Photo gallery: Sunset rocket launch shines in Southern Utah sky

ST. GEORGE — With its reuse, launches of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket from the West Coast might seem routine, but they still provoke a “What was that?” reaction while streaking across the Southern Utah sky.

The plume of a Falcon 9 rocket launched from California is seen from Tech Ridge Parkway, St. George, Utah, March 18, 2024 | Photo by Chris Reed, St. George News

Such was the case Monday night as the launch of a rocket carrying a new batch of internet satellites for Starlink, which like SpaceX is owned by Elon Musk, launched from California’s Vandenberg Space Force Base near Santa Barbara, California, at 8:28 p.m. MDT.

Like other recent Falcon 9 launches in a southeast trajectory from Vandenberg near Santa Barbara, California, the launch was not only visible to those in Southern California but also in Southern Utah, Nevada and Arizona.

Eagle-eyed locals actually had two space treats. At the exact moment the launch took place in California, the International Space Station could be seen sailing directly overhead according to data from NASA.

About a minute later, the plume of the Falcon 9 appeared above the horizon in St. George just before the first stage finished its job and separated for a landing on a drone ship in the Pacific Ocean for another reuse.

The first stage — known as B1075 — was on its 10th launch according to Space X, having last launched on Jan. 28. A different first stage, B1071, was responsible for two previous Falcon 9 appearances in the St. George sky on July 19, 2023, and Oct. 27, 2022, and has been on 14 flights.

See below for images of the Monday night’s launch as seen from Southern Utah as well as video accompanying this article.


Photo Gallery


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