While SpaceX has once again made history with a glorious Falcon 9 launch on October 7, reaching yet another big milestone after the first re-flight of a “Block 5” booster on August 7, Sunday’s event was memorable in more ways than one.
This latest rocket flight marked the very first time that the private space company successfully landed a rocket booster on California soil, the Inquisitr reported earlier this week.
But the public will perhaps be more inclined to remember the spectacular show put on by the Falcon 9 rocket as it soared to the skies, leaving behind fantastic designs on the black canvas of the night sky.
The nighttime launch left viewers in complete awe as the rocket drew a luminous arc in the sky over Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. The arc later blossomed into a gorgeous nebula-looking cloud, which captured the imagination of everyone looking up at the sky.
“As it rose into the sky, the Falcon 9 spawned a gigantic, gorgeous, glowing cloud that wowed folks throughout the Golden State,” notes Space, remarking on the of ethereal, otherworldly beauty of the “twilight plume.”
In case you missed the webcast of the sensational Falcon 9 launch, you might want to take a look at the amazing snapshots below and feast your eyes on some stunning views of the California sky.
This first photo, uploaded by SpaceX on Flickr, shows the birth of the plume as the two stages of the Falcon 9 rocket separate shortly after liftoff.
The glowing arc trailing behind the plume gives the image a festive look, evoking what could be described as celestial fireworks.
Another photo, captured by Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, reveals a dazzling view of the plume over the city.
“Nope, definitely not aliens. What you’re looking at is the first launch and landing of the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket on the West Coast,” Mayor Garcetti wrote on Twitter on Sunday night.
In a second Twitter post, Mayor Garcetti shared three more photos of the glowing cloud, including a snapshot that reveals a Wi-Fi symbol carved into the sky by the pulses coming from the booster’s small reaction-control thrusters.
According to Space, the jaw-dropping plume created after the separation of the Falcon 9 rocket resembled a sparkling nebula in the vastness of space.
“The plume generated by the Falcon 9 launch from California’s Vandenberg Air Force Base on October 7, 2018, looked like something NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope might spy in the vast distances between the stars,” reports the media outlet.
The last time a SpaceX rocket launch made such a lasting impression was on June 29, when another Falcon 9 rocket created a “space jellyfish” in the dark sky as it lifted off from Florida’s Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in the early hours of the morning, the Inquisitr reported at the time.
“These pre-sunrise or post-sunset launches give for a spectacular show in the sky,” said Jessica Jensen, director of Dragon mission management for SpaceX.
“Basically, what’s happening is, it’s still dark outside, but you have the sun illuminating the plume as it’s in space,” Jensen explained, per Space.
As the Inquisitr previously reported, Sunday’s rocket launch served to deploy Argentina’s SAOCOM-1A satellite into Earth’s orbit. From there, the spacecraft will be making accurate observations on soil moisture and help predict crop yields. About eight minutes after liftoff, the rocket’s first stage made a historic return near the launch pad — the first land-based landing achieved by SpaceX on the West Coast.
This was the company’s 30th first-stage landing, with all the previous ones occurring either on the East Coast or at sea, on SpaceX “drone ships” stationed 400 miles off Cape Canaveral and Vandenberg.