Debris found washed ashore last month was what it looked like: part of a SpaceX rocket that possibly made history.
Outer Banks photographer Erin Everlee and neighbors found the piece, about 15 feet long, lying on the beach and reported it to the National Park Service.
It appeared to be a fairing or protective nose cone that’s jettisoned after a rocket leaves the atmosphere.
Officials with Cape Hatteras National Seashore contacted the Air Force and NASA to find out who it belonged to. SpaceX officials saw reports of the debris on Facebook and confirmed the fairing belonged to them, said Boone Vandzura, chief ranger for the seashore.
SpaceX did not say which craft the debris came from and referred queries to the park service.
The company gave Vandzura the choice of disposing it or waiting for them to get rid of it.
He was concerned about possibly destroying proprietary equipment, but was assured it was not something that needed to be kept secret from competitors.
“We’re trying to be neighborly,” Vandzura said. “We wanted to be sure there was nothing of value left on it.”
One piece of a rocket that came ashore in South Carolina ended up in a museum, according to a news report.
Everlee said she believes the Hatteras Village piece came from the March launch of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 from Cape Canaveral, Fla.
Storms off the coast this year created heavy surf on the Outer Banks that left behind unusual items, including a bagged body believed to be from a burial at sea.
The California-based private space exploration company has the goal of enabling people to live on other planets, according to its website.
SpaceX rockets carry supplies to the International Space Station and have launch stations in Florida, Texas and California. Next year, the company is set to carry a crew to the space station.
The Falcon 9 was the first orbital rocket to return and launch a second time, a milestone for SpaceX, according to a news release from the company.
“It means you can fly and refly an orbital class booster, which is the most expensive part of the rocket,” SpaceX CEO Elon Musk said. “This is going to be, ultimately, a huge revolution in spaceflight.”
Quelle: The Virginian Pilot