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Daniel Tarr (et.al)

Space Balls


There have been a high number of mysterious spheres or space balls that have been recovered in the United States that we scientific proof of. The most famous occured in 1974 in Florida called the » "Betz Sphere" case. Another in the 1979-1982 timeframe in Alabama called "The Alabama Ball" and yet another one in 2008 in Louisana. The » "Betz Ball" in Florida is by far the most documented, however there is more evidence of "space balls" falling from the sky.

Similar spheres have also been found in Africa, Australia and Central America over the last two decades, local authorities say.

What are "Space Balls"?

Space Balls are a special kind of space debrish that fall from the sky on a surprisingly regular basis. There have been a high number of reported cases from all over the world. While many people believe they are the remnants of some kind of alien technology related to the phenomena of "UFO orbs", they are more likely to be related to human rocket technology.

The scientific explanation : Space Balls are a special kind of space debrish that ‘typically’ survive the reentry from orbit through the Earth's atmosphere and crashland. Space Balls are more than one kind, but usually are most commonly different kinds of titanium spheres that are part of the propulsion systems of various spacecrafts. The most common is the » Delta Rocket:

Texas Space Ball

Delta Rocket II parts: thermal blanket, combustion chamber, pressure spheres, propellant tank

The small titanium pressure spheres and larger steel propellant tank are two parts that ‘typically’ survive reentry. Also pieces of the thermal blanket are easily make it back to Earth, but usually go unnoticed. Sometimes pieces of the composite combustion chamber can also be found.

In September, the National Research Council warned NASA that space debris has passed the “tipping point,” The Post’s Christian Torres wrote. “There are more than 22,000 such pieces in orbit. NASA estimates there could be hundreds of thousands — or even millions — of smaller, non-trackable pieces of debris also in space.” Here’s a depiction released by NASA of what the space around Earth may look like.

NASA Space Debrish

» NASA Orbital Debris Program Office (Johnson Space Center)

One thing we have going for us on Earth: There’s a lot of empty land out there — and even more open ocean. The chances of debris hitting even one of the 7 billion people on the planet are about 1 to 3,200. As with the case of the mystery ball of Namibia, the objects probably won’t hit anyone.

[ Source: Washington Post ]

Here is a collection of reported Space Balls that have fallen from the sky. The list is in alphabetical order:

The Agena-D Space Ball

This is a titanium sphere from a U.S. Agena-D spacecraft that survived reentry into the Earth’s atmosphere and impacted Australia in the early 1970s. The sphere was used to store gaseous helium on the spacecraft for propulsion. It is not known exactly what Agena-D the sphere came from or when it returned to Earth. Airteck Dynamic made the sphere and the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory donated it to NASM in 1973.  Diameter 60.96cm (24 inches).

[ Source: Eclipse Tours ]


Space Ball (Agena-D Spacecraft 1972)

Agena pressure sphere (1972). Notice the rather large dent.

The Alabama Space Ball

Fire trucks, other emergency vehicles and helicopters appeared out of nowhere and headed toward the area where the object hit the ground. Codey drove to her friend’s house. While she was explaining what happened, more helicopters appeared in the sky. Codey and her friend Zack decided to follow them and see what was happening.

They arrived at a location called the Aquadome, a recreational center with a swimming pool, play ground and basketball courts. It’s right next store to Brookhaven Middle School. Codey and Zack were able to get within fifteen feet of where a Med Fly helicopter from nearby Huntsville, Alabama, had set down.

Decatur Police vehicles arrived and got between them and the helicopter. Decatur Fire Department trucks also arrived. One parked near the helicopter, while the others drove around in a circle as if they were closing off the area. What appeared to be black, military helicopters circling overhead. All this took place in the Aquadome’s parking lot.

Codey and her friend watched as emergency personnel loaded what looked like a giant pearl, a white shiny sphere, on to a stretcher. The personnel that dealt with the object were dressed in some sort of white, hazardous materials suits and seemed to be dusting off the sphere. After covering it with sheets that held the object tightly on the stretcher, they loaded it into an ambulance that pulled up near the helicopter and drove away.

[ Source: Worthyarticles

The Ashburton Space Balls

Throughout the 1970s, Canterbury was showered with space junk – some thought to be real; others proven to be fake.  Metal balls found scattered on paddocks from Lake Aviemore to south of Ashburton in 1972 are widely thought to be of Soviet origin.  In October 1978, two other pieces of space junk made headlines after they were found on the Eiffelton property of John Lovett.  It was revealed that three of his friends found some old aluminium fish floats, scorched them with a welding torch and dumped them in his paddock.

