Chunk of International Space Station crashed into Florida home: NASA

(The Hill) -- A chunk of the International Space Station that was released three years ago crashed into a Florida home last month, NASA confirmed in a news release on Monday.

A cargo pallet was released from the space station in March 2021. It was filled with aging batteries. When released, it was supposed to burn up in the Earth’s atmosphere without any harm, but a piece didn't burn and eventually landed in a house in Naples.

NASA said the object that hit the Florida house on March 8, 2023, weighed 1.6 pounds.

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CBS News affiliate WINK News first reported on the incident and interviewed Alejandro Otero, who lives in the house where the object crashed through the ceiling.

“It was a tremendous sound. It almost hit my son," he told the outlet. "He was two rooms over and heard it all."

This undated photo provided by NASA shows a recovered chunk of space junk from equipment discarded at the International Space Station. The cylindrical object that tore through a home in Naples, Fla., March 8, 2024, was subsequently taken to the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Fla., for analysis. (NASA via AP)

Otero said he wasn't home when the crash occurred, but the incident shook the entire family. 

“I was shaking. I was completely in disbelief," Otero said. "What are the chances of something landing on my house with such force to cause so much damage? I’m super grateful that nobody got hurt.”

The piece was cylindrical in shape, and it was 1.6-inches wide and around 4 inches tall. NASA examined and confirmed the purpose of the object at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. 

“Based on the examination, the agency determined the debris to be a stanchion from the NASA flight support equipment used to mount the batteries on the cargo pallet,” NASA said Monday

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NASA said the International Space Station will perform a probe to find out why the debris survived when dropping through the Earth’s atmosphere. 

“NASA specialists use engineering models to estimate how objects heat up and break apart during atmospheric re-entry,” NASA said Monday. “These models require detailed input parameters and are regularly updated when debris is found to have survived atmospheric re-entry to the ground.”

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