SpaceX’s Friday night rocket launch in California

Wow! Talk about some Friday night lights! A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket lit up the evening sky over Southern California last night (Dec. 22) in a dazzling display that was visible to potentially millions of spectators and set Twitter abuzz with sightings.

The 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) — just 30 minutes after sunset — carrying 10 Iridium Next communications satellites into orbit. The mission was a success, with all 10 satellites reaching their intended orbits. But it was the jaw-dropping views of the Falcon 9 streaking into space that stole the show, leaving an ethereal glowing plume in its wake as it soared into orbit.

“Caught off guard and had no idea what was happening at first …must say it was one of my life’s coolest moments!!!,” said Michelle Snyder, who watched the launch from the Hotel del Coronado in Coronado, California. She sent in the video shown above. “A forever memory with my daughters and parents who were in town visiting for the holidays. FOREVER MEMORY!!!

From a southbound lane of the Interstate-5 freeway in Irvine, the launch wowed my 9-year-old daughter Zadie, who marveled at seeing the Falcon 9’s first stage separate from its upper stage (“I saw first stage separation? I saw stage separation!”) as we drove to meet relatives for the holidays. Her final say on the launch: “That is beautiful!”

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