Documents released by US public records agency MuckRock  shows the lengths New Zealand scientsits had to go through to reach that conclusion.  Communications from 1978 between the State Department and the US embassy in Wellington show the fishing floats went through radiation testing and were examined by scientists at the then Department of Scientific and Industrial Research (DSIR).

According to a message the embassy sent to the State Department in November 1978, an Ashburton milkman reported an object flying through the sky on October 23.  ”John Lovett claims to have been in the paddock on October 22 and is certain the fragment, which was prominently located, was not in the paddock at that time.”  A second message from the embassy said it was “suspect” that the ball landed only eight kilometres south of where the 1972 balls landed.

“DSIR’s advice … that the sphere was a silicon-aluminium alloy with a melting point of less than 600 degrees caused doubt that a space object with such a low melting point could survive re-entry … even if shielded,” it said.

“The discovery of a second sphere on November 5, however, seems to increase the likelihood that the objects are indeed space fragments … “‘  Scientists thought “magnetic globules” on the surface of the balls were molten steel. Later that month, they were found to be welded fishing floats.

One of the 1972 “real” space balls is now in the Ashburton Aviation Museum.  Curator Jim Chivers said the US documents were a fascinating insight into the then government’s interest.  ”The finding of the balls created a great deal of interest from the United States, with much informational data and photographs being requested by their space agency.”  He said the level of interest from the US government was never known because all its information was classified “secret and confidential”.

“It appears from some of these no longer secret documents that it took quite some work before the hoax balls proved to be just that.”  He said the perpetrators would have been pleased with their efforts.

“Had they known that as well as convincing John Lovett that he had found a spaceball, they almost fooled the American space agency as well … They would have been very pleased,” he said.

[ Source: Stuff via Eclipse Tours ]

Space Ball (Ashburton)

Image of Inspector EM Connor holding the fake ball
found near Ashburton In 1972

Space Ball (Powerhouse Museum)

Ashburton Space Ball (1972)

Australian Space Balls

In the 1960s and early 70s there were several finds of space debris in Australia. A report on the Bellata spheres from the Weapons Research Establishment (which is part of the documentation provided to the museum by the donor, Dobikin stud manager Mr. J. T. Vickery), lists seven ‘space objects’ that had been found and reported between 1963 and 1973.

When the first ‘space ball’ was found on Boullia Station in far western NSW in 1963, media speculation as to its origins ranged from evidence for an advanced ancient lost civilisation in Australia, to debris from a damaged UFO and “Boullia Ball” became a nickname for this type of spherical object found in Australia and New Zealand (some were found across the Tasman in 1972). However, investigations of the Boullia Ball and later space debris finds by the Weapons Research Establishment (WRE), Australia’s defence science agency and forerunner of today’s Defence Science and Technology Organisation (DSTO), demonstrated that they were of definite terrestrial origin, mostly from US launch vehicles.

The first two “Bellata Balls” were sent to the WRE for examination and it was established, on the basis of the type of weld used in their construction, and lettering on one ball in the Cyrillic alphabet, that the pressure vessels had originated in the USSR. In the Cold War environment of the time, the Embassy of the USSR in Canberra declined the WRE’s invitation to inspect the balls and confirm their origin, but there is little doubt about the identification. After examination, the WRE forwarded the two balls to the museum in 1973, in accord with Dobikin manager Mr. Vickery’s wish to donate them to the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences. The third ball discovered remained in Mr. Vickery’s possession.

The two Bellata balls donated to the museum are made of a titanium/vanadium/aluminium alloy, a relatively light but strong metal. The sphere on display  in the Space exhibition is the most complete of the two, although it was partially melted away and shows a jagged rim slagged with congealed metal. The body and interior of the ball are spattered with other blobs of metal slag, but it is otherwise reasonably intact. The other sphere was burned through in two places, so the WRE decided to cut it into pieces for examination and analysis: only a segment of the original now remains, stenciled with lab markings.

[ Source: Powerhouse Museum via Eclipse Tours ]

Then there are these images from James Stirten who found this object 54 cm wide and weighing 20kg in 2007 at a location about 800km west of Brisbane, Australia.

Brisbane Space Ball (Australia 2007)

Brisbane Space Ball (Australia 2007)

Brisbane Space Ball (Australia 2007)

[ Source: Brisbane Times via Eclipse Tours ]

Space Ball (Powerhouse Museum)

Space Ball (Powerhouse Museum)

The “Bellata Balls” (above)

Australia Space Ball

This casing (above) was found by A. Taylor while flying over an area in Australia in 2008 surveying cattle. From markings it was determined to be part of a Delta 2 rocket that launched INSAT 1B in 1990. Depending on the remoteness of the area it is not uncommon for objects never to be discovered or discovered decades after they have entered the atmosphere.

