SpaceX launch lights up the Southern California sky. See photos and videos

A graphic explaining sonic booms provided by Vandenberg Air Force Base ahead of a planned SpaceX launch on Oct. 7 2018

A graphic explaining sonic booms provided by Vandenberg Air Force Base ahead of a planned SpaceX launch on Oct. 7 2018

CONAE will operate the satellite as part of the Argentine-Italian System of Satellites with the Italian Space Agency, coordinating observations with Italy's four Cosmo-Skymed X-band SAR satellites.

Closely held SpaceX's valuation has climbed to about $28 billion (R417bn) as it racks up successful launches, making it the third-most valuable venture-backed startup in the United States after Uber Technologies and Airbnb SpaceX completed a record 18 missions in 2017 and is on track to exceed that number this year.

According to Fox News, the company's plan was to launch the Argentina satellite, which carries radar that can be used for emergency management, into orbit and successfully send a first stage booster to the base. Residents in Santa Barbara, Ventura and San Luis Obispo counties may hear sonic booms.

Ahead of the launch, officials issued warnings to residents about the possibility of sonic booms. "This won't be subtle".

The Air Force said before the 7:22 p.m. launch that it expected that people as far away as Sacramento and Southern California would see the rocket's contrail.

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The Falcon 9 can carry a payload of up to 5.5 metric tons.

In keeping with that vision, tonight marked the second flight for this particular Falcon 9 first stage, which also helped loft 10 Iridium Next commercial communications satellites from Vandenberg on July 25.

The first stage, meanwhile, flipped around and re-started three of its nine engines to reverse course and head back toward Vandenberg.

Videos of the rocket's liftoff also drew attention.

The SAOCOM launch marks SpaceX's 17th launch of the year. SpaceX's landing record now stands at 30 successful booster recoveries, 11 at Cape Canaveral, one at Vandenberg and 18 on droneships.

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