UFO? No, SpaceX Rocket!
On Dec. 22, 2017, SpaceX launched a Falcon 9 rocket carrying 10 Iridium Next communications satellites into orbit from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, creating dazzling views across Southern California. See the photos here! This Image: Space.com managing editor captured this cell phone view from the I-5 freeway in Irvine, California. See video by spectactors here!
SpaceX Rocket Over City Lights
The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket arcs over city lights of Southern California in this long-exposure of the launch of 10 Iridium Next satellites from Vandenberg Air Force Base on Dec. 22, 2017.
SpaceX Rocket Launch by Hany Girgis
Hany Girgis (never_unpacking on Instagram) captured this stunning view of SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket launch on Dec. 22, 2017 from La Jolla, California while dining with friends.
Streaking to Space
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket streaks into space carrying 10 Iridium Next communications satellites in this long-exposure view of the launch from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California on Dec. 22, 2017.
SpaceX Rocket Over Hollywood: Erica Kelly Martin
Photographer Erica Kelly Martin captured this amazing view of SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket soaring over the palm trees of Hollywood, California after its launch from Vandenberg Air Force Base on Dec. 22, 2017.
Falcon 9 Soars Over SpaceX HQ
A SpaceX Falcon rocket soars into space in this stunning view from SpaceX's headquarters in Hawthorne, California. A used Falcon 9 first stage stands in the foreground.
The SpaceX View from Big Bear
SpaceX's dazzling Falcon 9 rocket launch only added to the festive holiday lights for Jennifer Garrison of Apple Valley, California, who captured this view from Big Bear on Dec. 22, 2017.
A Family Rocket Launch
Skywatcher Jennifer Garrison and her two sons Nicholas, 8, and Ethan, 5, observe SpaceX's dazzling rocket launch from their location in Big Bear, California on Dec. 22, 2017.
Liftoff for SpaceX Iridium-4
A used SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket lifts off from Space Launch Complex 4E at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California to deliver 10 Iridium Next communications satellites into orbit on Dec. 22, 2017.
SpaceX Launch View from Tucson
Skywatcher Jeff Ladderud captured this view of the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launch of Dec. 22, 2017 from Tucson, Arizona. "It was only taken with an iPhone camera, so quality isn't stellar; but I was impressed that we could see the launch all the way from Tucson, AZ--some 575 miles away!" he told Space.com.
SpaceX Launch View from an Airplane
Skywatcher Rafael Vecchi caught this view of SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket launch on Dec. 22 from his seat on an airplane flying from Phoenix to Salt Lake City. "The pilot came on the intercom to say that there was something he had never seen out the left window. He probably didn't mean to say it like that, but it was unsettling to hear your pilot say that. So we all crowded to the windows. A few minutes he came on to say it was a rocket launcher from Vandenberg Air Force Base. I've read Elon Musk's biography and have watched some YouTube live launches, and it was amazing to see it in person," Vecchi said.
Get the Space.com Newsletter
Breaking space news, the latest updates on rocket launches, skywatching events and more!
Tariq is the Editor-in-Chief of Space.com and joined the team in 2001, first as an intern and staff writer, and later as an editor. He covers human spaceflight, exploration and space science, as well as skywatching and entertainment. He became Space.com's Managing Editor in 2009 and Editor-in-Chief in 2019. Before joining Space.com, Tariq was a staff reporter for The Los Angeles Times covering education and city beats in La Habra, Fullerton and Huntington Beach. In October 2022, Tariq received the Harry Kolcum Award for excellence in space reporting from the National Space Club Florida Committee. He is also an Eagle Scout (yes, he has the Space Exploration merit badge) and went to Space Camp four times as a kid and a fifth time as an adult. He has journalism degrees from the University of Southern California and New York University. You can find Tariq at Space.com and as the co-host to the This Week In Space podcast with space historian Rod Pyle on the TWiT network. To see his latest project, you can follow Tariq on Twitter @tariqjmalik.