Florida residents were confused Saturday when they heard sonic booms ring out in the dark skies.
The noise was caused by Boeing’s X-37B spaceplane that spent over 900 days in space during its United States Air Force and Space Force mission, Fox 35 reported, adding the craft had secretly returned home.
The sounds were heard from Jacksonville to Orlando early that morning and most people did not know the origin of the booms because officials did not announce the spaceplane would be landing.
An Orlando neighbor’s surveillance camera recorded the sudden blast and “Some residents tell us it rattled their windows and shook their homes!” the outlet said:
LISTEN: This video from Mathew H. in Orlando captured the sound of what people think was a #sonicboom heard around 5 a.m. Saturday. Some residents tell us it rattled their windows and shook their homes!
— FOX 35 Orlando (@fox35orlando) November 12, 2022
“That was one of the loudest ones I have heard. It was heard over a very large portion of Florida,” someone else commented.
Meanwhile, the United States Space Force announced in a press release Saturday the X-37B orbital test vehicle had concluded mission number six.
“The X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle-6 (OTV-6), the U.S. Space Force’s unmanned, reusable spaceplane, successfully deorbited and landed at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center Shuttle Landing Facility on Nov. 12, 2022, at 05:22 a.m.,” the news release continued:
OTV -6 was the first mission to introduce a service module-a ring attached to the rear of the vehicle expanding the number of experiments that can be hosted during a mission. “This mission highlights the Space Force’s focus on collaboration in space exploration and expanding low-cost access to space for our partners, within and outside of the Department of the Air Force (DAF),” said Gen. Chance Saltzman, Chief of Space Operations.
“The service module successfully separated from the OTV before landing, which is a necessary activity due to the aerodynamic forces experienced by the X-37B vehicle upon re-entry,” officials stated.
— Eric Berger (@SciGuySpace) November 12, 2022
The X-37B launched in May 2020, according to the Fox report.
“The mission – called USSF-7 – included several experimental payloads for NASA, including an investigation on the effects of long-duration space exposure to seeds,” the outlet said, adding some of the mission was kept top secret.
The sign of its return to Earth was double sonic booms when it reentered the atmosphere, a noise that caught many Floridians off guard on Saturday.