The Falcon 9 booster boosted off from coastal Vandenberg air force base, carrying the latest batch of satellites for Iridium Communications. SpaceX blasted off a re-used Falcon 9 rocket carrying ten satellites into orbit, its fourth launch to Virginia based Iridium’s mobile, voice and data network. The launch in the setting sun generated a bright, billowing streak that was broadly seen everywhere in southern California and as far away as Phoenix, Arizona.
Friday’s payload, identified as Iridium 4, brings to 40 the number of new Iridium satellites now in orbit. A total of 81 are assumed by the time the launches are complete for the global project, acknowledged as Iridium NEXT. SpaceX will launch 75 of the 81 spacecraft.
“Iridium NEXT will replace the world’s largest commercial satellite network of low-Earth orbit satellites in what will be one of the largest ‘tech upgrades’ in history,” said a company statement. Some of the satellites are designed to help track ships and aircraft in real time. SpaceX did not attempt to land the first stage of its rocket after launch, as has become its standard practice.
It was the 18th and last launch of 2017 for SpaceX, which has contracted to substitute Iridium’s system with 75 updated satellites. SpaceX has made four launches and assumes to make several more to complete the job by mid-2018.
Initially, some people thought it might have been a UFO or the prelude to an alien invasion. Jimmy Golen, a sports writer for Associated Press in Boston who was in southern California for the holidays, said he and other tourists saw the long, glowing contrail while touring Warner Brothers studio in the Los Angeles neighbourhood of Burbank. “People were questioning if it had something to do with movies, or TV or a ufo,” he said. “It was very cool.”
The same rocket carried Iridium satellites into orbit in June. That time, the first stage landed on a floating platform in the Pacific ocean. This time, the rocket was allowed to plunge into the sea. Earlier last week SpaceX said it had postponed the launch of its large Falcon Heavy rocket until 2018. The firm stated it was still on course to test the missile in a static fire trial this year.
Meanwhile, a bizarre looking UFO-like object was seen hovering over Los Angeles has baffled the onlookers. On Friday, residents of Southern California witnessed a mysterious unknown flying object hovering in the dark winter sky. The residents of Loss Angles were stunned by the flashing of bright light across the night sky.
According to the sky watchers, the strange object was having the shape of a giant jellyfish with a large glowing tail. Many people thought it to be a UFO, but actually, it was a “contrail from the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket that was scheduled to blast off from Vandenberg Air Force Base on Friday evening. The contrail is an artificial cloud made by the exhaust of a jet aircraft or a rocket that precipitate a stream of tiny ice crystals in moist, frigid upper layer.
Radio personality Jo Jo Wright tweeted, #Aliens are Landing!!! This sighting above @UniStudios by @iAmLettyB!!! Some say it’s #SpaceX, I say #UFO. She also shared a mind-blowing view of the SpaceX rocket on the micro-blogging website. After watching the jelly-fish shaped object actress Jenna Fischer said, “LA…what the heck is this weird jellyfish thing going across the sky right now,” Everybody was excited as well as baffled after getting a glimpse of the mysterious flying object. Many took to social media sites to express their excitement and their thoughts about the strange object with a glowing tail.
The 53-year-old singer-songwriter Courtney Love took a jibe at SpaceX head Elon Musk and funnily held Musk responsible for bringing aliens on our Planet. She tweeted, “@elonmusk is taking us into the future. Watch out the universe, here come the weirdest aliens you’ve ever seen, us.” As Christmas is near, many also called the mysterious object flying incidence as Santa’s ride.
A person wrote, “It’s Santa Clause of course. Doing a dry run before the big event.” SpaceX CEO Elon Musk also joined the twitter battle and said, “it was definitely aliens.” Finally, The Ventura County Sheriff’s Department released a statement on Twitter and confirmed that the mysterious object was not a UFO but was the contrail of SpaceX rocket launch. They tweeted, “SpaceX rocket launch from Vandenberg was the flash you saw in the sky! No cause for concern.”