The Falcon 9 second stage rocket drew awe from onlookers in Seattle as it burned up in the Earth’s atmosphere shortly after 9pm on Thursday.
Front desk supervisor Eberton Paul spotted the blaze of flames as it passed by the city’s famous Space Needle tower.
“One millisecond I wished aliens were finally here,” the 36-year-old told the PA news agency.
“I was on my PC, and I often stare at the Space Needle, when suddenly I saw this bright light coming towards it.
“I first thought it was a plane, but then I saw the sparkles and I was sure it was debris re-entering.”
The SpaceX rocket had been delivering Starlink satellites and the company said on Wednesday that its first stage rocket had returned to Earth as planned, landing on a barge off the coast of Florida.
No damage or impacts were reported on the ground from the debris.