A rocket piece, most likely from the unmanned SpaceX Falcon 9 that blew up after takeoff in June, was recovered off the Southwest coast of England near the Isles of Scilly.
The chunk of metal, measuring 32 feet by 13 feet, was towed to shore with the help of local boatmen, Reuters reports. The BBC says it was covered in barnacles and originally mistaken for a dead whale. The metal fragment bears an American flag and part of the words “Falcon 9.” UK coastal area commander Martin Leslie determined it was likely part of the spacecraft that broke apart on June 28, shortly after takeoff from Cape Canaveral in Florida, more than 4,000 miles away from the Isles of Scilly.
As we reported at the time, the rocket was carrying supplies bound for the International Space Station when it blew up.
“Pieces could be seen raining down on the Atlantic Ocean over the rocket’s intended trajectory. More than 5,200 pounds of cargo, including the first docking port designed for NASA’s next-generation crew capsule, were aboard.”
Pete Hicks, one of the boatmen who helped recover the chuck of metal, tweeted: “Towed in and beached a piece of flotsam earlier. Thoughts were could be aviation parts ..didnt imagine space race.”