Weird light in Arizona sky is from SpaceX launch

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket lifts off from a launch pad in Florida

The Air Force is warning residents on California's central coast to be prepared for unusual sights and sounds this weekend as SpaceX attempts its first return of a rocket to launch site on the West Coast.

In the launch, scheduled for shortly after 7:20 p.m., a Falcon 9 rocket will carry the satellite SAOCOM 1A to space. SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk also warned of the boom from his Twitter account.

But as always, the landing was a secondary objective. The instantaneous launch opportunity is on Sunday, October 7 at 7:21 p.m. PDT, or Monday, October 8 at 2:21 UTC, and the satellite will be deployed about 12 minutes after launch.

SAOCOM 1A 3,000-kilogram satellite built by INVAP and this deployment was done in conjunction with Argentina's space agency with the objective of radar-imaging the earth.

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The SAOCOM 1 mission aims to study soil moisture using synthetic-aperture radar readings from two identical satellites in low Earth orbit, SAOCOM 1A and 1B.

To put the satellite into the intended polar orbit, the Falcon 9 quickly arced away to the south over the Pacific Ocean, smoothly accelerating as it consumed its liquid oxygen and kerosene propellants and lost weight. Nearing the top of the discernible atmosphere, the booster fired the engines again to slow down for re-entry.

Known as plume interaction, the phenomena has been known to produce extraordinary visual effects and the launch of SAOCOM 1A was certainly no exception. There's no specified launch window, and that could force SpaceX to move liftoff to October 11th if it has to scrub the launch on the 7th.

As The Verge noted, SpaceX hasn't been making sea landings by choice.

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