Local authorities reported on Friday (April 2) that a piece of SpaceX launched debris has appeared on someone’s farm in downtown Washington-about a week ago, falling rocket debris triggered reports of a “meteor explosion” in the Pacific Northwest of the United States.
According to the Grant County Sheriff’s Office, the recovered object appears to be a composite wrapped pressure vessel, known as COPV, belonging to the second stage of the Falcon 9 rocket, which was taken from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida on March 4 The mission was called Starlink 17.
The Grant County Sheriff’s Office wrote in a statement on Twitter: “SpaceX recovered a composite-wrapped pressure vessel from the Falcon 9 return cabin last week. The vessel was on private property in southwest Grant County this week. Found in.” The exact location or name of the man to which the property belongs.
The Sheriff’s Office said in a tweet: “Media and treasure hunters: We did not disclose the specifics. The owner just wants to be alone.
related: Falling SpaceX debris performs a light show in the sky
Although the Falcon 9 rocket successfully put 60 Starlink satellites into orbit last month, the second phase of the rocket failed to de-orbit properly after completing the mission. The second stage is the smaller upper part of the Falcon 9 rocket, which separates from the main booster and sends the satellite into a predetermined orbit.
Although the main booster returned to Earth to land (so that SpaceX could refurbish and reuse it in future launches), once the second phase completed its mission, it was either deliberately destroyed or stayed in orbit. Under normal circumstances, it will perform a “deorbit burn”, sending the spacecraft into a safe orbit, causing it to burn in the atmosphere above the Pacific Ocean.
But this time, something went wrong: According to Ars Technica, “After launch, there was not enough propellant to ignite the Merlin engine and complete the combustion. Therefore, the propellant was discharged into space, and the second stage was set to be further affected. Re-enter the atmosphere in a controlled manner.”
Therefore, the rocket stage did not burn on the ocean, but burst in the sky in the Pacific Northwest-not only in Washington, but also in the states surrounding Canada and parts of Canada-a fiery display can be seen-just at 9 p.m. local time. After the point, Thursday, March 25, or Friday, March 26, EDT (0400 GMT).
According to NBC News, the COPV found on a farm in southwest Grant County this week was about 5 feet (1.5 meters) long and left an impact mark about 4 inches to 5 inches (10-13 cm) deep on the ground. COPV is used to store helium to pressurize the Falcon 9 superior propellant storage tank.
SpaceX did not immediately respond to a request for comment. As the story develops, Space.com will provide updates.
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