Photo by Sue Tone.
Originally Published: December 22, 2017 7 p.m.
Updated as of Saturday, December 23, 2017 5:53 AM
Did you see something bright in the sky Friday night? You likely saw the effects of the 18th launch and final mission of the year for SpaceX.
The launch happened around 6:30 p.m. in Southern California at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Space.com and media reported.
The sky wasn't the only thing to light up after the launch, however. Twitter and Facebook were ablaze with users posting about the strange-looking lights overhead.
And, people living in the Greater Prescott area did not disappoint. The Daily Courier offices Friday night received a steady stream of calls, texts and emails from staffers and those curious as to what they were witnessing.
"People are pulled over on the road, watching ... wondering what they are," reporter Max Efrein told the Courier news desk.
The mystery was quickly solved, with TV media broadcasting from California similar confusion.
SpaceX launched its last mission of 2017, a planned launch of 6:27 PM (Arizona time). The mission was for client Iridium, and sent a fourth set of 10 satellites into low Earth orbit for Iridium’s NEXT constellation, which will eventually consist of 75 satellites launched by SpaceX in total, techcrunch.com reported earlier.
SpaceX launched the Falcon 9 for Iridium-4 from California’s Vandenberg Air Force Base, where it has its Space Launch Complex. Friday's was the 18th launch of a Falcon 9 for SpaceX this year.
The Falcon 9 first stage booster being used for the mission has been used before; this rocket was turned around and ready for re-use in six months. SpaceX launched a Falcon on Dec. 15 as well, also a recycled rocket, according to the Associated Press.
That launch went to the International Space Station on a resupply mission from Florida.