The Russian Defense Ministry has confirmed the Russian Navy launched a Bulava ballistic missile on the same day, but has declined to make any connection with the lights seen over Norway.
It confirmed the missile was fired from the "Dmitry Donskoi" nuclear submarine, but would not comment on the submarine's location at the time of launch.
Brekke said his center was bombarded with calls shortly after he arrived at work at 8 a.m.
He said he was stumped when the first still images arrived. But when video began rolling in, Brekke -- who said he was the center's first employee to theorize correctly -- said the moving images made more sense.
"There, you could actually see something was spiraling very quickly," he said. "Immediately, I thought this must be a rocket that had been launched.
"Typically, with rockets that fail, you will see it go out of control and start spiraling."