Australia Space Ball


“The artifact, a hollow sphere, was sent to a meteorite dealer and collector, by friends in Australia  . It was recovered from a junk yard, where it had sat for almost eight years after it was discovered on a beach near Albany in South Australia (35.0″5, I 18.0″E).

The object carries no identifying markings. It is 90 cm in circumference, with a thickened polar cap on one side, and a screw fitting with a metric thread on the other. The threaded section is 42 mm in diameter, and bears a hole 8mm in diameter. The whole thing weighs 6 kg.”


April 1988: FOTON

A small pressure sphere from the Foton 1 satellite was launched into space in April 14, 1988 from Russia. It reentered two weeks later and was found by Graham Ducas, an employee of the Western Australia State Water Company while prospecting in the desert. The sphere was 6.5 gallons in capacity and is made of titanium; it has a 0.37m diameter.

Australia Space Ball

Micrometeoroid impact

Australia Space Ball

Ablation markings are clearly visible

Australia Space Ball

[ Source: Space.com via Eclipse Tours ]



A recently declassified Australia Air Force set of documents referenced a sphere which was found in late 1968.  Inkerman Station is a cattle property situated on 135,000 hectares, north-west of Normanton in far north Queensland.  The sphere was given over the US embassy in 1969 reportedly.

Inkerman Space Ball (Australia 1968)

A group of people posing with the object which is around 24 inches in diameter.

Source: memo 18 December 1968 from Royal Australian Air Force Townsville HQTVL/5/40/Air(62)

[ Source: Eclipse Tours ]


Inkerman Space Ball (Australia 1968)

A closeup of the sphere.

Inkerman Space Ball (Australia 1968)

Brazilian Space Balls

On February 22, 2012 a spherical object (titanium sphere) fell from the sky this morning in the city of Anapurus-MA Brazil, 28km away from the town of Chapadinha. The fall of the object, so far unidentified occurred around 06:00 this morning in the village wells, property of Mr. “Iron Leg”.

Space Ball (Brazil)

Tree damage from the sphere’s impact

According to the information after a crash that looked like lightning or thunder, the mysterious object came to the floor. With spherical object about the size of a cylinder of cooking gas.  The object hit a tree before rolling to the ground. It is believed the source of the sphere is from the reentry of the  Ariane 44L rocket body, also known as 1997-16C.

[ Source: Blog Interligado via Eclipse Tours ]


Space Ball (Brazil)

Brazil sphere showing a large dent and ablation marks

Space Ball (Brazil)
Novebmer 14, 2004: TELSTAR 402

An oxidizer tank was found near Belem (Para), Brazil in August 2006 related to the reentry of Telstar 402 which occurred November 14, 2004. It measured about 80 cm in diameter and was 1m in height. The owner of a farm found this tank 2 years after the actual reentry. The tank probably belonged to the Ariane 3rd stage rocket.

Space Ball (Belem (Para) Brazil 2006)

[ Source: Eclipse Tours ]


Space Ball (Belem (Para) Brazil 2006)

Note the marking from GE Astrospace.

Space Ball (Belem (Para) Brazil 2006)

An end view shows significant damage from the inside out.

This Space Ball object was found in Brazil in 2001 :

Brazil Space Ball

Brazil Space Ball

While we cannot be sure of the identity of this fragment, it looks very much like the Foton debris above and was found in Brazil (courtesy Jose Ildefonso) and derived from a web page by Flavio Tobler. This first object was found in Piaui, Brazil in 2002. :

Brazil Space Ball


The Guatemala Space Ball


On April 27, 2003 at 1535UT several pieces of an Atlas rocket stage launched in 1998 fell on a farm in Mataquesquintla, Jalapa, Guatemala.

The principal object shown above is 1.2 m in diameter and is spherical and was immediately transported to police headquarters in Guatemala City. It was seen hitting a hill and rolling down to the point where it was found and reported. You can see the trend that hardened spherical objects are more prone to survive reentry intact. The sphere bears keen resemblance to the Shuttle fuel cell shown at the top of this page.

[ Source: Sott via Eclipse Tours ]

Space Ball (Guatemala 2003)

The Louisiana Space Ball

Around 1980 while listening to AM radio broadcast covering a WVU bascketball game vs Ohio State with WVU trailing by five points with seconds left, WVU came back and the won the game at Ohio State, there was an ABC NewsBrief that said, to the best of my memory......


That a metal sphere had been recovered near Baton Rouge as this was where the news was being reported from, and that a metallic sphere had been recovered that was pearlike about the size of a bowling ball that had movements that was alikened to a Mexican jumping bean this was repeated twice back-to-back during the ballgame and then was gone the next day.

