Texas fireballs remain mystery - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Texas fireballs remain mystery

PLANO, TX (NBC NEWSCHANNEL) - The U.S. government says there's no relation between the fireballs that streaked the Texas skies Sunday and the collision of two satellites over Siberia last week.

"There is no correlation between the debris from that collision and those reports of re-entry," said Maj. Regina Winchester, official spokesman for the U.S. Strategic Command, which includes the Air Force Space Command that monitors satellites.

Jim Orberg, space program expert and NBC contributor, explains officials at Strategic Command came to that conclusion by noting the orientation in space of the belt of debris formed from the remains of both satellites, and that Texas was not passing through the belts of debris at the time of the sightings.

Numerous people across Texas reported seeing fireballs in the air Sunday morning.

People in Richardson, Plano, Burleson and near Corsicana reported seeing the streaks in the skies.

Kenneth and Jacqueline Terry said they saw fireballs in the sky as they were leaving church services at the Potter's House in Dallas.

"It was definitely five streaks of burning debris that lasted for about five seconds, and then it disappeared and then the white smoke stayed and it just started to go with the wind," Kenneth Terry said.

"It was really amazing," Jacqueline Terry said.

Air traffic controllers at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport also received several reports from pilots of a streak of light in the sky.

Some pilots said it looked like something re-entering the atmosphere, an air traffic source said.

The FAA notified pilots on Saturday to be aware of possible space debris from the collision.

Controllers also saw what looked like a vapor trail in the sky far to the south of the airport.

The FAA said it suspected the lights are pieces of two big communications satellites that collided in space on Tuesday, but the FAA could not confirm it.

The FAA said some Texas law enforcement agencies have found debris, but it was not immediately clear which agencies reported finding pieces.

The FAA said people who find pieces of debris should not touch them and should contact law enforcement.

Local military officials will collect and analyze the debris to confirm what it is, the FAA said. The debris field could stretch from New Mexico to Houston.

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