SpaceX Falcon 9 Mission Displays Cool Jellyfish Light Show In Florida Sky

hero spacex jellyfish effect
SpaceX recorded its 51st orbital mission of 2024 in spectacular fashion, as the launch produced a jellyfish-like effect in the evening skies above Florida. The launch was also the Falcon 9 booster’s record setting 21st flight, with two other boosters close behind with 20 launches under their belt.

SpaceX launched the Falcon 9 rocket with 23 Starlink satellites into low-Earth orbit on May 17, 2024, at 8:32pm from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida. During the launch, a phenomenon occurred which left a jellyfish-like creature floating in the sky, trailing behind the Falcon 9 rocket. This “space jellyfish” happens when light reflects off the rocket’s exhaust plume in the atmosphere in the hours following sunset.

elon musk spacex launch
Image shared by Elon Musk of SpaceX launch that was taken from the Atlantic Ocean.

The space company’s Falcon 9 first stage safely returned to Earth about 8.5 minutes after launch, landing on SpaceX drone ship A Shortfall of Gravitas. The drone ship was reported as being somewhere off the coast in the Atlantic Ocean.

While 51 launches already in 2024 may sound like a lot, SpaceX plans to launch around 150 times before the year is out. So far this year, 36 of the 51 launches have been dedicated to launching more Starlink satellites into low-Earth orbit.

The entire Starlink constellation faced a challenge earlier in the week amid a powerful geomagnetic storm. VP of Starlink Engineering, Michael Nicolls, reported on X/Twitter that the rising and newly launched satellites “weathered through as well.” He added, “Conditions were intense - 2-3x density increase at around 300km (and even bigger relative density changes at higher altitudes).”

Luckily, the latest batch of Starlink satellites will not have to worry about any severe geomagnetic storms in the near future. SpaceX has achieved 346 successful launches in all, and 309 total landings.