Several people witnessed a brilliant fireball, as the space junks of a Russian military satellite launched on Friday, burnt after entering the earth's atmosphere. A four-stage Soyuz-2 rocket lifted off from Plesetsk Cosmodrome in northwestern Russia early Friday morning, carrying a classified payload that's believed to be the fourth satellite for the country's EKS OiBU missile-warning network, according to RussianSpaceWeb.com.
The Soyuz successfully delivered the satellite to its intended orbit, the Russian space agency Roscosmos announced Friday afternoon.
The rocket's third stage was expected to re-enter Earth's atmosphere over southeastern Australia, with any surviving debris from that part of the booster targeted to splash-down in the Pacific Ocean south of Tasmania.
Many people in the region, from central Victoria to northern Tasmania, saw a brilliant fireball overhead at the appropriate time, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) reported. This was no coincidence; they were witnessing the fiery death of the Soyuz's third stage.
"The light show was not a shooting star or a meteor, but a rocket returning to Earth,” the Astronomical Society of Victoria vice-president, Perry Vlahos, told Guardian Australia.
He also said that the debris burned up on re-entry and none of it would have hit the ground.