Experts weigh in on rocket debris found on Hilton Head - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina |

Experts weigh in on rocket debris found on Hilton Head

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By Michelle Paynter - bio | email

HILTON HEAD ISLAND, GA (WTOC) - The piece of rocket that washed ashore on Hilton Head Island has everyone talking.

Several people sent WTOC pictures of the space debris after it floated onto Palmetto Dune's beach Saturday evening.

See Rocket debris washes ashore on Hilton Head Island.

It's about 25 feet long and 14 feet wide and for now it's being kept at the Hilton Head Fire and Rescue headquarters.

Now, there is new information about how it may have ended up on Hilton Head Island.

WTOC has been in email contact with two spacecraft experts in the United States and in Europe.

Both experts seem to think the rocket was launched at Cape Canaveral, Florida.

Marc Roy with Ariane Space says the debris came from an Atlas rocket. Roy, along with ordinance service manager Steven Osmer from Patrick Air Force Base in Florida, believe it was from the Atlas V rocket that was launched April 22.

Osmer says it is rare for debris from these rocket to come off, but it does happen.

There is no information yet on if anyone plans to travel to Hilton Head and take that piece of rocket debris. It is still sparking a lot of curiosity.

Monday, there was speculation that it came from a rocket launched in South America, but now that some experts have weighed in, it's looking more like it came from Cape Canaveral.

The Atlas V was carrying the US military's space plane prototype, called a orbital test vehicle.

According to the Kennedy Space Center's website, the launch was a success.

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