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SpaceX demonstrates that it too can shower the Earth with debris

Monolith found in Australian field actually a piece of SpaceX vehicle

Australian media has reported that space debris found in New South Wales was indeed junk from a SpaceX mission, including one piece measuring nearly three meters in length.

The black shard, found sticking out of the ground, is presumed to be Elon Musk's take on 2001's Monolith. The Register asked SpaceX to clarify, but we have yet to receive a response.

The debris fell to Earth earlier in July, and the three-meter long component was found on July 25. Australian authorities had been awaiting confirmation that the pieces were indeed from a SpaceX mission and, according to ABC South East NSW, that confirmation has now been received.

Astronomer Jonathan McDowell noted that the July 8 reentry path for the leftover SpaceX Crew-1 trunk was close to the Dalgety area (slightly inland, halfway between Melbourne and Sydney) where the debris was found. The lengthy shard also bears a distinct resemblance to the attach point of one of the trunk's four fins. Additional debris was also found.

As well as a reusable capsule, the SpaceX Crew Dragon has an unpressurized trunk, which features solar panels and fins. The trunk is jettisoned prior to reentry for disposal. However, it appears that some components survived to land in Australia.

SpaceX's Crew-1 mission was the first operational flight of the Crew Dragon, ferrying four astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS.) It launched on November 16, 2020 and returned to Earth on May 2, 2021. The trunk, it appears, made its own return somewhat later.

Utah Monolith

PSA: The 2020 monolith is a dead meme. You can stop putting them up now. Please


Crew-1 was notable for breaking the record for longest spaceflight by a US crewed vehicle, comfortably surpassing the 84 days of an Apollo capsule on the last Skylab flight. This was a vaguely ironic result, considering Skylab was also notable for smacking into Australia, albeit back in 1979.

The fate of China's spent Long March 5B booster recently focused minds on the problem of debris falling to Earth. US citizens may therefore be relieved to note that their rocket outfits are just as capable of showering the ground with fragments of spacecraft as their Chinese counterparts. ®

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