The anomaly that turned up on the beach at Hatteras last month appeared space-like for a reason.
National Park Service officials confirm the curved, 15-foot-long, white metal object is part of a SpaceX rocket, the Pilot reported.
SpaceX, the private maker and launcher of rockets that has “the ultimate goal of enabling people to live on other planets,” did not say which rocket the debris once belonged to, according to Boone Vandzura, the chief ranger for the Cape Hatteras National Seashore.
But the company has launched unprecedented reflights this year of its Falcon 9 and Dragon rockets, which had already made history in 2012 in the first-ever delivery of supplies to the International Space Station by a commercial spacecraft.
SpaceX contacted the park service after seeing reports of the object washing ashore, Vandzura said in an interview Friday. The debris has been stored in Buxton ever since it was discovered by Outer Banks photographer Erin Everlee and other locals on Oct. 8.
Vandzura said SpaceX gave his crew the option of disposing of the piece, but that he felt better letting the company handle that job.
“We’re going to have them come take care of it, rather than us cut it up or haul it away or ship it away to them,” Vandzura said. “It’s better safe than sorry.”