Falcon 9 rocket launch provides spectacular view in Bakersfield

Falcon 9, a rocket carrying satellites, is seen streaking across the sky from south of Bakersfield, Calif. The rocket launched Friday, Dec. 22, 2017, from Vandenberg Air Force Base. (KBAK/KBFX photo)

SpaceX's Falcon 9, a rocket carrying satellites, launched shortly before 5:30 p.m. Friday from Vandenberg Air Force Base on the coast.

The spectacular event could be witnessed from Highway 99 south of Bakersfield, about 140 miles from the launch point.

The Falcon 9 delivered 10 satellites to low-Earth orbit for Iridium, a global satellite communications company. The Friday evening launch marked SpaceX's 18th successful mission, the most it has ever conducted in a single year.

The Friday launch also marks the fourth delivery SpaceX has made for Iridium's next-generation global satellite constellation, NEXT.

When complete, the constellation will consist of 75 satellites providing full global communications coverage.

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