Residents across Southern California were treated to a spectacle in the sky Thursday night when a Firefly Aerospace rocket blasted off from Vandenberg Space Force Base.

Dubbed Victus Nox, the mission for the U.S. Space Force Space Systems Command’s (SSC) Space Safari Program Office is meant to “demonstrate the United States’ capability to rapidly respond to on-orbit needs during a conflict or in response to a national security threat,” according to the company’s website.

“Today was an incredible success for the Space Force, the Firefly team, and our nation after nailing this complex responsive space mission,” Firefly CEO Bill Weber said in a statement. “Our combined commercial and government team executed the mission with record speed, agility, and flexibility, adding a critical capability to address national security needs.”

On Sept. 1, the company was put into a “hot standby,” meaning it must be ready to launch with only 60 hours’ notice. After the initial notice, the payload was transported to Vandenberg and integrated into Firefly’s Alpha rocket payload adapter.

Space Force then issued the final launch notice, giving Firefly 24 hours to make final launch preparations, including trajectory and guidance software updates, payload encapsulation, transport to the launch pad and mating with the rocket, and fueling.

At 7:28 p.m., 27 hours after the launch notice was issued, the rocket launched.

The mission progressed “seamlessly,” according to the company, working through each stage: stage one main engine cutoff, stage separation and stage two ignition.

Alpha then deployed its payload to a low-Earth orbit for Millennium Space Systems. The payload provider will attempt to fully initialize the vehicle in less than two days and begin operations for its Space Domain Awareness mission.

“As our third flight, this mission further validates Firefly’s technology rigor, passion, and dedication that’s required to prevail as the leading responsive launch provider for both government and commercial customers,” Adam Oakes, vice president of launch vehicles for Firefly, said in a statement.

With the successful demonstration under its belt, Firefly plans to ramp up production of its Alpha rocket for multiple impending launches, the company stated, including missions in support of Lockheed Martin, NASA and the National Reconnaissance Office.

“The success of the VICTUS NOX mission not only proves a key aspect of the United States’ TacRS [Tactically Responsive Space] capability but provides true utility to the warfighter,” Col. Bryon McClain said in a statement. “Working closely with our Assured Access to Space team and industry partners, the Space Safari team continues to demonstrate how TacRS enables us to quickly respond to urgent on-orbit needs.”

Editor’s note: This story has been updated with additional information and comments from Firefly Aerospace.

Brandon Richardson is a reporter and photojournalist for the Long Beach Post and Long Beach Business Journal.