0515 GMT January 21, 2019
The Falcon 9 rocket took Argentine satellite SAOCOM 1A into orbit from Vandenberg Air Force Base, on the coast northwest of Los Angeles, BBC reported.
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.
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 takeoff, including Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti.
SpaceX has developed reusable rockets in a bid to save costs and attract business.
While the company said 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 (620 kilometers) 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.