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Space Junk on an Australian Cattle Station

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Not all junk stays in orbit, and not all things that land are found. A Delta 2 rocket launched in 1990, re-entering the atmosphere within months. Yet it took 18 years to discover the rocket casing on a cattle station in the Australian outback.


Delta 2 rocket casing discovered while mustering cattle in Australia. Image credit: NASA

The Delta 2 rocket was used to launch the Indian INSAT- 1D geosynchronous spacecraft on 12 June 1990, but wasn't recovered until July 2008. The casing was part of the third stage rocket launch. The sphere was spotted by Mr. Arthur Taylor while he was flying a Cessna aircraft to muster cattle.


Try to imagine how big a cattle station needs to be to not notice a massive metal sphere crash-landed in your backyard for nearly two decades, and you'll start understanding why Australians laugh at, "Everything's bigger in Texas."