13 Sep 2014

Rocket debris washes up in Marshalls

4:50 pm on 13 September 2014

The fuselage of what is thought to be a booster rocket from a recent NASA launch has washed up on the beach at Wotje Atoll in the Marshall Islands.

A U.S. Embassy official in Majuro says, based on identifying marks on the sections of the rocket that washed ashore it appears to be the stage one booster of a Pegasus rocket that helped launch an IRIS solar observatory into orbit.

The most recent launch was on June 27 from Vandenberg Air Force base in California.

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Photo: supplied

The official says the purpose of the NASA launch was environmental research, not weapons testing.

Staff at the US Army base at Kwajalein are to clean-up the rocket parts.