A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket has taken off from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, sparking consternation online as social media users posted photos and videos of the spectacular launch.
While many assumed it was aliens, at 5:27pm (local time), the Iridium-4 satellite was launched as part of a series for the Iridium NEXT mobile communications fleet.
The space exploration technologies corporation tweeted confirmation that the satellite had been successfully deployed to low-Earth orbit.
The mission, which was delayed from October and late November, will use a previously-flown first stage booster, making Iridium the first customer to launch twice upon the same rocket.
SpaceX chief Elon Musk also joined in the fun, tweeting: “It was definitely aliens.”