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SpaceX rocket lights up sky in parts of western US

SpaceX rocket lights up sky in parts of western US

First stage separation seen at left with the moon below as SpaceX launches Falcon 9 rocket, its final mission of the year, from Vandenburg Air Force Base in California on Friday, Dec. 22, 2017. (Al Seib/Los Angeles Times/TNS)

What was that in the skies above L.A. on Friday night that stopped traffic and sparked alarm and curiosity?

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It was a rocket.

SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket, launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base at 5:27 p.m. PST, was carrying 10 satellites to low-Earth orbit. The satellites will be part of a constellation operated by Iridium Communications. All 10 satellites successfully deployed, with the last one deploying about 1 hour and 12 minutes after liftoff.

The rocket’s first stage was previously used during a mission in June.

Officials had warned the launch could be seen across Southern California and beyond. But on the day before the holiday weekend, the streaks of light against the blue sky were something to behold.

Many people pulled over their cars to take photos and videos of the sight.

The Los Angeles Fire Department put out an advisory saying the “mysterious lights in the sky” was from the Vandenberg launch.

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