Some residents of the United States had an impressive light show that resulted from the uncontrolled re-entry of a Falcon 9 rocket into the skies of the United States. About three weeks ago, SpaceX launched a Falcon 9 rocket from the Kennedy Space Center loaded with 60 Starlink satellites. The entire mission went smoothly with regard to placing the satellites in orbit, but there was a problem with the second stage of the rocket.
Normally, the Falcon 9 Merlin engine will reignite within an orbit or two deployed satellites, pushing the second stage downward, allowing it to re-enter the atmosphere over the Pacific Ocean without causing damage. The problem in this case was that the lack of fuel meant that the Merlin engine was unable to reignite.
The propellant was vented into space, and the second stage was set up for an uncontrolled re-entry into the atmosphere. The rocket stage was orbiting the Earth at an altitude of about 250 kilometers, where it was susceptible to dragging from the planet’s high atmosphere. After orbiting for three weeks, the second stage re-entered the atmosphere over populated areas in Portland and Washington on Thursday night.
Videos were taken of people on the ground showing several pieces of debris glowing brightly as they burned in the atmosphere. It looked like a scene from a Transformers movie or another sci-fi movie.
The second stage of the rocket weighs about four metric tons without fuel. The rocket is believed to have completely broken in the Rocky Mountains, near the border with the United States and Canada. Interestingly, there is a possibility that some components of the rocket have reached the ground. However, there were no reports of any injuries and, at the moment, no wreckage was found.