On the 7th of October this year SpaceX launched their Falcon 9 complete with SAOCOM 1A payload from Vandenburg Air Force base launch Complex 4E (SLC-4E) in California. This was to be the first time Elon Musk’s company had launched and landed a reusable rocket on the west coast. The base which is approximately 120 miles up the coast north west of Los Angeles, lines up perfectly behind the pier on the beach of Santa Monica.
With the launch in mind I planned to be out on the beach in Santa Monica when it happened and arrived about an hour before lift off. I watched the launch countdown patiently on my phone and saw the rocket rise into the sky less than a minute after Terminal countdown had ended. In this shot the Falcon 9 is about 45 seconds into flight. The later booster separation and gas cloud that resulted was too high in the sky to appear in a photo with the pier so this is the best shot I could grab with the foreground as the main subject.
Its times like this that I feel right in middle of history as its being made. With space flight tourism on the cusp of becoming a reality over the next few years this is a really special time to be alive and witness it all unfolding. This image along with other shots from that evening are available in my store or by clicking on the link below.