When SpaceX launched a Falcon 9 rocket into space Saturday (June 13), it delivered 58 Starlink satellites and three Planet SkySats into orbit. The mission was a success. It also looked amazing.
That’s because SpaceX launched the Falcon 9 rocket at 5:21 a.m. EDT (0921 GMT), just over an hour before sunrise, from Space Launch Complex 40 of the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. As the rocket climbed into the predawn sky, its exhaust plume was illuminated by sunlight, creating a dazzling view.
Some observers even reported seeing the Falcon 9 rocket’s reentry maneuver as it touched down on SpaceX’s drone ship Of Course I Still Love You about 350 miles (600 kilometers) away in the Atlantic Ocean. You can see some of those amazing launch views from the photographers and spectators who shared the sight on Twitter below.
Related: SpaceX’s Starlink satellite megaconstellation launches in photos
Space.com contributor Amy Thompson captured this view of the launch from a viewing site near the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station just after the Falcon 9’s liftoff. She described the sight as as a “nebula hanging in the sky” after the Falcon 9 headed to orbit.
SpaceX successfully landed its Falcon 9 rocket booster after the successful Starlink launch. You can see that video below as provided by SpaceX.
And now, back to the amazing spectator photos!
SpaceX’s Falcon 9 launch on Saturday was the ninth mission to launch dozens of Starlink internet satellites at one time as the company builds a megaconstellation in orbit. The satellites are designed to provide high-speed internet access anywhere on Earth, particularly in remote and under served locations.
The Falcon 9 launch was the second of three commercial launches on Saturday.
About four hours earlier, a Rocket Lab Electron booster launched five small satellites into orbit from a pad on the Mahia Peninsula in New Zealand. Then, nearly 11 hours later, the Japanese start-up Interstellar Technologies attempted to launch its Momo-F5 sounding rocket from Taiki Town, Hokkaido, but that mission failed to reach suborbital space.