While looking for the box scores of the game, i looked also for the story of this mysterious object that i'd heard the night before on the ABC newsfeed and found it buried on the last page of the Charleston Daily Mail. Since then I have never been able to find anything about this incident. Would love for someone confirm that a very mysterious incident happened in Louisiana at this time.

[Source : Godlikeproductions ]

The Mongolia "Delta II" Space Ball


In August of 2011 US Air Force personnel were sent to Mongolia to pick up pieces of a Delta II rocket that crashed there.

Space Ball (Mongolia 2011)

This account describes the operation: “There was no beeping noise as the pickup truck laden with rocket parts backed up to the C-17 Globemaster III at Chinggis Khaan International Airport in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, in late August. It was just a Mongolian driver and a U.S. Air Force loadmaster using hand signals to communicate.

[ Source: AFRC via Eclipse Tours ]

Space Ball (Mongolia 2011)

Delta II sphere on the tarmac in Mongolia

An Air Force Reserve crew from the 729th Airlift Squadron flew to Mongolia to retrieve debris from a Delta II rocket launch a year earlier. Retrieval was necessary under the Outer Space Treaty of 1967 and the Rescue and Return Treaty of 1968.

The 15-person crew included three pilots, four loadmasters, two aerial porters and, just to be safe, a six-person maintenance crew with a pallet of spare parts and equipment for the C-17 Globemaster III, retreived a second-stage fuel tank and two hydrogen sphere, then returned the debris to the Space and Missile Systems Center at Los Angeles Air Force Base, Calif. “

The Namibia Space Ball

The hollow ball with a circumference of 1.1 metres (43 inches) was found near a village in the north of the country some 750 kilometres (480 miles) from the capital Windhoek, according to police forensics director Paul Ludik.

Locals had heard several small explosions a few days beforehand, he said.

With a diameter of 35 centimetres (14 inches), the ball has a rough surface and appears to consist of "two halves welded together". It was made of a "metal alloy known to man" and weighed six kilogrammes (13 pounds), said Ludik. It was found 18 metres from its landing spot, a hole 33 centimetres deep and 3.8 meters wide.

Several such balls have dropped in Southern Africa, Australia and Latin America in the past twenty years, authorities found in an Internet search. The sphere was discovered mid-November, but authorities first did tests before announcing the find.

Police deputy inspector general Vilho Hifindaka concluded the sphere did not pose any danger. "It is not an explosive device, but rather hollow, but we had to investigate all this first," he said.

What the story fails to mention: These orbs are not exactly a mystery. Rather, it’s becoming all the more normal to have metal objects falling from space. Tech blog Gizmodo suggests its likely a metal-lined composite overwrapped pressure vessel — just one of the many objects floating in space.

[ Source: Phys.org ]

This piece of intact space debris was found in Namibia November 1, 2011 and is believed to be a pressurant sphere from a Soyuz U rocket which lofted the Progress M-13M on October 30.  The account is described: “

A large metallic ball fell out of the sky on a remote grassland in Namibia, prompting baffled authorities to contact NASA and the European space agency.

The hollow ball with a circumference of 1.1 metres (43 inches) was found near a village in the north of the country some 750 kilometres (480 miles) from the capital Windhoek, according to police forensics director Paul Ludik.

Locals had heard several small explosions a few days beforehand, he said.

The sphere fell on Wednesday in a village of Riacho dos Poços in Brazilian Maranhão state. No casualties were reported apart from an unfortunate cashew tree that was severed by the object as it plunged to the ground, according to MR Notícias, a Mata Roma news site.

Valdir José Mendes, 46, told police the sphere landed several meters from his house leaving a one-meter-deep hole in the yard.

“I heard the noise and I went out to see what caused it. I thought it was a plane that had fallen, or an earthquake,” he said.

The noise was such that Mendes was too scared to go outside. However, curiosity got the better of him and he headed outside to find the cashew tree’s trunk snapped in half by a mysterious metal sphere lying in a hole nearby.  Some 20 villagers joined Mendes to help him extract the object from the ground and examine it. Mendes says the sphere is hollow and if shaken some sort of liquid can be felt swishing inside. Locals quickly spread the news, as they reached the town of Mata Roma over 2,000 people flocked to see the “UFO”.

With a diameter of 35 centimetres (14 inches) and weighing 5.9kg (1.98lb)  the ball has a rough surface and appears to consist of “two halves welded together”.

It was made of a “metal alloy known to man” and weighed six kilogrammes (13 pounds), said Ludik.

It was found 18 metres from its landing spot, a hole 33 centimetres deep and 3.8 meters wide.”

