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The State : Soviet Rocket Lights Up Sky

October 12, 1987

An Air Force spokesman said the bright, fiery light in the sky before dawn Sunday that startled viewers from the Equator to three Western states was a Soviet rocket body burning up on re-entry to the Earth's atmosphere. At the North American Aerospace Defense Command near Colorado Springs, Colo., Maj. Bob Perry said the center, which tracks objects in space from launch time, was aware of the rocket body and its trail of debris and burning particles as the rocket fell about 2:40 a.m., but was unable to comment on the space equipment any more precisely than to say it was the "shell for the booster rocket which lifts payloads into space." He said he did not know if it had been recently fired or had been in space for some time. Its mission and payload are also unknown, he said.

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