VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, CA (AP) – A reused SpaceX rocket has carried 10 satellites into space from California, leaving behind it a trail of mystery and wonder.
The Falcon 9 booster lifted off from coastal Vandenberg Air Force Base shortly before 5:30 p.m. Friday. It carried the latest batch of satellites for Iridium Communications.
The launch in the setting sun created a shining streak that was widely seen throughout Southern California and prompted puzzlement and even concern. Cars pulled over on freeways so drivers could take pictures.
The same booster carried Iridium satellites into orbit in June. That time, it landed on a platform in the Pacific. This time, the rocket plunged into the sea.
It’s the final launch of 2017 for SpaceX, which has contracted to replace Iridium’s system with 75 new satellites.