The launch of 60 small satellites last week led to many people reporting they had seen unidentified flying objects, or UFOs.
The American technology company SpaceX launched a rocket carrying the satellites last Thursday from Florida’s Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.
The company said all 60 satellites were successfully deployed into low-Earth orbit. The satellites are designed to produce high-speed internet signals from space to people across the world. Internet users would pay for the service.
Each satellite weighs 227 kilograms and has solar equipment and a small engine to position itself in space.
SpaceX chief Elon Musk says his orbiting internet service, called Starlink, will launch in the coming years. Twelve launches of 60 satellites each would provide internet coverage for people throughout the United States, Musk said. He added that 1,800 Starlink satellites could provide coverage for the whole world.
Musk recently told reporters he believes there is “a fundamental goodness” to giving people in all parts of the world the chance to receive high-speed internet service. His project especially aims to reach areas with no current coverage or where services are costly.
The line of satellites could be seen passing over skies in the Netherlands early Saturday. This led to a rise in reports to a Dutch website set up to record UFO sightings.
The Dutch website was flooded with more than 150 sighting reports, the French press agency AFP reported. Many people reported seeing a train of stars or lights moving across the skies at the same time.
"There's a long line of lights. Faster than a plane. Huh?" said one report. Another person described seeing a "star caravan" in the sky, and someone else wrote, "I have it on film."
One unnamed witness told Dutch broadcaster NOS he had no idea what he was seeing in the sky. "Is it Russia attacking the US? Are they UFOs? Seriously, I didn't know," the witness said.
One Dutchman who knew about the satellite launch plans shared his excitement after capturing the sighting with his camera. "I cheered them on, the moment they appeared," he told NOS.
I’m Bryan Lynn.
Bryan Lynn wrote this story for VOA Learning English, based on reports from the Associated Press, Reuters and Agence France-Presse. Ashley Thompson was the editor.
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Words in This Story
fundamental – n. relating to the most important or main part of something
caravan – n. a group of people with animals or vehicles who travel together