The private spaceflight company has launched multiple satellites and shuttled supplies and science gear to the International Space Station, with its Falcon 9 being the first spacecraft from a private company to reach the station in 2012.
"Sonic boom warning. This won't be subtle", he wrote. It was the first time SpaceX landed a first-stage booster back at its launch site at Vandenberg Air Force Base, about 210 kilometres north-west of Los Angeles.
"This is great news for everyone here at SpaceX", Tom Praderio, a SpaceX firmware engineer, said during live launch commentary tonight.
The Falcon's first stage will then fly back to Vandenberg and set down in a landing zone on the coastal base.
During the landing attempt residents from Santa Barbara, Ventura and San Luis Obispo counties were warned that they may hear one or more sonic booms. This was SpaceX's first land landing on the West Coast.
But as always, the landing was a secondary objective. Most likely this is related to the SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket which launched around 7:30 p.m.
The Falcon 9 can carry a payload of up to 5.5 metric tons.
It took off at 7:21pm Sunday from Vandenberg Air Force Base (160 miles north of Los Angeles) and returned safely to base about 10 minutes later.
Videos of the rocket's liftoff also drew attention.
The primary objective of the SpaceX mission was to place the SAOCOM 1A satellite in orbit, but SpaceX also wanted to expand its recovery of first stages to its launch site at Vandenberg.
Shortly afterward SpaceX confirmed that SAOCOM 1A had been successfully deployed in record time.