The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

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SpaceX paints the skies of California a glowing aurora on Monday

A trail of condensed water rocket exhaust paints the sky at sunset moments after SpaceX’s Falcon 9 takes off.

No, this was not an April Fool’s prank. On Monday, April 1, SpaceX launched its Falcon9 rocket from the Vandenberg Space Force Base to deliver 22 Starlink satellites to orbit the exosphere. This created a bright streak of glowing rocket exhaust visible to residents of Southern California.

This was the third rocket the company had launched within the past 24 hours.

SpaceX, known for its impressive rocket reentry landings, and its ambitious CEO and X (formerly known as Twitter) owner Elon Musk has been coordinating this launch for the past few months.

The rocket was originally scheduled to launch on Saturday, March 30, but was delayed due to bad weather conditions. The launch was rescheduled to Monday, April 1 at 7:30 p.m. with a backup time of 11:30 p.m., but managed to stay on schedule for its first launch time.

The rocket took to the skies and within minutes had managed to create a spectacular glowing trail of condensed water from the rocket’s cooling exhaust. This trail and the sunset created a bright white jellyfish-like trail with a hint of blue.

This launch aimed to put into the sky 22 satellites that could orbit the Earth’s exosphere 550 kilometers above ground, and deliver cellular service on a global scale. The goal is to have up to 42,000 satellites orbiting the planet to provide cell service to places considered unreachable with cell towers. As of April 2024, about 5,526 satellites are orbiting the planet.

Musk has ambitious plans for the company in the years to come. Last year, SpaceX set a world record for launching 98 rockets in a year and having the highest launch frequency of a privately owned company.

Musk’s space fascination has earned the U.S. the rank of number 1 in the list of countries with the most space launches to date. SpaceX has plans for manned trips to the moon and Mars before the end of the decade.

The founder’s entrepreneurial past dates back to the creation of PayPal, a company started by Musk in 1998. Shortly after, Musk founded SpaceX in 2002 and later went on to acquire Tesla. While Musk did not come from a family of wealth, he showed that anything is possible with hard work.


Infographic on annual number of objects launched into space from 1957 to 2023 by country. Data by Our World in Data.


SpaceX has plans to launch 116 more rockets before the year’s end. A feat that would have seemed impossible only a decade ago.

“When something is important enough, you do it even if the odds are not in your favor,” said Musk.

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