Jacksonville, Florida – If you got out of bed just after midnight on a Monday, you’re not alone.
A sonic boom shook homes in northeastern Florida. Dozens of viewers called the newsroom and emailed about the explosion — and the fireball they saw streaking across the sky.
No, it was not an alien invasion or a missile. It was a crew of astronauts returning from the International Space Station.
The SpaceX Crew-6 landed safely in the SpaceX Dragon capsule off the coast of Jacksonville at 12:17 a.m. Monday.
Anyone outside was treated to an amazing light show and watched a huge fireball streak across the night sky.
The astronauts spent 6 months on the International Space Station, conducting more than 200 science experiments and numerous spacewalks.
The Crew Dragon capsule was traveling at over 17,000 miles per hour on its final descent, causing a sonic boom. This happens when an object moves through the air faster than the speed of sound.
He woke some people up, while others were ready and waiting outside with their cameras filming.
As the 13-foot-wide Dragon capsule blasted through the atmosphere, the heat shield reached 3,500 degrees.
This temporarily interrupted communication with the astronauts on board.
SpaceX has shared a video of the Dragon capsule deploying its parachute, allowing the crew to land safely off the coast of Jacksonville.
The return to Earth follows the launch of NASA’s SpaceX Crew-7, which docked at the station on Aug. 27. Over the past week, Crew-6 astronauts have worked to welcome members of the Crew-7 team and hand over operations.
SpaceX Crew-6 will spend a short time at Kennedy Space Center before heading to Johnson Space Center in Texas later this week.
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