Falcon 9 / Iridium-3 Launch Videos & Stunning Views From Afar

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket lifted off from Space Launch Complex 4E, Vandenberg Air Force Base at 12:37:01 UTC on Monday, October 9, 2017 to dispatch the third group of ten Iridium-NEXT communications satellites into orbit. Checking off its 14th success of the year, the two stage rocket was in action for 72 minutes to boost its payload into a 625-Kilometer orbit while the first stage’s journey from its California launch pad to the JRTI Drone Ship took a mere seven and a half minutes, giving SpaceX its 13th successful booster landing in a row.

>>Read our Launch Recap

The launch was visible from a large stretch of the south-western United States and video captured by onlookers shows the spectacular display put on by the rocket’s first and second stages as they parted ways some 70 Kilometers in altitude, also providing a powerful illustration of the physics behind the interaction of supersonic gas flows in a near-vacuum environment.