NASA Confirms Object That Crashed into Florida Home Was Space Shuttle Part

NASA confirmed Monday that a piece of space debris from equipment dumped from the International Space Station was the mysterious item that smashed through the roof of a Florida house last month.

The cylindrical object stood 4 inches (10 cm) in height and around 1 1/2 inches (4 cm) in width. The metal piece weighed 1.6 pounds (0.7 kg).

It ripped through the Naples house on March 8 and was later sent to Cape Canaveral’s Kennedy Space Center for examination.

According to the space agency, it was a metal bracket for disposing of outdated batteries on a cargo pallet. In 2021, the pallet was released from the space station. The space agency said that a fragment of the abandoned Inconel-made space debris component fell onto the residence in Florida, despite initial predictions that the fragment would burn up upon impact with Earth’s atmosphere.  NASA models the process by which spacecraft undergo re-entry heating and fragmentation.

That single piece managed to survive.

The homeowner, Alejandro Otero, told WINK television station that he was away on vacation when his son informed him about the incident. When Otero returned home early to see how things were going, he discovered that something had ripped through his roof and floorboards.

After the orbiting outpost received and installed new lithium-ion batteries for power improvements, the space agency intended to remove the aged nickel hydride batteries.

When agency authorities discover debris that makes it through re-entry to the earth, they constantly update these models. For example, the worldwide space community watches the uncontrolled reentry of pieces of the 23-ton core stages of China’s powerful Long March 5B rocket, usually around a week after launch.

In its most recent Orbital Debris Quarterly News, NASA states that objects in Earth orbit weigh 17.6 million pounds or 8,800 tons. Additionally, the number of tiny satellites will likely rise. About 44 tons of space junk falls into Earth’s atmosphere daily.