What goes up, must come down and the Falcon-9 rocket did just that after its ill-fated launch back in June. A huge chunk of debris believed to be from the rocket was found floating in the remote Isles of Scilly, which is southwest of Great Britain. The Space X Falcon-9 was unmanned when it exploded shortly after takeoff back in June and it has not only come down, but it has traveled quite a ways if this is indeed a piece of the rocket from that unsuccessful mission.
According to the Tech Insider on November 27, the ill-fated Space X Falcon-9 launched from Cape Canaveral and it was attempting to deliver supplies to the International Space Station when it blew up 139 seconds into the flight. It was later determined that a strut holding a pressurized helium tank failed and this caused the rocket to explode into pieces.
A huge piece of debris believed to be from the Falcon-9 was found 4,000 miles away from where the rocket was launched, reports The Verge. The large piece of the rocket that was recovered measured 33-feet by 13-feet. The Tech Insider reports; “It was the first Falcon 9 mishap after 19 successful previous missions.”
CNN News reports today that the large piece believed to be from the Falcon-9 craft was found by a boat captain who spotted the rocket debris in the water between Bryher and Tresco, in the Isles of Scilly. At first he thought it was possibly a dead whale, as birds were feeding of this large floating object. Once he got a closer look he realized he birds were after the barnacles on this object and not the actual object itself.
His first concerns were that it had come from a downed plane, but they got it ashore with help from the Coast Guard and found the origin of this drifting object. When they scraped the barnacles off one area of the object, it revealed the American flag.
After a little more scraping the word “Falcon” appeared, leaving little room for debate on where this object came from….space! Above you can see the rocket piece when first scraped to reveal the flag. In the next image you can see what it looked like after the steam cleaning of the barnacles.
Update: According to The Business Insider, “users on Reddit have suggested that the debris may have in fact come from SpaceX’s CRS-4, which successfully launched in September 2014.” After addressing the Falcon 9 launches over the past three years, the Reddit commenter believes they found the correct rocket out of the more than a dozen Falcon 9 launches.
The avid rocket watcher writes, “I got it! It’s the CRS-4 interstage. Image proof. The falcon beak ends to the right side of the “o” in “Falcon”, and the bulge above “n” is different on CRS-4.” The folks from Space X have not commented on this claim.