SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket lit up the evening sky over Southern California last night (Dec. 22). Thus, leaving ghostly glowing trails in the sky.
So, SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launched into space from California’s Vandenberg Air Force Base north of Los Angeles at 5:27 p.m. PST (8:27 p.m. EST/0127 GMT).
The mission from California’s central coast was Space Exploration Technologies Corp.’s 18th this year. The rocket carried 10 Iridium Next communications satellites into low-earth orbit.
“SpaceX has had a phenomenal year, and they’ve motivated and inspired a lot of people as to what is possible,” said Eric Stallmer, president of the Commercial Spaceflight Federation, an industry group for the private space sector.
However, it was the eerie views of the Falcon 9 heading to space that stole the show, leaving a ghostly glowing plume
“Nuclear alien UFO from North Korea,” SpaceX CEO Elon Musk tweeted.
“Water vapor from the aircraft engine exhaust is immediately exposed to very cold temperatures at very high altitudes. The impurities in the exhausts and the very cold temperatures are the perfect recipe for a condensation trail,” writes meteorologist and Forbes contributor Marshall Shepherd.
Elon Musk promised even more spectacular views when SpaceX’s new heavy-lift rocket — the Falcon Heavy — begins launching in 2018.
“If you liked tonight’s launch, you will really like Falcon Heavy next month: 3 rocket cores & 3X thrust. 2 cores return to base doing synchronized aerobatics. 3rd lands on drone-ship,” Musk tweeted.
If you don’t know, “rocket cores” refer to the boosters at the base of the rocket.
The first Falcon Heavy test flight will launch in January from Pad 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida carrying Musk’s midnight cherry red Tesla Roadster into space.
So, 2018 is going to be an exciting year.
Thumbnail image: A view of the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launch from Southern California. Credit: Screenshot via Twitter/Ali Maadelat