SpaceX has flown boosters back to land after launches from Florida but has yet to do so in California.
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket's first stage has landed back at its California launch site after carrying an Argentinian satellite into space.
Earlier, the launch had been planned for Saturday, but SpaceX said Wednesday it was rescheduling the launch and would use the extra time to complete pre-flight checks.
In the launch, scheduled for shortly after 7:20 p.m., a Falcon 9 rocket will carry the satellite SAOCOM 1A to space.
The booster put on a spectacular show as it descended tail first toward Landing Zone 4 just a few hundred yards from the rocket's launch stand, deploying four legs and firing up one of its nine Merlin engines, seemingly at the last moment, to slow down for touchdown in a cloud of fiery exhaust.
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Watch the moment the Falcon 9's booster landed right on the button on LZ-4.
The satellite is the first of two from Argentina.
Known as plume interaction, the phenomena has been known to produce extraordinary visual effects and the launch of SAOCOM 1A was certainly no exception.
SAOCOM 1, together with the Italian COSMO-SkyMed X-Band SAR constellation, make up the Italian-Argentine Satellite System for Emergency Management, or SIASGE.
Land landings aren't threatened by storms like ocean landings are, and they also allow SpaceX to refurbish the boosters faster, as they don't need to be recovered from sea. SpaceX has several other missions planned for this year, including the Falcon 9 launches of another 10 Iridium Next satellites, Es'hailSat's Es'hail-2, and the U.S. Air Force's first GPS-3 satellite. Prior landings have taken place on the East Coast.