[ Source: AFP via Eclipse Tours ]

Namibia Space Ball

A photo provided by the National Forensic Science Institute shows a giant metallic ball, 1.1 metre in diameter and weighing some 6 kilograms (13 pounds), that fell out of the sky on a remote grassland in Namibia. Baffled authorities were prompted to contact NASA and the European Space Agency.

Namibia Space Ball

Namibia Space Ball

images by RT.com 

A strange metal ball dropped out of the sky and slammed into the remote grassland of northern Namibia recently, according to press reports.

The 14-inch-wide (35-centimeter) metallic sphere hit the ground about 480 miles (750 kilometers) north of Windhoek, the African country's capital. It left a crater 13 inches (33 cm) deep and 12.5 feet (3.8 meters) across, the Agence-France Presse (AFP) reported Thursday (Dec. 22).

The metal "space ball" weighs 13 pounds (6 kilograms). It has a rough surface and appears to consist of two halves that were welded together, according to AFP.

The mystery sphere was discovered in mid-November, but local authorities held off on announcing the find until they could perform a few tests. They determined it poses no danger to the public.

"It is not an explosive device, but rather hollow, but we had to investigate all this first," police deputy inspector general Vilho Hifindaka told AFP.

However, Hifandaka and his colleagues still don't know what the object is or where exactly it came from. They've contacted NASA and the European Space Agency for help, AFP reported.

Locals apparently heard several small explosions a few days before the ball was found. Similar spheres have also been found in Australia and Central America over the last two decades, local authorities said.

Quite a bit of space junk has rained from the sky this year. In September, for example, NASA's defunct Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite (UARS) — a 6.5-ton craft that monitored climate from 1991 until 2005 — plunged into the atmosphere over the Pacific Ocean.

Just a month later, Germany's 2.7-ton Roentgen Satellite (ROSAT) fell to Earth over the Indian Ocean. Nobody on the ground was injured by either satellite crash.

An even bigger spacecraft will plummet to Earth soon. Russia's failed Phobos-Grunt Mars probe got stuck in Earth orbit shortly after its Nov. 8 launch, and it's been circling lower and lower ever since. Most experts predict the 14.5-ton spacecraft will come crashing down by mid-January.

[Source : Space.com ]

Salyut Spacecraft Space Balls


This is another titanium pressure sphere used to hold helium apparently from the Russian Salyut 7-Cosmos 1686  spacecraft assembly which went out of control and fell to Earth as a fireball years earlier than expected. Controllers put the spacecraft into a spin and tried to control the impact into the Atlantic Ocean as 70kg of fuel still remained onboard. This attempt failed and after a bright fireball that was witnessed by many local people, some fragments fell near the town of Capitan Bermudez, 400 km from Buenos Aires, Argentina at 01:00 local time on 7th February 1991.

The 14 inch diameter, 7.4 kg, mostly titanium sphere is peppered with several hundred perfectly formed craters caused by tiny micrometeoroids which impacted on the surface during it’s many years in space. Opposing ends have a mounting rod and a coupling/inlet valve respectively – each has ablated heavily during re-entry and streamers of molten material have been blown back onto the leading faces of the sphere, clearly showing the orientation of flight. Dark scorching on one side of the main body is evidence that the sphere “flipped” during flight as external mountings and couplings broke/ablated away, and for a brief few moments this side was the leading edge before orienting itself once more. This dark patch of side scorching also shows a much lighter coloured “shadow” band where another part of the spacecraft, or possibly the departing mounting rod, momentarily protected this part of the sphere from scorching…..and left an outline image of itself in the process.

Due to it’s almost perfectly spherical shape and the high melting point of it’s titanium chemistry, the main body of the sphere escaped complete ablation of it’s surface, thus preserving the many micrometeoroid craters.

[ Source: Bimsociety via Eclipse Tours ]

A second helium tank from Salyut 7 was auctioned by Lyon Turnbull company. The description is identical to the previous sphere:

Salyut 7 Spacecraft – Helium Tank – fell 7th February 1991

This is a helium tank from the Russian Salyut 7-Cosmos 1686 (Kosmos 1686) spacecraft assembly, which went out of control and fell to Earth as a fireball, 3 to 4 years earlier than expected.
Russian mission control put the spacecraft into a spin and tried to control the impact into the Atlantic Ocean as 70kg of fuel still remained onboard. This attempt failed and after a bright fireball that was witnessed by many local people, some fragments fell near the town of Capitan Bermudez, 250 miles from Buenos Aires, Argentina at 01:00 local time on 7th February 1991.

