The Falcon 9, now on base at California's SpaceX launch pad will take off on Sunday night at 7:21 p.m. PT, with a mission to launch an Argentinean Earth-observing satellite into orbit, and then touch back down in a new landing zone located just a quarter mile away from takeoff, Wired reported.
The Air Force said before the 7:22 p.m. launch that it expected that people as far away as Sacramento and Southern California would see the rocket's contrail.
Below are some photos we were sent by viewers Sunday night.
But that's possible only when launching relatively light payloads to not-too-distant orbits; on other missions, there's not enough fuel left for the Falcon 9 first stage to maneuver all the way back to land.
Such sights and sounds are familiar to residents near the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida where SpaceX first landed a Falcon 9 booster in December 2015.
On Sunday night-for the first time since July-SpaceX will attempt to launch a satellite into space, and then land part of the rocket back on its base. It will mark the first time the innovative company has attempted a ground landing at Vandenberg.
The satellite will be operated by Argentina's space agency, known as the National Commission on Space Activites or by its Spanish-language acronym, CONAE.
As The Verge noted, SpaceX hasn't been making sea landings by choice. Both spacecraft will make similar observations from orbit, which will be integrated with measurements made by a network of Italian satellites.
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. "Flying both constellations along the same orbit supports a rapid response by providing SAR information in emergency situations".