The mysterious piece of aircraft that washed
ashore in southern Hatteras village in early October may have finally
The piece, which measured approximately 15’ x 9’,
washed up on the beach on October 8 just north of ORV Ramp 55, and was
removed from the beach by Jarvis Towing on Sunday night and transported
to the Buxton Ranger Station. At that point, NPS officials contacted
NASA and the Air Force to see if it could be identified.
debris that may have been associated with the debris continued to wash ashore
for several days after the large aircraft component arrived, and the massive
piece made waves on social media, thanks to images by local photographer Erin Everlee. These images
and reports eventually reached a company called SpaceX, which manufactures and
launches advanced rockets and spacecraft, and which contacted the National Park
Service to confirm that the piece belonged to them.
It is now believed that the large piece is part
of a rocket created by SpaceX, and is a portion of the protective nose
or the fairing that pulls away after a rocket leaves the atmosphere,
per a recent report from the Virginia Pilot.
SpaceX provides rockets that carry supplies to
the International Space Station, and the company has a launch station
on the East Coast in Florida. It is possible that the piece came from
the March 2017 launch of a SpaceX vessel from Cape Canaveral, although
this has not been definitively determined.
For now, the large piece remains in Buxton
waiting to be picked up by SpaceX personnel. The piece washed up
after a month of September storms that brought high waves and winds to