Spirialing ‘UFO’ Over Australia Was Likely Falcon 9 Rocket


Logical explanations take all the fun out of UFO’s. After the Falcon 9 rocket launched successfully, later, over on the other side of the world, people in Australia saw a spiraling object in their early morning skies, about 6 am local time. Geoffrey Wyatt, from the Sydney Observatory, said it appeared to have been the Falcon 9 rocket, which launched about an hour earlier.

Another image below.

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The image is from the 9MSN website in Australia, where you can see more images.

If you recall, there was another spiraling rocket that created a visual sensation over Norway in December of 2009.

Hat tip to The Original Rocket Dungeon. Added later: Oh, and I see the Bad Astronomer has fully explained the whole thing!

Falcon 9 Launch Gallery; ‘Fantastic Day,’ P–G Singularity and More

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Universe Today photographer Alan Walters was on hand for Friday’s spectacular and picture-perfect launch of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket. Enjoy a gallery of images, including this great shot of a Prandtl–Glauert singularity, or shock cone that formed around the rocket, which sometimes occurs when a sudden drop in air pressure occurs when rockets or aircraft are traveling at transonic speeds.

“This has really been a fantastic day,” said an exuberant Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX, speaking with reporters after the flight. “It’s been one of the best days of my life. It’s certainly been one of the greatest days for the people of SpaceX.”

Falcon 9 launch on June 4, 2010. Credit: Alan Walters (awaltersphoto.com) for Universe Today.

Falcon 9 launch on June 4, 2010. Credit: Alan Walters (awaltersphoto.com) for Universe Today.
Falcon 9 launch on June 4, 2010. Credit: Alan Walters (awaltersphoto.com) for Universe Today.
Falcon 9 launch on June 4, 2010. Credit: Alan Walters (awaltersphoto.com) for Universe Today.
Falcon 9 launch on June 4, 2010. Credit: Alan Walters (awaltersphoto.com) for Universe Today.
Falcon 9 pre-launch on June 4, 2010. Credit: Alan Walters (awaltersphoto.com) for Universe Today.

Falcon 9 Flight Hardware Arrives at Cape Canaveral

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SpaceX announced Thursday that all flight hardware for the first launch of the Falcon 9 rocket has arrived at the SpaceX launch site, at Space Launch Complex 40 (SLC-40), in Cape Canaveral, Florida, which I was able to see earlier this week. The final delivery included the Falcon 9 second stage, which recently completed testing at SpaceX’s test facility in McGregor, Texas. SpaceX has now initiated full vehicle integration of the 47 meter (154 feet) tall, 3.6 meter (12 feet) diameter rocket. In an upcoming launch, possibly as early as March, SpaceX will test their the cargo- and crew-carrying ability, using a Dragon spacecraft qualification unit. Since SpaceX is poised to figure prominently in the future of human spaceflight, the upcoming test flight is crucial, both for SpaceX and NASA.

“We expect to launch in one to three months after completing full vehicle integration,” said Brian Mosdell, Director of Florida Launch Operations for SpaceX. “Our primary objective is a successful first launch and we are taking whatever time necessary to work through the data to our satisfaction before moving forward.”

Flight hardware for the inaugural launch of Falcon 9 rocket undergoing final integration in the hangar at SpaceX's Cape Canaveral launch site in Florida. Components include: Dragon spacecraft qualification unit (left), second stage with Merlin Vacuum engine (center), first stage with nine Merlin 1C engines (right). Credit: SpaceX

Following full vehicle integration, SpaceX will conduct a static firing to demonstrate flight readiness and confirm operation of ground control systems in preparation for actual launch.
Space Launch Complex 40 (SLC-40), in Cape Canaveral. Credit: Nancy Atkinson

Though designed from the beginning to transport crew, SpaceX’s Falcon 9 launch vehicle and Dragon spacecraft will initially be used to transport cargo. Falcon 9 and Dragon were selected by NASA to resupply the International Space Station (ISS) once Shuttle retires. The $1.6B contract represents 12 flights for a minimum of 20 tons to and from the ISS with the first demonstration flights beginning in 2010.

Source: SpaceX