A huge weird object distinctly visible in the sky on 6 December left New Zealanders wondering just what it was, with imaginations running wild and many speculating it could be an UFO.
As those who witnessed the fascinating sight shared their impressions, Stuff website posted comments from excited residents.
Electron in the skies over LC-1. Beautiful shots captured by Hamish Pike. pic.twitter.com/bfl7sCh6jV— Rocket Lab (@RocketLab) December 6, 2019
Jason Wilmshurst from Katikati in the Bay of Plenty thought it was a large meteor over Rotorua, adding the object was "huge".
"It moved across the sky from east to west, heading towards Taupo," he said.
Napier resident Simoné Du Buisson said it was visible from the suburb of Tamatea, posting a snap simply titled Something weird in the sky.
As the debate gathered momentum, an official announcement put a damper on the speculations, as it seems the object was less a UFO and more of an electron rocket launched by Rocket Lab on a mission titled “Running Out of Fingers”.
The name, incidentally, is a nod to the tenth electron flight since they began in May 2017.
With UFO speculations dying down, nevertheless, excited netizens posted dramatic snapshots and footage from different areas where the launched object was visible, eagerly sharing their impressions and speculating what the object shooting across the skies looked like.
beautiful shots.... kinda looks like electon planted its seed in mahia.... here's to many more— Bryce Curran (@B_J_C02yk) December 6, 2019
Almost like hypersonic guided shell falling— S. North (@SNorth76093118) December 6, 2019
Does this have anything with the panspermia theory on the origins of life on Earth?— Just me (@Vuttu) December 6, 2019
Looks like sperm— Salah uddin (@salahuddin517) December 6, 2019
Hmmm... i didnt expect you to be so immature to draw a sperm in the sky... nevertheless great launch! 😂— Heraklit Norborakk (@heraklit_n) December 6, 2019
On 6 December Rocket Lab, a private spaceflight company that provides launches for small satellites to Earth orbit, launched seven satellites to orbit, as a two-stage Electron rocket lifted off from the company's Mahia Peninsula New Zealand launch site.
The mission was the 10th-ever launch for Rocket Lab, founded in Auckland in 2006, with a second headquarters in Huntington Beach, California since 2013.
The company traditionally bestows a whimsical nickname on each flight.
Thus, the first launch in May 2017 was called "It's A Test." Their second was called "Still Testing," while the third was named "It's Business Time."
The company is also in the process of developing reusable boosters.
Speaking of the current launch, Rocket Lab representatives wrote in the mission press kit:
"This mission will play a key role in helping us gather data and iterate towards our first full recovery mission next year."