Shelagh Fogarty 1pm - 4pm
'Alien-like' fireball stuns onlookers as SpaceX rocket burns up in night sky
26 March 2021, 20:04
Stunned onlookers in the US said they briefly thought "aliens were finally here" after a SpaceX rocket burned up in the atmosphere over Seattle.
The Falcon 9 spacecraft mesmerised eyewitnesses in the north-western US city as it fell through the night sky in a fireball shortly after 9pm on Thursday.
One observer of the falling inferno said he thought it was a plane at first, before noticing the rocket's "sparkles".
Front desk supervisor Eberton Paul caught the incredible moment the spacecraft passed by Seattle's famous Space Needle tower on video.
"One millisecond I wished aliens were finally here," the 36-year-old said.
"I was on my PC, and I often stare at the Space Needle, when suddenly I saw this bright light coming towards it.
"I first thought it was a plane, but then I saw the sparkles and I was sure it was debris re-entering."
The second stage rocket was being used to deliver Starlink satellites.
On Wednesday, SpaceX said its first stage rocket had returned to Earth as planned, landing on a barge off the coast of Florida.
No damage, impacts or injuries were reported on the ground due to the falling debris.