A Falcon 9 rocket making an uncontrolled re-entry appeared like an alien armada

Enlarge / A Falcon 9 rocket launches from Kennedy Area Heart on March 4, 2021. Its second stage returned to Earth three weeks later. (credit score: SpaceX)
A little bit greater than three weeks in the past, a Falcon 9 rocket launched from Florida’s Kennedy Area Heart carrying a payload of 60 Starlink satellites into low Earth orbit. It was the primary of 4 such missions flown this month by SpaceX.
The whole mission was nominal, apart from an issue with the rocket’s second stage. Sometimes, inside an orbit or two of launching, the Falcon 9 rocket’s Merlin vacuum engine will relight and nudge the second stage downward in order that it harmlessly re-enters Earth’s ambiance into the Pacific Ocean.

Ummm… simply caught this flying over my dwelling in SW Portland. pic.twitter.com/CvQJwvWsyj
— Vince LaVecchia (@vincelavecchia) March 26, 2021
Nevertheless, there was not sufficient propellant after this launch to ignite the Merlin engine and full the burn. So the propellant was vented into area, and the second stage was set to make a extra uncontrolled re-entry into the ambiance. On this case, the Falcon 9 higher stage nonetheless comes again as a result of when it launched the Starlink satellites, the car was orbiting Earth at a median altitude of about 250 km. This excessive above the Earth, it was nonetheless vulnerable to tug from the skinny wisps of our planet’s higher ambiance.Learn 5 remaining paragraphs | Feedback

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