The SpaceXFalcon 9 rocket launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base, near Lompoc, California, just before 5.30pm on Friday night local time and was carrying 10 satellites to low-Earth orbit, the LA Times reports. To the disappointment of UFO enthusiasts, the object was not an extraterrestrial coming to visit. The Falcon 9 booster lifted off from coastal Vandenberg Air Force Base, more than 200 miles from Apple Valley, yet was still brilliantly visible as the sun illuminated the exhaust plume, greatly expanded in the upper atmosphere. Many believed the plume to be an alien or UFO of some sort and reportedly, many cars stopped on freeways to take photographs and videos of this freakish sight.
The Twilight effect from a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.
Musk appeared content to indulge that speculation.
Musk tweeted that it was "definitely aliens" sharing a video of the launch with the caption "nuclear alien UFO from North Korea". The first stage underwent a landing sequence as it does when a recovery is attempted, but there was no drone landing ship in the Pacific Ocean to catch it when it touched down. The base said it was the "fourth Iridium mission consisting of 10 satellites on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket". This time, the rocket was allowed to plunge into the water.
SpaceX is an aerospace company headquartered in Hawthorne, California. It's the most rockets SpaceX has launched in a single year, beating its previous best by ten missions.