A captivating nighttime satellite launch by SpaceX lit up the sky above California on Oct. 7 as the company's Falcon 9 rocket left behind a trail of beautiful smoke and lights.
The Argentine SAOCOM 1A satellite — which will gather soil moisture information using Synthetic Aperture Radar — reached orbit 12 minutes after liftoff from Vandenberg Air Force Base.
The rocket trail lit up the California sky, and many took to social media to share their pictures and videos of the event. Some jokingly wondered if it was a UFO. Even the mayor of Los Angeles, Eric Garcetti, chimed in with a beautiful photo and a poke at the supernatural trail the launch left in its wake.
Just eight minutes after takeoff, the Falcon 9 rocket returned safely to its base and landed perfectly, a first for SpaceX on the West Coast.
SpaceX has developed reusable rockets like the Falcon 9 to save costs and generate business from entities looking to launch satellites and other equipment into space.