The incident was recorded days after some people reported seeing a kind of “meteor shower” in the sky – what was later identified as rocket debris.
Falcon 9 is responsible for taking Starlink satellites into Earth orbit and is divided into two modules. While the first is reusable and returns to Earth, the second is released into the atmosphere so that it falls into the ocean or burns completely when reentering our planet. But, it seems, the procedure this time did not go quite as expected.
According to The Verge, the object that fell on the farm was the size of a punching bag and was probably part of a sturdy module made to pressurize the rocket tanks, called COPV (acronym in English for Coated Compound Pressure Vessel).
The Grant County police office, where the farm hit by the object is located, said it would not release further details and that “the owner simply wants to be left alone”.
In an interview with The Verge, Kyle Foreman, a spokesman for the cabinet, said that “neither the owner of the property nor our sergeant are rocket scientists, of course, but judging from what happened a few days earlier, it looked like they were possibly wreckage from the Falcon 9 reentry. ” The object was returned to SpaceX, which, according to Foreman, should not have been made since it was on private property.
Fortunately, no one was hurt in the incident, which brought an error many miles from where the object should have fallen. As we said, the second Falcon 9 module comes off and normally its parts stay in orbit for years, but some of them re-enter Earth over the ocean.
The COPV piece, however, ended up entering the atmosphere far from where it was supposed to fall, since the farm on which it fell is about 160 kilometers off the coast of the Pacific Ocean.
According to the Ars Technica website, the error occurred because there was not enough fuel to “push” module 1 back to Earth and, at the same time, put the second module into orbit, which made the reentry uncontrolled.
As a result, instead of burning over the ocean, the module ended up falling apart over the Pacific Northwest, with the event being observed in the sky in Washington and Canada.
Some people shared on social media the reentry of pieces of the module on Earth, classifying the event as a “meteor shower”. The Verge contacted SpaceX, which declined to comment.
See some images posted of the Falcon 9 module 2 re-entry.
The second stage of Falcon 9 burning up upon re-entry above my home in the Puget Sound.
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