The 14 inch diameter, 7.4 kg, mostly titanium sphere is peppered with several hundred perfectly formed craters caused by tiny micrometeoroids which impacted on the surface during it’s many years in space. Opposing ends have a mounting rod and a coupling/inlet valve respectively – each has ablated heavily during re-entry and streamers of molten material have been blown back onto the leading faces of the sphere, clearly showing the orientation of flight. Dark scorching on one side of the main body is evidence that the sphere ‘flipped’ during flight as external mountings and couplings broke/ablated away, and for a brief few moments this side was the leading edge before orienting itself once more. This dark patch of side scorching also shows a much lighter coloured ‘shadow’ band where another part of the spacecraft, or possibly the departing mounting rod, momentarily protected this part of the sphere from scorching, and left an outline image of itself in the process. 

Due to its almost perfectly spherical shape and the high melting point of its titanium chemistry, the main body of the sphere escaped complete ablation of its surface, thus preserving the many micrometeoroid craters. However, the irregularly shaped mounting rod and the opposing coupling/inlet valve have a thick layer of dark fusion crust with fine flow lines that are similar to the surface of a freshly recovered iron meteorite.

Some of the crater ‘pits’ were undoubtedly caused by other parts of the spacecraft that were ablating in front of the spherical tank during atmospheric passage and also by other man-made orbiting debris from earlier space missions that impacted during its 9 plus years in space. 

This tank has been the subject of much research into the composition of the craters at the Natural History Museum, London. A paper entitled: “Analysis of Impact Residues on Spacecraft Surfaces: Possibilities and Problems” has been written about this Salyut helium tank and was presented at the 3rd European Conference on Space Debris, with a proceedings paper.

Sold for £1,650

[ Source: Lyon and Turnbull via Eclipse Tours ]



Salyut Spacecraft Space Ball (1991)

However, the irregularly shaped mounting rod and the opposing coupling/inlet valve have a thick layer of dark fusion crust with fine flow lines that are similar to the surface of a freshly recovered iron meteorite. See the photo below:

Salyut Spacecraft Space Ball (1991)

Micrometeorite impacts on the surface

Salyut Spacecraft Space Ball (1991)

Saudi Arabia Space Balls

January 12, 2001: PAM-D DEBRIS

The image on right is of a large fragment that survived reentry on January 12, 2001 after falling in Saudi Arabia. It is from a Delta rocket third stage motor casing. There were no sonic booms or flashes in the night sky signalling its arrival. It was simply discovered lying in the sand, weighing some 70kg. This is a titanium case and located inside a PAM-D (payload assist module).

Note the similarity in the physical appearance of the picture on the lower left in this sequence and the  image which landed in Saudi Arabia :

Space Ball (Saudi Arabia 2004)
Space Ball (Saudi Arabia 2004)
Space Ball (Saudi Arabia 2004)
Space Ball (Saudi Arabia 2004)

[ Source: Skyrocket via Eclipse Tours ]

PAM-D Space Ball (Saudi Arabia 2011)

PAM-D casting found in Saudi Arabia

This particular module gives the satellite payload its final thrust and allows for some positioning maneuvers in orbit to release the spacecraft properly. The PAM-D completes its task and becomes space junk, eventually decaying from orbit.


This image shows an intact PAM-D connected to a satellite in the Space Shuttle cargo bay being deployed.

Space Shuttle Space Balls


Although I have a separate page for STS-107 reentry debris, the following are some representative examples of pieces that survived reentry. You can see how familiar these shapes are for other Space Ball objects that have survived reentry through the Earth’s atmosphere.

Shuttle Columbia Tank (2011)

Space Shuttle Columbia Fuel Tank


Eight years after the Columbia disaster during the Texas drought, the lake level in Lake Nacogdoches, Texas dropped such that a new piece of Columbia debris was found.

The sphere was one of 18 cryogenic tanks Columbia carried during its 16-day mission. It had been underwater for the past eight and half years, having landed there Feb. 1, 2003, when the shuttle broke up over east Texas during re-entry. It was uncovered recently when the lake’s water level diminished by about 11 feet during an ongoing drought.

[ Source: NASA via Eclipse Tours ]

Shuttle Columbia Fuel Cell (2011)

Space Shuttle Columbia Fuel Cell

Shuttle Columbia Space Ball (2011)

Tank found near a lake in East Texas.

South Africa Space Balls

UNKNOWN DEBRIS was found in April 2000 near Cape Town in South Africa.

Theodore Solomons sits next to the metal ball that he saw fall from the sky on a farm close to Worcester, South Africa about 150 km outside of Cape Town.  

A second metal ball dropped out of the sky the following day about 50 km outside of Cape Town.

Astronomers said the balls, which were white-hot when they landed, could be parts of a decaying satellite.

[ Source: The Living Moon ]


One such as this one fell in South Africa (courtesy W.Koorts) and these parts were located in a museum outside of Capetown in April 2000.

