SpaceX rocket disintegration lights the sky of Seattle

Manoj Mahadik / Shutterstock

On the night between March 25 and 26, 2021, the citizens of Seattle and the state of Washington looked at the sky with wonder at what seemed to be a meteor shower. 

After receiving many calls from enthusiastic onlookers, the National Weather Service of Seattle explained that the phenomenon was most likely due to the reentry of the upper stage of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.

The rocket was launched on March 4, 2021, to deploy 60 Starlink satellites. Usually, SpaceX’s rocket stages are controlled to crash over the Pacific Ocean. However, due to an unspecified malfunction, the engine of the rocket stage could not be ignited again and has been orbiting the Earth since then. The Weather Service reassured local inhabitants, saying that most debris should burn up and not reach the ground. 

The Starlink internet constellation is going to consist of almost 1,500 satellites. Its goal is to provide access to high-speed Internet anywhere in the world. The first test batch was put into orbit in early 2018. Since the beginning of 2020 SpaceX has been launching 1 or 2 batches, 60 satellites each, every month on average. 


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