SpaceX debris
(Image Credit: Photo by Brett Tingley)

NASA Officially Confirms Mysterious Object Recovered in NC Mountains is SpaceX Debris

NASA has officially confirmed that a mysterious object found on a remote North Carolina trail is SpaceX debris, originating from one of the American spacecraft company’s Dragon capsules.

“SpaceX has confirmed the re-entry of Dragon spacecraft trunk hardware to NASA following its service missions to the International Space Station,” the American space agency said in a recent statement provided to NC-based reporter Justin Berger.

“NASA is unaware of any structural damage or injuries resulting from these findings,” it added.

In May, The Debrief was the first to report speculations that the object had been associated with a SpaceX launch following its discovery, which was initially reported by WLOS News, an ABC television affiliate based in Asheville, NC.

In late May, the object was found by maintenance worker Justin Clontz along a hiking trail owned by The Glamping Collective.

The object, composed of metal and carbon fiber and measuring about three feet, was so large that Clontz had to use a lawn mower to remove it from the area where it was found.

SpaceX debris
SpaceX debris found on the property of the Glamping Collective in Haywood County, NC (Credit: Original photography by Brett Tingley of Used with permission).

Suspecting the object might be part of a SpaceX Crew Dragon trunk, based on its similarity to debris found in Saskatchewan, Canada, earlier this year, The Debrief reached out to Harvard astrophysicist Jonathan McDowell, who confirmed the likelihood of this connection, noting that such debris can survive reentry and that the reentry path aligns with the North Carolina location.

“It looks right and the reentry on Tuesday night passed right over this location,” McDowell told The Debrief on May 24, 2024, emphasizing that although it appears to be the same type of object, the debris recovered in North Carolina was from a different mission than the one associated with the object recovered in Saskatchewan.

“The Crew-7 Dragon mission’s trunk reentered over NC this Tuesday,” McDowell said at the time. “[The Saskatchewan] object is from the Axiom 3 trunk which reentered in February.”

According to McDowell, the Dragon Trunk section from the Axiom 3 mission reentered above Saskatchewan on Feb 26.

“We are discovering that the composite materials the trunk is made from survive reentry surprisingly well,” McDowell wrote in a posting on X.

Since its initial discovery, the object’s recovery has received widespread media attention. Brett Tingley, Managing Editor and reporter at, was among the first who visited the location and photographed the object.

“SpaceX has not yet reached out to the Glamping Collective about the purported debris,” Tingley reported following his visit to view the debris.

SpaceX debris
SpaceX debris found on the property of the Glamping Collective in Haywood County, NC (Credit: Original photography by Brett Tingley of Used with permission).

Currently, the Glamping Collective has the debris on display at its campground property in Haywood County, where owners’ guests are allowed to view it.

NASA says that an additional trunk similar to the one from which the NC has been linked is currently in orbit attached to the Crew-8 Dragon on the International Space Station. The Crew-8 Dragon will return to Earth later this year.

For now, NASA advises that in the event that suspected space debris is discovered, members of the public are advised not to attempt to retrieve it themselves.

“In the unlikely event of locating a piece of space debris, please do not attempt to handle or retrieve the debris,” NASA has advised. “Instead, please contact the Space Debris Hotline at 1-866-623-0234 or at”

Micah Hanks is the Editor-in-Chief and Co-Founder of The Debrief. He can be reached by email at Follow his work at and on X: @MicahHanks.