What was found was a steel propellant tank (1.7 x 2.7 m, mass 270 kg), a titanium pressure sphere (diameter 0.58 m, mass 32 kg), and a composite combustion chamber (0.76 m long, average width 0.25 m).

The small titanium sphere and larger tank are two parts that ‘typically’ survive reentry. This is at least the 3rd such instance where both parts were recovered.

[ Source: Eclipse Tours ]

Space Ball (Cape Town 2000)

Photograph: Enver Essop/EPA

Space Ball (Cape Town 2000)

Texas Space Balls

People gather around a spherical object, which may be a hydrogen containment tank, on a chicken farm in Nacogdoches, Texas, USA in 2003. The object fell from the disintegrating Space Shuttle Columbia

[ Source: The Guardian ]

The "Buna Sphere" Space Balls

A titanium pressure sphere was found by Dean Gentz in Buna, TX USA on or before  February 20, 2013.  The sphere was spotted on his property near an oak tree and was sitting in place for some unknown period of time before it was noticed; therefore, the precise date of its appearance is not known.  Due to the condition of the soil, there were numerous holes in the ground and there was no way to tell if it had landed and then rolled to its discovered location.

The sphere is similar in size, diameter, and circumference to that of the Namibia sphere of November 2011 described above, thus leading to the suggestion that it might be Russian in manufacture.  There was no visual sighting of any kind.  Mr. Gentz conducted a metallurgical analysis and determined the following composition: 91.25% titanium, 4.7% vanadium oxide, 2.05% silicon, .098% iron, .015% zinc, .013% molybdenum.

Texas Space Ball


The composition is consistent with titanium 6-4 based on the PMI (Powder Metallurgy International) machine analysis.   Weight of the sphere was found to be 16 lb (7.3 kg) and the circumference was 43.25  inches (17.02 cm), diameter 13.75 inches (5.41cm). Below is a selection of photographs of the first "Buna Space Ball". All photos taken by Dean Gentz.

Buna Space Ball

The sphere at its discovery location by Dean Gentz is shown in the above image.

The way Dean Gentz sees it, the odds of hitting the lottery are better than finding space debris on his property in Buna, about 36 miles north of Beaumont in Jasper County.

He didn't play the lottery, but Gentz hit the jackpot with the discovery last month of what he believes is debris from a NASA rocket.

"I picked this thing up on my pasture on Feb. 28, and in my mind I figured it was a kid's toy that blew across my pasture from the neighbors," said Gentz, 45, who has a 40-acre spread.

When he picked up the spherical object, he said, that theory dissolved.

"It was lighter than I had expected it to be," said Gentz, an electrician. "It has a plug screwed into one end of it, and on the opposite end, there a big melted piece of debris on it."

The metallic object is about 14 inches in diameter, 43.25 inches in circumference, and weighs about 16 pounds, he said.

Gentz, who works at BASF Corporation in Port Arthur, made use of his company's specialized equipment to test the metal.

"It came back as Titanium 6Al-4V, which told me that it was definitely from the aerospace industry," he said. "I know that titanium is very expensive and the only people that would logically pay that much would be the aerospace industry."

Gentz said the object appears to be a pressurized tank used to push fuel from a rocket during a launch. He said a neighbor who lives about a mile north of his spread also found a similar object on his land.

Officials at NASA could not be immediately reached for comment.

"I've found kids' toys and balloons out here, but that's about it," Gentz said. "My co-workers tell me that I'm about 20 times more likely to hit the Lotto than to find space debris. I guess playing the lottery is the next step."

Buna Space Ball

Sphere overview

Buna Space Ball

Photos of the Buna sphere show details of apparent ablation, burn marks, and pitting.  There is a plug at both ends. The one shown above is melted.

Buna Space Ball

The photo above shows what appears to be a hexagonal nut with small safety wire holes. There are also what seems to be the numbers “413″ engraved on the side.

Buna Space Ball

The image above shows the seam around the periphery of the sphere.

The mystery surrounding this sphere became even more complex when a second sphere was discovered on March 10 about 1 mile (1.6km) from the first sphere. On March 6 a third sphere was found also close by and reported to me on March 19. On April 16, quite by accident a fourth sphere was reported about 1.5 miles (<3km) from sphere#1.

Buna Space Ball

Google Earth map showing the approximate locations of the 4 Buna, TX spheres.

Buna Space Ball

Paul Maley and spheres 1, 2, and 4 (left to right), in order of their discovery. Sphere 3 was not available at the time.

