California residents were amazed when they saw a fireball of space junk shooting across the sky and dropping to a nearby ranch last week. Videos of bizarre visibility quickly spread in social media – and many wondered what the rubble was and where it came from.
The owner of the ranch near Hanford discovered on October 13 in his walnut garden the large piece of metal alarmed local authorities. Detectives at Kings County Sheriff's Office followed several clues, including the possibility that the object was related to the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launched several days earlier from Vandenberg Air Force Base. SpaceX denied that the debris had anything to do with the launch.
"I'm pretty sure not from us, the tanks are too small, the liner looks like different material, and it looks like it's orbitally reentering." A SpaceX vice president told Fox 26 before.
The European Space Agency also told the news broadcaster that the object would not come from one of its launches from Vandenberg Air Force Base as it specifically makes objects fly over water (19659005) After nearly a week of searching for clues , the officials finally got an answer.
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Vandenberg Air Force Base told Kingsons County Sheriff's Deputy that the property was most likely a fuel tank detached from a communications satellite owned by Iridium, a satellite communications company , The company confirmed to officials that the object was actually from one of its satellites, which had launched into space in the late 1990s and slowly returned to the Earth's atmosphere, the sheriff's office said in a statement to Fox News.
Fuel should be stored from this particular tank, which was used to change the orbit of the satellite in space, "said the Sheriff's Office of Kings County.
Iridium said that the tank must be checked before being officially can confirm that he belongs to the decade old
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"We have to see it. We may never be 100% sure, "said spokesman Jordan Hassin of Fresno Bee, adding that it has several satellites in low earth orbit.
According to Hassin, these are the first debris reported by the satellite after returning to Earth Earth had come atmosphere.