Falcon 9 R/B (ID 47782) Reentered

Reentry Prediction
Predicted Reentry Time 26 Mar 2021 05:49 UTC ± 2 hours
Orbit Epoch
Prediction Ground Track
Falcon 9 Rocket Body (ID 47782) Reentry Prediction Image

Yellow Icon – location of object at predicted reentry time
Orange Line – area of visibility at the predicted reentry time for a ground observer
Blue Line – ground track uncertainty prior to predicted reentry time (ticks at 5-minute intervals)
Yellow Line – ground track uncertainty after predicted reentry time (ticks at 5-minute intervals)
White Line – day/night divider at predicted reentry time (Sun location shown by White Icon)
Pink Icon – vicinity of eyewitness sighting
Note: Possible reentry locations lie anywhere along the blue and yellow ground track.


Reentry Sighting

View of reentry sighting compared to central prediction time location.


Close-up of reentry sighting location and time.
Several sightings of debris reentering were reported across the ground track from Oregon to Washington starting at around 04:00:00 UTC on March 26.


Recovered Debris

Aerospace had done some preliminary modeling of the Falcon 9 second stage breakup, and had been preparing an estimated debris footprint graphic for publication, when actual debris was located in Grant County, Washington state [1, 2, 3]. 

The graphics below depict our modeled trajectory for typical elements of breakup debris from an upper stage.  This is a generic model that predicts typical debris from such a reentry.  Exact details are highly dependent on the exact point of breakup, and the structural details of the reentering object.

Falcon 9 R/B Reentry Trajectory Close-Up


Falcon 9 R/B Reentered Debris Predicted Footprint
The footprint graphic depicts the general area where surviving debris from the reentry is most likely to have landed. The individual objects shown are approximations showing how different objects may spread throughout the footprint; they are not to be taken as precise locations or as a prediction of specific surviving debris. While some debris from this type of reentry is likely to have survived, it is not a given that any debris landed near the locations that are shown. Debris from a reentry can land between 200 and 1000 km downrange from the breakup (the fireball witnessed by many observers). Low density objects, those with larger areas but less mass will decelerate faster and land at the beginning or “heel” of the footprint. High density objects (higher mass to area ratios) will maintain their velocity longer and therefore land farther downrange toward the “toe” of the footprint. Only a few objects typically survive a reentry and the area where they could land is very large – thousands of square miles. While the chances of finding debris from this reentry are small, if unusual metal objects or spherical objects are observed in open areas, it is possibly debris. 

DISCLAIMER: Aerospace is NOT encouraging an active search for debris.  Obey all applicable laws and private property rights, and do NOT trespass or violate any property access restrictions

Object Description
Reentry Type
Rocket Body
Int'l Designation 2021-017BN
NORAD Number
Launched 04 March 2021 @ 08:24 UTC
Launch Site
Mission Starlink Launch 17

NOTICE: The materials about Upcoming Reentries are for informational purposes only and should not be used as a substitute for specific technical advice or opinions related to your particular facts and circumstances.