A reused SpaceX rocket with 10 satellites on board were launched on the sunset of December 22nd, 2017. On this Friday evening, it left behind a trail of wonder and mysterious presence as it soared and flew out to space. The Falcon 9 booster was launched at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. It was carrying the latest batch of satellites to be utilized by Iridium Communications. The setting sun lift off created a shining and billowing streak which was widely viewed throughout Southern California, and seen as far away as Phoenix, Arizona.
There were calls that came into local TV in different areas such as San Diego, over 200 miles south of the launch site. Cars pulled over and stopped on freeways in Los Angeles so drivers were able to take videos and photos. The Los Angeles Fire Department had issued an advisory that this “mysterious light in the sky” was going to be from a rocket launch.
A sports writer for the Associated Press in Boston, Jimmy Golen, who happened to be Southern California for the holiday times. says he along with other tourists “Saw the long glowing contrail whilst touring Warner Bros. studio in the suburb of Burbank.”
“People were wondering if it had something to do with movies, or TV or a UFO,” he said. “It was very cool.”
— Leilani (@randomeizter) December 23, 2017
This same reused rocket had Iridium Communications satellites on board back in June, putting them into orbit. The last time, the first stage landed onto a floating platform out in the Pacific Ocean, but this time, the rocket was allowed and able to plunge into the water.
This launch marked the 18th and final launch of 2017 by SpaceX, which has contracts in order to replace Iridium Communication’s system with the amount of 75 updated satellites. SpaceX plans to complete the job by mid-2018, and has made four launches as of now. In addition, the satellites also carried payloads for s ship-tracking service and global aircraft tracking
Heading home from work pic.twitter.com/olGJlmcxIO
— Kiké Sixtos (@Mr_Sixtos) December 23, 2017