It’s not every day you find part of a spaceship in Grand Cayman.
Sean Crothers was kiteboarding at Pease Bay, toward Breakers, on Saturday, when he spotted what turned out to be a piece of a rocket launched from French Guiana in October.
“It was about 100 yards off the beach when I first saw it. When I was done kiteboarding I walked out to drag it onto the beach. It was only in about 2 feet of water and I had to walk it out to deeper water to flip it over, then I could drag it over the shallows,” said Mr. Crothers, who works at Ocean Frontiers.
“My first thoughts were [it was an] airplane or something from space because of the colour and the shape. Actually, at first, all that was legible was “ce” in big letters … I was thinking of the Air France flight that went down off Brazil a few years ago. I wiped off the algae on it and read ‘pace’, then ‘olutions’. Then I started thinking satellite,” he said.
Ocean Frontiers owner Steve Broadbelt did a little online detective work to find where the space junk had come from.
He figured that the partial name on the 10 foot by 8 foot piece of debris was probably “space solutions”. “When I Googled that, I got taken to lots of sites about closets, but when I put ‘space ship solutions’, Arianespace came up as the first result, so I found it pretty quickly,” he said.
“It had half a logo from Arianespace Solutions and a serial number, so I went to their website and went through their photo gallery and matched it up,” Mr. Broadbelt said.
He tracked it down to a rocket French launch services company Arianespace launched from French Guiana on 21 October last year.
Mr. Crothers, who took the space junk home in his pickup, is now storing it on a friend’s property, where he said was showing it to close friends, but that it was unavailable for public viewing.
The craft was the first Russian Soyuz rocket launched from the Guiana Space Centre in Kourou, French Guiana in South America. That rocket set in orbit two Galileo GPS satellites – the first of 30 satellites planned for Europe’s Galileo constellation.
Please click here to view a map showing where the rocket was launched.