Everyone who witnessed the scene — a sudden flash of bright light in the skies– was dumbstruck. People in California, United States panicked imagining if it was an alien attack. Later it was revealed that a reused SpaceX rocket was carrying 10 satellites into orbit from California on Friday. During the launch the rocket lit up the evening sky over Southern California, providing a spectacular sight shortly after sunset, as per the locals. The SpaceX rocket which has two-stage Falcon 9 booster lifted off from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California on December 22 at 11:27 pm (local time). Describing the scene, an eyewitness said cars stopped on road in Los Angeles as drivers and passengers were taking pictures and video. The Los Angeles Fire Department issued an advisory saying that the mysterious light in the sky was from the rocket launch.
This was the 18th launch for SpaceX and many launches are also expected in the coming year. SpaceX has now re-used Falcon 9 first stages on five separate missions, all of which launched this year. The company has also landed Falcon 9 boosters 20 times to date. A SpaceX representative told SpaceNews, “These are case-by-case decisions and are based on mission requirements and the needs of our manifest.” According to AP, this was final launch of 2017 for SpaceX, which has contracted to replace Iridium’s system with 75 updated satellites.
Watch the video here:
— China Xinhua News (@XHNews) December 23, 2017
Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX, had some fun with the spectacular sight, taunting the Twitterverse with a video and something about a “nuclear alien UFO from North Korea.” A joint strike force of organizations – SpaceX, Boeing, United Launch Alliance, and NASA – are progressing toward crewed test launches to the International Space Station from Kennedy Space Center and Cape Canaveral Air Force Station as part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program in the second half of next year, as per Florida today.
Earlier, on December 15, SpaceX, for the first time, had launched both a rocket and a cargo ship that have flown before, a step forward in the company’s goal to lower the cost of spaceflight. After the launch, the California-based company headed by Internet tycoon Elon Musk landed its rocket booster upright on solid ground at Cape Canaveral, Florida.