Elon Musk's SpaceX successfully launches satellite

spacex-rocket-afp The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket (R) separates from the space craft (L) behind the rocket trail after launching from Vandenberg Air Force Base carrying the SAOCOM 1A and ITASAT 1 satellites, near Santa Barbara, California | AFP

Elon Musk's SpaceX company successfully launched into space a satellite from California. The Falcon 9 rocket carried an Argentinian Earth-observation satellite into space Sunday. It also landed a first-stage booster back at it California launch site.

The primary purpose of the mission was to place the SAOCOM 1A satellite into orbit, but SpaceX also wanted to expand its recovery of first stages to its launch site at Vandenberg Air Force Base, about 130 miles (209 kilometers) northwest of Los Angeles.

SpaceX had previously flown first-stage rockets back to land after Florida launches but had not done so on the West Coast.

SpaceX also has successfully landed Falcon 9 first stages on so-called drone ships off the coasts of Florida and California, all as part of its effort to decrease the cost of space launches by reusing rockets rather than allowing them to fall into the ocean.

Residents of the area were in for a treat as the rocket took off from the air base at 7.21pm and lit up the sky. Images of the rocket was shared by many on social media platforms.

The Air Force last week advised residents on the central California coast they might see multiple engine burns by the first stage and hear one or more sonic booms as it returned.