This is the second time in the past year that a Falcon 9 rocket piece has been washed up on the sand of North Carolina. Measuring two meters by three, the piece was so heavy that local services had to resort to an excavator to simply remove it from the beach. This debris paints an unflattering picture of the SpaceX company, which nevertheless continues to claim that it wants to create space vehicles that are 100% reusable.
Earlier this year, SpaceX launched a dozen Falcon 9 rockets and it's a safe bet that the piece in question belongs to one of them. ‘SpaceX is working with the local authorities to recover this material debris,' states an advertisement from the firm. ‘Thanks to our advances in recycling and reuse systems, SpaceX is the only company that can recover the rocket and its reactors.'
Indeed, SpaceX has already proven several times that it was now possible to reuse part of the equipment used in its rockets for future takeoffs. According to its head Elon Musk: ‘If anyone can figure out how to effectively reuse rockets like we do with airplanes, the cost of access to space will be reduced by a factor of one hundred. A completely reusable vehicule has not been built yet. This is the fundamental key needed to revolutionize access to space.'
Rockets in the ocean
In October 2017, another piece of Falcon 9 found its way on a beach in North Carolina. The authorities had made sure no valuable parts were still around the debris, but SpaceX did not seem particularly concerned about its fate. The residents there were free to keep it or get rid of it. The newly-wrecked wreck, however, seems to have a little more value.
So far, Musk and his team feel there is no need to worry about the fate of these rockets' components, leaving them to just sink into the Atlantic. A recovery mission to save the nose of one of the devices (worth $ 6 million) that fell into the ocean ended in failure last March. If Musk really wants to create fully reusable rockets, he will have to prove at first that he is able to recover them.