SpaceX Satellite Launch

SpaceX Satellite Launch

As Damsel and I were relaxing last evening, we were startled by a knocking at the back porch. It was the UPS delivery guy with a package we ordered from Amazon. But the package drop-off wasn’t the end of it. The driver said “Come out here and look at this!”

We walked down the driveway looking west and we pretty much saw the image depicted above, although we’re in a darker location than the Phoenix area where the photo was taken.

The phenomenon was attributed to a SpaceX Iridium Satellite launch:

At 5:30 pm on Dec. 22nd, SpaceX launched a 2-stage rocket from Vandenburg Air Force Base near the California coast.

The rocket launched 10 communications satellites to low-Earth orbit, adding to the growing Iridium NEXT constellation. This is the fourth such mission that SpaceX has flown for Iridium. Moreover, the rocket used for this mission had been used before. The Falcon 9 previously flew in June for the second Iridium mission.

It was quite spectacular as we watched the rocket move across the sky with its trail of gas lit up by sunlight high in the atmosphere. We’re glad that the UPS guy alerted us to this unusual event.


  1. drjim said,

    December 23, 2017 @ 14:11:39

    Yep, I’ve seen quite a few lift off from VAFB. One of the guys I worked with at Sea Launch is with SpaceX now, and I’m sure he was there.

    During the day we could see a little squiggly smoke trail from a VAFB launch, but you had to know exactly where to look.

  2. CapnBob said,

    December 24, 2017 @ 10:14:53

    We have seen a few rocket trails in our lifetime. I recall seeing one from Las Vegas many years ago and several from our California residence. Almost nothing is more spectacular than an early evening launch from VAFB.

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