October 17, 1999 Sarasota, Florida Last month on September 7th, Florida residents between Tampa and Sarasota called police and the media to report unusual aerial lights before and after 5 o'clock in the morning. NASA got a lot of calls, too, and told everyone that the mystery lights were actually a Russian rocket booster falling through the atmosphere and disintegrating over the Gulf of Mexico. NASA said the Russians had launched a communications satellite atop an SL-12 booster on Monday, September 6th, and that the SL-12's disintegration was expected. Major Michael Birmingham at the Space Command Headquarters in Colorado Springs, Colorado told reporters: "The orbital path of the booster took it over the United States. It's not unusual. We, the United States and Russia, warn each other of any launch and of any object that may re-enter so it's not mistaken for a warhead."
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