Right at the heels of Christmas night you may have seen some puzzling news about possible UFO and alien sightings. Confusion about what or who (Santa?) was flying above Los Angeles on the night of December 22nd sparked excitement, questions, and even some fear.
In reality (or so we’re told…), SpaceX launched their grand finale, 18th mission of 2017. The Falcon 9 rocket burst into SoCal’s atmosphere adding a tenth satellite to the Iridium family. With the launch happening just after sunset the proceeding effects caused the confusion and awe striking views for plebeians below. Speculations ranged from UFO sightings, meteorites, and a Twitter induced nuclear bomb to name a few. In a peculiar decision, the rocket isn’t scheduled to land to be reused and refurbished. And although the Musk rockets have successfully landed before (14 times), this launch it flew out of Vandenberg Air Force Base sans landing legs. It seems that perhaps Elon Musk has his hopes set on the Block 5, the successor of Falcon 9, and stated it is “the final upgrade of the Falcon architecture [and it] significantly improves performance and ease of reusibility.”
This is the fourth round of flight for Iridium totaling 30 NEXT satellites. This communication system buzzing in Earth’s lower orbit will total 40 when complete. Check out the webcast below and keep an eye out for more launches in 2018!
Banner image source: Kennedy Space Center
Home image source: Reuters