A pressure vessel from a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket stage fell on a man’s farm in Washington state last week, leaving a’4-inch dent in the soil’.
The black composite-overwrapped pressure vessel, or copv, was a remnant from the breakup of a Falcon 9 second stage. The stage reentered the atmosphere in an unusual spot in the sky after sending a payload of SpaceX’s starlink satellites to orbit.
A grant county property owner found the errant copv on his farm last weekend. He reported it to the grant County sheriff’s office. A sergeant was dispatched on Monday to check it out.
Spacex sent employees to retrieve the copv on Tuesday. Spacex did n’t respond to a request for comment. Spacex confirmed it was their’s.
‘of course we did n’t have a protocol for this, so we just erred on the side of returning someone’s property to them,’ said foreman.
A copv is part of the Falcon 9’s second stage. The copv stores helium at pressures of nearly 6,000psi. It is used to pressurize the second stage’s tanks of propellant.
Last week’s stage put on a spectacular nighttime show over populated areas in the northwestern us. The show ended up embedded roughly 4 inches into the property owner’s farmland.
Jonathan McDowell, an astrophysicist at the Harvard-Smithsonian center for astrophysics, had been keeping tabs on the second stage. The timing and location of the reentry was a head-scratcher.
The stage was not de-orbited under control on March 4. Spacex has said nothing about the stage’s reentries.