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SpaceX's Falcon9 rocket booster lights its engine as it makes its landing (left side), while the second stage of the rocket powers the satellite into space (right side). Image: SpaceX.

SpaceX launched a satellite for Argentina's space agency on Sunday evening and successfully landed the first stage of a Falcon 9 rocket at its West Coast facility at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. This was the company's first-ever dry-ground landing on the West Coast, at a launch pad that had previously been used by the Air Force dating back to the 1960s.

Why it matters: To date, SpaceX has been launching and recovering Falcon 9 rocket boosters at sea on the West Coast, but this was the first time it has recovered a rocket on land there.

The milestone means the space company has more flexibility to operate on the West Coast, launching payloads to a greater variety of orbits. Previous land recoveries had taken place at Cape Canaveral, Florida.

Landing and reusing rockets is key to SpaceX's goal of reducing the cost of access to space. Other companies, such as Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin, are also pursuing similar strategies of rocket recycling.

Go deeper: Special report: The new global race to space

Go deeper

Updated 35 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: Hospital crisis deepens as holiday season nears.
  2. Vaccine: Moderna to file for FDA emergency use authorizationVaccinating rural America won't be easy — Being last in the vaccine queue is young people's next big COVID test.
  3. Politics: Bipartisan group of senators seeks stimulus dealChuck Grassley returns to Senate after recovering from COVID-19.
  4. States: Cuomo orders emergency hospital protocols as COVID capacity dwindles.
  5. Economy: Wall Street wonders how bad economy has to get for Congress to act.
  6. 🎧 Podcast: The state of play of the top vaccines.
1 hour ago - Health

First blood test to help diagnose Alzheimer's goes public

Photo: Jerry Naunheim Jr./C2N Diagnostics via AP

A non-COVID medical breakthrough: People over 60 now have access to a blood test for Alzheimer's disease.

Why it matters: The existing PET brain scan test costs some people about $5,000 and often isn't covered by insurance, AP reports.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Wisconsin, Arizona certify Biden's victories

Photo: Demetrius Freeman/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Arizona and Wisconsin officials confirmed the presidential election results in their states, formalizing President-elect Joe Biden's victories in the key battlegrounds.

Why it matters: The moves deal yet another blow to President Trump's efforts to block or delay certification in key swing states that he lost.