Last weekend, on Saturday November 21st, 2020, SpaceX successfully lifted the 'Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich' satellite into orbit. This mission will study rising sea levels and atmospheric changes as part of the European Space Agency's 'Copernicus' constellation of Earth observation satellites. The first stage of the Falcon 9 rocket then returned to the launch site for a propulsive landing so the booster can be reused for future launches. For a detailed explanation of the Sentinel-6 mission, click here. Below is our full gallery of launch photos and video from Vandenberg Air Force Base on the beautiful California coast.
Photos and video by Jon Reino
Liftoff view from the coastal hills North of the launch site, Vandenberg AFB. 9:17am PST
Close-up of the Falcon 9's exhaust plume, brightly outshining the daylit ocean behind it.
Composite image of liftoff (right), followed by a sequence of landing burn images as the first stage (left) descends to the pad 8 minutes later.
Max-Q, the vehicle creates a plume of condensation as it passes through the period of maximum aerodynamic pressure.
After stage separation, the first stage (top) fires its engines to "boost-back" towards the landing site. Meanwhile, the second stage (below) continues towards orbit with the satellite.