National Park Service (NPS)

That’s no aircraft debris . . . that’s part of a SpaceX rocket

National Park Service maintenance staff hauls debris from SpaceX off the beach Monday. Photo by Janille Turner

Reprinted courtesy of the Outer Banks Voice 

By  on Oct. 15, 2018

For the second time in a year, a piece of debris from a rocket launch on the Florida coast has washed up along the Outer Banks.

On Saturday, Ocracoke Islander Janille Turner and Anthony Lippard, her husband George’s cousin, discovered a large piece of fuselage on the beach near Ramp 67.

“We flipped it over,” she said Sunday as she visited the site again. “It’s really heavy. We scraped the barnacles off it.” 

Her group took photos of the numbers on the debris and tried to determine its origins but didn’t find anything. “He’s an insurance adjuster,” she said of Lippard.

Later on Sunday, Angie and Chris Langdon near Ramp 67 on Ocracoke Island found the debris and alerted OBX Voice. On Monday, Turner was back on the beach when the National Park Service removed the debris.

SpaceX, the private space transportation services company founded by Elon Musk, confirmed Monday to Cape Hatteras National Seashore Chief Ranger Boone Vandzura that it was “hardware” from one of its rockets.

Last October, a 15-foot long section of a SpaceX rocket launched from Cape Canaveral washed up off Hatteras village.

National Park Service maintenance staff hauled off the latest find Monday morning, and SpaceX “was making arrangements to dispose of it appropriately,” Vandzura said.

While it was not yet known what rocket the debris came from, the most recent launch from Florida by SpaceX was on Sept. 10.

A Falcon 9 rocket propelled the Telstar 18 VANTAGE satellite into orbit from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

The first stage of the Falcon 9 successfully returned to Earth, landing on the “Of Course I Still Love You” drone ship in the Atlantic Ocean.

SpaceX media relations had not replied to an email inquiry Monday evening from The Outer Banks Voice about the latest discovery.

The Ocracoke Observer contributed to this story.

A piece of SpaceX debris on the Ocracoke beach near Ramp 67. Photo: C. Leinbach

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