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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

DOJ cites discrimination in lawsuit against Texas over voting districts

Attorney General Merrick Garland delivers remarks at the 2021 Tribal Nations Summit at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on Nov. 15, 2021. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

The Department of Justice on Monday filed a lawsuit against Texas, alleging Republican state lawmakers discriminated against Black and Latino voters and "again.. diluted the voting strength of minority Texans" when they approved new redistricting maps.

Why it matters: A DOJ assessment of the new districts found that they violate Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, Attorney General Merrick Garland said at a press conference.

2 hours ago - World

Biden to warn Putin U.S. will add troops in Eastern Europe if Russia invades Ukraine

Putin meets Biden in Geneva. Photo: Peter Klaunzer - Pool/Keystone via Getty

President Biden will warn Russian President Vladimir Putin when they speak on Tuesday that if Russia invades Ukraine, the U.S. is prepared to increase its troop presence, capabilities and military exercises on NATO's "eastern flank," a senior administration official told reporters.

Why it matters: The administration believes it's increasingly likely that Putin will order an invasion.

2 hours ago - World

U.S. announces diplomatic boycott of Beijing Winter Olympics

An Olympic-themed sculpture in Beijing on Dec. 1. Photo: Hou Yu/China News Service via Getty Images

The U.S. announced Monday that it will not send officials to the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics in protest of human rights abuses committed by the Chinese Communist Party.

Why it matters: The diplomatic boycott — which won't prevent American athletes from competing — marks a major escalation between the U.S. and China amid already heightened tensions over the CCP's treatment of Muslim minorities, military threats to Taiwan and economic tariffs.