SpaceX rocket debris found in Washington state after streaks in the night sky

Part of a SpaceX rocket was discovered in Washington state last weekend, days after bright comet-like streaks lit up the night sky over the Pacific Northwest, a sheriff’s official said.

The space company recovered the “composite-wrapped pressure vessel from the Falcon 9’s reentry last week,” the Grant County Sheriff’s Office tweeted Friday.

The vessel, which was about 5 feet tall, was found on private property in southwestern Grant County, in the center of the state, last weekend.

There was no damage and it left a 4- to 5-inch impact mark on the ground, said Kyle Foreman, a public information officer with the sheriff’s department. SpaceX was notified Monday and arrived Tuesday to retrieve it, he said.

It was not revealed where exactly it fell. “Media and Treasure Hunters: We are not releasing details. The property owner simply wants to be left alone,” the sheriff’s office said in the tweet. The Tri-City Herald newspaper reports that he fell in a farmer’s field.

On March 25, streaks lit up the sky over Washington and Oregon. Some thought they were from a meteor or comet.

SpaceX never seems to have publicly confirmed that its rocket was involved. But the signs quickly pointed in that direction.

The National Weather Service in Seattle tweeted that based on unofficial information, “the widely reported bright objects in the sky were the debris from a second-stage Falcon 9 rocket that failed to achieve a desorb burn.” An astronomer told NBC affiliate KING of Seattle that they were remnants of the Falcon 9 rocket.

SpaceX did not respond to a request for comment Friday night.

There have been no reports of damage from the Match 25 event. No other debris reports have been made to the Grant County Sheriff’s Office, Foreman said.

The Falcon 9 is a reusable two-stage rocket. The second stage delivers the payload. The first stage is designed to return to Earth and land. There have been 111 Falcon 9 launches with 71 landings so far, according to the company’s website.

Foreman said it is his understanding that the pressure vessel that was found is used for helium storage.

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