Soyuz Upper Stage Reenters Over Europe on Christmas Eve


According to Sat Track Cam Leiden Station Blog, the last stage of the Soyuz rocket that brought Dutch astronaut Andre Kuipers up to the ISS in December reentered over Europe, causing a phenomenon that was seen and recorded by multiple witnesses in Germany and in the Netherlands.

“At 17:26 CET (=16:26 UTC) I looked out of the window and saw a strange phenomena just above the rooftops behind us,” said Arnold Tukkers, a witness from Denekamp. “It looked like a very, very slow meteor fragmented in several pieces, like Peekskill but less bright,”  he said.

“I first thought [the meteor] to be an aircraft, but next I found something was not right,” reported Carl Johannink, an experienced Dutch meteor observer, “The thing sometimes brightened and became fuzzy, trailing a circa 8 degree long tail: the whole event looked much alike to the New Years Eve satellite decay of 1978, albeit being somewhat less bright.”

The observation appear to be consistent with information released by USSTRATCOM, which reported 16:25 +/- 1 minute GMT as a reentry time as at 49 deg N, 7 deg E.

The videos, below, has been captured by eye witnesses.



About the author

Andrea Gini

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Andrea Gini is a content strategy consultant specialized in companies of the space sector. He is founder of Space Safety Magazine, where he held the position of Editor-in-Chief until March 2015. Between 2011 and 2013 he worked in the European Space Agency in the Independent Safety Office, which overviews the utilization of the International Space Station. He previously worked as Software Developer, IT Consultant, and trainer of Java-related technologies. Andrea holds a BSc and an MSc in computer science from the University of Milano, a Master in Communication of Science from the International School for Advanced Studies of Trieste and a MSc in Space Studies from the International Space University.

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