Sonic Boom Heard After SpaceX Dragon Capsule Returns From ISS, Landing Off Florida Coast

A loud "sonic boom" was reported in parts of Florida after a SpaceX Cargo Dragon 2 spacecraft successfully splashed down in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of the state late Thursday night.

The return of the Cargo Dragon capsule marked the completion of SpaceX's 23rd commercial cargo resupply mission to the International Space Station (ISS).

The spacecraft undocked from the ISS earlier on Thursday, following a month-long stay in orbit above the Earth.

The 23rd resupply mission, dubbed CRS-23, launched aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket on August 29 from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

The mission delivered crew supplies, scientific investigations, spacewalk equipment and vehicle hardware to the ISS. It has also transported some scientific experiments back to Earth, ready for analysis by researchers on the ground.

"Once Dragon has been retrieved by SpaceX's recovery team, the critical science aboard the spacecraft will be transported via helicopter to @NASAKennedy and provided to researchers," SpaceX said in a Tweet shortly after confirming the successful splashdown.

As the Cargo Dragon capsule fell to Earth, reports emerged of local residents hearing a loud boom in some parts of Florida's east coast.

WOW!! I was able to capture @SpaceX Dragon’s re-entry tonight on our way back from St Augustine. I had no idea what it was at first! @ActionNewsJax

— Dani Bozzini (@DaniANjax) October 1, 2021

Action News Jax—based in Jacksonville—said it received reports of a loud boom on Thursday night from people located across the Jacksonville area, all the way down to St. Augustine. Some even reported that they felt their house shaking as a result.

Viewers of News4Jax, which is based in Jacksonville, also reported hearing a loud boom that caused dishes and windows to rattle in some places.

The news outlet reported that the sound was highly likely to be a sonic boom produced by the spacecraft.

According to NASA, a sonic boom is the thunder-like noise that someone on the ground hears when an aircraft or spacecraft overhead flies faster than the speed of sound.

Some people even managed to capture video footage of the SpaceX Cargo Dragon as it fell towards the ocean.

Among those was Action News Jax reporter Dani Bozzini, who spotted the spacecraft in the sky.

"WOW!! I was able to capture @SpaceX Dragon's re-entry tonight on our way back from St Augustine. I had no idea what it was at first!" she said in a Twitter posted that included her video.

More video of the SpaceX Dragon re-entry over Alabama tonight… from Nikki Ziello. A sonic boom accompanied it. Splashdown has been confirmed; it was the 23rd cargo/resupply mission to the International Space Station.

— James Spann (@spann) October 1, 2021

One Twitter user, Derek Galloway, said in a reply to the video: "I was just getting in with my wife and two kids and we heard a loud boom in the whole house shook right in the middle of Orange Park Florida that's a long ways from the coast at least 45 minutes to an hour to feel it way over here."

The spacecraft was even spotted in other parts of the country, including Alabama. Nikki Ziello captured footage of the re-entry over the state on Thursday night, which was shared by WBMA-LD meteorologist James Spann—who said that a "sonic boom" accompanied it.

After its ~one-month stay at the @space_station, the Dragon spacecraft supporting SpaceX’s 23rd resupply mission for @NASA will undock from the orbiting lab tomorrow at 9:05 a.m. EDT. Watch live beginning at ~8:45 a.m. →

— SpaceX (@SpaceX) September 29, 2021

In the reply to Spann's post, Twitter user CindyStriderAkins—a Florida resident—said: "The sonic boom shook our house and my heart is just now slowing down. Wow!!"

Another user, WAR EAGLE, in Auburn, Alabama, said: "One of the coolest things I've seen. I was standing outside in awe."

Another user in Georgia, Dixie Short, also reported seeing the spacecraft: "The view in southwest GA was gorgeous!!!"

Prior to the splashdown, SpaceX said that the Crew Dragon's may be visible in parts of Florida and Georgia.

Newsweek has contacted SpaceX for comment.

SpaceX Cargo Dragon 2 spacecraft
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, topped with a Cargo Dragon 2 spacecraft, launches from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida on August 29, 2021 for the company's 23rd ISS commercial resupply mission. NASA

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