Did you hear that? Crew-6 splashdown resonates sonic boom heard for miles

If you were jolted out of bed just after midnight Monday, you’re not alone.

A sonic boom shook homes across Northeast Florida. Dozens of viewers called and emailed the newsroom about the boom — and the fireball they saw streaking across the sky.

No, it wasn’t an alien invasion or a missile. It was a crew of astronauts returning from the International Space Station.

SpaceX Crew-6 splashed down safely in a SpaceX Dragon capsule right off the coast of Jacksonville at 12:17 a.m. Monday.

Anyone outside was treated to an incredible light showmassive fireball streaking across the night sky.

The astronauts spent 6 months on the I.S.S. conducting more than 200 science experiments and several spacewalks.

The Crew Dragon capsule was traveling at more than 17,000 mph in the final leg of its descent, which caused the sonic boom. It happens when an object travels through the air faster than the speed of sound.

It woke some people, while others were prepared and waiting outside with their cameras rolling.

As the 13-foot-wide Dragon capsule raced through the atmosphere the temperature of the heat shield reached 3,500 degrees.

It temporarily knocked out communication with the astronauts on board.

SpaceX shared a video of the Dragon capsule deploying its parachute allowing the crew to safely splash down off Jacksonville’s coast.

Splashdown of Dragon confirmed – welcome back to Earth, Steve, @Astro_Woody, Andrey, and @Astro_Alneyadi! pic.twitter.com/ph27m0wP30

— SpaceX (@SpaceX) September 4, 2023

The return to Earth follows the launch of NASA’s SpaceX Crew-7, which docked to the station on Aug. 27. Over the past week, the Crew-6 astronauts worked to welcome and hand over operations to Crew-7 team members.

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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