The space shuttle Endeavour and its six astronauts returned safely to Earth late last night as it made a rare night time landing at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, ending its successful two-week mission.
But to most of us who did not know about the space shuttle landing the event was quite a scare as we were startled to hear the loud sonic boom. Residents who witnessed the ‘deorbit burn’ thought that two planes had collided in mid air and crashed north of Ambergris Caye. Eye witnesses tell Ambergris Today that they saw this plane-like structure engulfed in flames, burning across the sky, moving northward with a long burning tail behind it. Shortly after, the loud sonic boom was heard over San Pedro Town and some residents even reported their house shaking.
Facebook and Twitter posts confirmed that most of Belize heard the shuttle’s re-entry overhead that took place at around 9:30p.m. The sonic boom from the space shuttle was heard as the orbiter re-enters the planet's atmosphere travelling faster than the speed of sound. Because the shuttle's landing flight path takes it over Central America, the Gulf of Mexico, and the Naples area as it cuts across the Florida peninsula en route to Cape Canaveral, Belize residents were able to hear the sonic boom — two distinct claps less than a second apart — about 10 minutes before the shuttle's scheduled landing time. It was quite a spectacle to those who were outdoors and able to witness it.