Coast.

Some of the visuals came from the launch itself, which put an Argentinian Earth-observation satellite into orbit.

Elon Musk's rocket company launched a commercial satellite for Argentina on Sunday evening, marking SpaceX's 17th mission of 2018 in the type of steady success that so far has eluded his electric vehicle maker Tesla. LZ-4 is built on the former site of Space Launch Complex 4W, from which Titan rockets were previously launched.

But many were taken by surprise when the launch illuminated the sky, wondering what the otherworldly looking sight was. Prior landings have taken place on the East Coast.

According to SpaceX's press release, SAOCOM 1A is carrying an "active instrument consisting of a Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR), which works in the microwave range of the electromagnetic spectrum, particularly the L-band". SpaceX got in on the action themselves, sharing four photos of the dazzling light display.

Argentina's satellite will reportedly track natural disasters, crop yields and soil-moisture levels from 385 miles (620km) above the earth.

It was SpaceX's 17th flight so far this year, the company's 44th successful launch in a row and the 63rd overall for the Falcon 9 family of rockets, including the February debut of its three-core Falcon Heavy rocket. "Sonic boom warning", Musk wrote. The second satellite will be SAOCOM 1B.

That almost identical satellite will launch in "the near future", also on a Falcon 9, according to the mission narrator for the Saocom-1A webcast.



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