SpaceX has successfully made their first ground-landing of a Falcon 9 booster on the West Coast. Following the first stage separation, the booster performed a pinpoint landing on a pad just meters from where it had launched minutes earlier.
The Falcon 9 lifted off from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California with Argentina’s SAOCOM 1A radar observation satellite at 02:21 UTC this morning (22:21 EST on October 7). Approximately 8 minutes after liftoff, the rocket’s first stage touched down safely. It is the first time a Falcon 9 first stage has been recovered from Vandenberg and the 30th time SpaceX has successfully recovered a first stage booster.
In addition to being the first to land on the West Coast, the booster was also another flight-proven success as SpaceX continue to lead the industry in reusability. Today’s Block 5 Falcon 9 booster was first used to launch 10 Iridium NEXT satellites less than three months ago. Following its latest success, the booster will be refurbished ready to again launch a new payload into orbit. The new Block 5 boosters are designed to be launched more than 10 times each.