Videos: SpaceX Falcon 9 launch makes for awesome light show over SoCal

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket successfully placed 10 Iridium satellites into polar orbits on Saturday evening from Vandenberg AFB in California. The launch produced an amazing light show visible over much of Southern California.

Note that the second light spot visible in the plume is the first stage making a controlled descent. This previously flown booster did not land on a sea-going platform but did otherwise follow a landing style return. SpaceX has run out of storage space for this generation of boosters, which will only be re-flown once. A new version will be introduced in a few months that can be flown a dozen times with only inspection between flights and many more with some refurbishment.

Update: In this view, the two clam shell-like fairings around the satellites can be seen after they separate from the rocket. SpaceX has been developing ways to fly back and recover the fairings. In the video, firings of the cold-gas thrusters on the fairings can be seen:


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