Locals Unhappy That Scilly Space Rocket Casing Has Been Burned

rocket debris_3Some off-island residents say they’re unhappy that part of the rocket discovered between Tresco and Bryher has been destroyed in a controlled burn on Friday and Saturday.

But Tresco Estate says they’ve been assured by rocket scientists that the public were completely safe.

Part of the CRS-4 launched in September 2014 from Florida was found floating off Hangman’s Island on 26th November and news of the discovery went viral on social media.

The remnant of the rocket was being held on Tresco, where it had been towed to.

Tresco Estate had hoped that the debris could stay on the islands, possibly as a feature at the Valhalla Museum.

But representatives of SpaceX, the aerospace company that produced it, would not let the Estate keep the find.

Tresco’s Operations Manager Dean Whillis says rocket debris is counted as military equipment so normal salvage laws do not apply and that means the rocket casing remains the property of SpaceX.

And the decision was made to destroy much of the 10m x 4m chunk of carbon fibre, epoxy resin and aluminium over the weekend.

That’s caused some concern amongst residents and on social media.

One islander has told us that the debris should have been removed to a mainland incineration facility, as the Americans appear to have the financial resources to do that.

Another local, who also spoke to us on the understanding that they would not be named, felt that burning this material in the open would not be permissible on the mainland because of the risk of inhaled toxic chemicals that could be released.

They told us that those burning restrictions haven’t been applied to Scilly yet.

Dean says the disposal was under the direction and observation of SpaceX, who are qualified in handling such matters.

He adds that Tresco Estate was, “reassured that the debris and any disposal posed no risk to anyone’s health.”

Radio Scilly understands that some sensitive material was removed from the remains of the rocket and the Americans also retrieved the United States flag marking from the casing.

Dean says the contingent also met with schoolchildren at Tresco and Bryher School, who are in the middle of a space project.

They also expressed a hope that the company will be able to send a permanent reminder of the recovery, and Dean says the Estate is looking forward to sharing news about this when they know more.



13 Responses to Locals Unhappy That Scilly Space Rocket Casing Has Been Burned

  1. Missed opportunity December 8, 2015 at 9:53 pm

    I burn all my combustible waste in my rayburn Its a brilliant source of free hot water and heat. If the rocket went up anything like plastic does I would have happily taken care of it for them! Would have lasted months.

    • Fred Up December 8, 2015 at 11:07 pm

      I hope that you’ve had your emissions tested, just imagine the pollutants coming out of your chimney!

    • Nojoke December 8, 2015 at 11:18 pm

      I hope you and more importantly your neighbours “have missed the opportunity” to inhale all those VOC’s and dioxins generated at just above ground level. If you don’t worry about your own well-being have a care for the children who might unknowingly be absorbing your cheapskate fuel into their body fat. Your Rayburn gets nowhere near hot enough to destroy the nasties in plastic packaging.

  2. Todd Stevens December 8, 2015 at 5:56 pm

    Military equipment so salvage laws dont apply? I dont think that is the case. If that were the case then why is the Receiver of Wreck still holding the MOD anchor we lifted from St Marys Roads two years ago. What about all the material lifted from the Association; Colossus; Eagle; Firebrand etc etc etc…it all had to be declared to the Receiver of Wreck.-was none of this military equipment? This artifact drifting here on the tide is wreck and must be treated as such. Spacex coming here and burning this artifact does not negate salvage protocol. The salvors are still entitled to a salvage award for services rendered.

    • ambientmorality December 8, 2015 at 11:37 pm

      Specifically, it’s equipment covered under the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR), which prevents export of technical data to other nations. By keeping the rocket debris available for the public to see, it would in effect be granting public access to technical data about American rockets and violate ITAR.

      I personally think ITAR is much too far-reaching and needs to be loosened a lot, but it’s a federal law and that’s what counts right now for SpaceX.

      • Todd Stevens December 9, 2015 at 9:53 pm

        It doesnt matter to the salvors what counts for spacex; -who would not have their property back to destroy if it wasnt for a few well meaning locals- who should be paid for their salvage efforts as is the law of this land- and the Receiver of Wreck should not be ducking the issue but ensuring the salvors are guaranteed to receive any salvage award as is their right.

  3. Old Sweat December 8, 2015 at 12:31 pm

    Surprised some enterprising soul didn’t slice it up for saleable souvenirs..

  4. Moan moan moan December 8, 2015 at 10:25 am

    Yet more locals moaning – the new Scilly national pastime? I can promise you that worse stuff is burnt every single day on Scilly. There is nothing going to happy from burning some carbon fibre, resin and aluminium.

    Where are your voices when you chuck your plastic in your bin to be burnt, which causes much worse issues?

    • Morris December 8, 2015 at 5:18 pm

      Couldn’t agree more when you think of the number of black smoky fires on Tresco in the course of a year this would have been something of a non event!

      • No smoke without fire December 10, 2015 at 10:26 pm

        If Tresco was included into the Local Authority waste management scheme like the other four islands there would be no need to burn waste on Tresco. Equitable inclusion has always been denied to Tresco’s resident council tax payers. Why should they be excluded?

        • Fred Up December 10, 2015 at 11:04 pm

          Could it have something to do with Tresco being a private estate?

        • Morris December 10, 2015 at 11:09 pm

          I am sure a private island has the same duty to comply as anywhere else, did the Environment Agency sanction all the waste fires this year and also the burning of the rocket waste?. I feel confident that the estate charges sufficiently to allow them to be fully compliant with all their business and environmental obligations.

  5. I do care about the environment December 8, 2015 at 9:32 am

    Unfortunately some locals just like to moan about everything and anything and are typically hypocritical..