Space debris falls to Earth in Hanford, Kings County Sheriff says

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Space debris fell to Earth in Hanford Saturday, the Kings County Sheriff’s Office said Thursday.

Kings County Sheriff’s deputies were dispatched to the area of 8th and Houston avenues in Hanford regarding a large metal object that was located in a walnut orchard by the orchard owner.

It was unknown what the object was.

Detectives reached out to Vandenberg Air Force Base and learned the object was likely to be a fuel tank from a communications satellite owned by Iridium, the Sheriff’s Office said.

After reaching out to Iridium, a representative from Iridium responded to the Sheriff’s Office where the tank was being stored. The Iridium representative identified the tank as being a hydrazine fuel tank that was formerly attached to a communications satellite owned and operated by Iridium — a mobile satellite communications company.

The Sheriff’s Office said he identified the tank as coming from Iridium Satellite #70. The satellite was launched into space sometime late 1997 or early 1998 and was in a low-Earth orbit until it eventually entered Earth’s atmosphere.

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