A large piece of a Atlas V rocket washed up at Palmetto Dunes on May 22.
On Tuesday, [July 27, 2010] that piece of rocket was unveiled at the Coastal Discovery Museum at Honey Horn on Hilton Head.
It turns out this rocket was launched April 22 from Cape Canaveral in Florida. Michael Rein from United Launch Alliance, the company that owns the rocket, drove up to Hilton Head to try to explain how part of the rocket's faring ended up on the beach.
"The plan was for the faring to come back, hit the water with such a force that they break up and the pieces sink to the bottom. This is the way it's been done for 50 years. Somehow this piece got caught in the current, 550-575 miles later it washed up on your shore," Rein said.
Rein said having rocket debris wash ashore is rare. He is excited to see this piece of space junk has become a real treasure.
"I think the neatest thing about it is if we can introduce any new community to science and technology and take the mystery out of it, it think it's a great thing," said Rein.