HOT OFF THE WIRE

Elon Musk's SpaceX rocket lights up California sky

Elon Musk's SpaceX rocket lights up California sky

  • 8 October 2018
Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionSpaceX lights up the skies over California

Elon Musk's SpaceX company has successfully launched a satellite into space from California - wowing social media users in the process.

The Falcon 9 rocket took Argentine satellite SAOCOM 1A into orbit from Vandenberg Air Force Base, on the coast northwest of Los Angeles.

Residents shared photos of the launch, which lit up the skies over the state.

The rocket's first - and reusable - stage landed successfully, marking the first West Coast landing for a booster.

  • Musk to fly Japan billionaire around moon
  • Elon Musk's Falcon rocket soars to space

Taking off at about 19:21 local time (02:21 GMT), the first stage of the rocket returned safely to the air base about eight minutes later.

Californians posted videos and photos of the skies after the successful take-off, including Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti.

SpaceX has developed reusable rockets in a bid to save costs and attract business.

While the company says this is the 30th landing of a booster, this is the first land touchdown on the West Coast - the rest have happened on land in Florida and from platforms out at sea.

Argentina's satellite will reportedly track natural disasters, crop yields and soil-moisture levels from 385 miles (620km) above the earth.

Billionaire Elon Musk also tweeted photos of his company's launch.

The entrepreneur has been in the spotlight recently, after mocking the Securities and Exchange Commission in a tweet just days after reaching an agreement with it over fraud charges.

  • The weird and wonderful life of Elon Musk
  • The man who sent his sports car into space