Buna Space Ball

Buna sphere#2

Buna Space Ball

Buna sphere#3

Buna Space Ball

Buna spheres 1 and 3

Buna Space Ball

Buna sphere#4 was discovered in woods

Buna Space Ball

Buna spheres 1 and 4

The spheres have these aspects in common: all were found within 2 miles of one another, all are made of titanium, all have a welded equatorial band, all have the same diameter and circumference as well as empty weight, all show ‘signs’ of possible ablation, all (except for sphere#1) show no markings, all have two ‘plugs’ at opposite ends where one plug appears melted, the other is a 6-sided nut that appeared more or less intact.  One space debris candidate suggested is the CZ-4B Chinese 3rd stage rocket (2012-21C)  which reentered over the area on February 27.  However, the discovery date of sphere#1 conflicts with that date.  The evidence of space debris is intriguing but circumstantial.  As of April 26, the investigation continues.

[ Source: Beaumenton Enterprise and Eclipse Tours ]

The Texas "Delta II" Space Ball

January 27, 1997: DELTA II ROCKET

Another form of space debris is that which reenters the earth’s atmosphere and is recovered on the ground. An example of this is the rocket carrier from the satellite known as the Midcourse Space Experiment (MSX) launched in 1996. MSX rode atop a Delta rocket. Because the MSX satellite used the Space Shuttle as a target for some of its sensors, it was considered a ‘payload’ to be followed at the NASA Johnson Space Center. I was designated as the project engineer for MSX at the time. On January 22, 1997, the Delta rocket carrier fell to earth near Georgetown and Seguin, Texas.

Most of the structure disintegrated, but two large pieces survived the reentry and were recovered and sent to Houston. The following photos show a titanium sphere and portion of tank structure, respectively. A woman was ‘hit’ by piece of thermal blanket.

Lottie Williams (44 years old at the time) was grazed by a lightweight fragment of charred woven material (10 x 13 cm)material that was later identified from the reentry of the MSX Delta rocket (launched April 1996) that reentered the atmosphere in 1997. She was walking laps with friends in a park located at 66th Street North and Lewis Avenue at 330am in Tulsa, Oklahoma on January 22.  At that time they saw what appeared to be a fireball streaking across the sky and breaking up into pieces. Then about 30 minutes later something hit her on the shoulder. It appeared as pieces of metal fabric that melted together.  The reentry itself was seen by many including Tulsa police officers who were involved in a 9-hour standoff at a home in north Tulsa.

[ Source: TULSA WORLD, Jan 23, 1997 via Eclipse Tours ]

Texas Space Ball


New Zealand Space Balls


The following is an account of the discovery of one of a number of metal spheres found in NewZealand between 1970 and 1972.

The ball was part of a Russian spacecraft that fell out of orbit above the South Island on April 3. South Island residents reported rumbling and lights in the sky on the night of the incident. Over the next few weeks, farmers around Ashburton discovered five of the large metal ”space balls” on their property.

The release of government files on UFO sightings, including the official report on the Ashburton Space Balls, has cast fresh light on the incident.  O’Sullivan was 17 when he discovered his space ball on May 11.

”I remember it well. I picked it up myself. It was in a turnip field. I saw this mound in the paddock and I thought it was a dead sheep. I went closer and there was this metal ball lying there next to a bit of a hollow about three feet away,” he said.

”I picked it up and carried it back to the truck. It was sitting on my lap in the truck on the way back to the farm. We called the police and the first thing they did was get everyone to stay away from the scene and then a policeman hung his wristwatch over it to see if it was radioactive. I thought: ‘It’s a bit late for that, it has been sitting on my lap on the way back.”

The ball was taken away for investigation by the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research.  The government report states the balls were found not to be radioactive in testing at a laboratory in Christchurch. The report concluded the balls were part of the Russian rocket Kosmos 482 which failed when launching a Venus probe. The balls, which had Russian markings, were used to pressurise fuel tanks or as stabilization jets, the report states.

Russia refused to lay claim to the debris and so the balls were returned to the farmers that found them. O’Sullivan said he once put the ball on eBay with a reserve of $500,000, but it did not sell.  ”It is pretty unique. There are not too many of these that fell from a spacecraft. How do you value it? What price would you put on it? It is not something you would sell to a scrap dealer,” he said.

John Lindores found a space ball on his property on April 3. The ball is on permanent loan to the Ashburton Aviation Museum.  ”We thought it was an April Fool’s joke to start with. The police came and took it away. It caused quite a stir at the time. They treated it with great care because they were afraid it was radioactive. They took it to Ashburton jail and locked it up for the night.”

[ Source: Stuff via Eclipse Tours ]

New Zealand Space Ball with Denis O’Sullivan

“Ashburton farmer Denis O’Sullivan received a gift from outer space nearly forty years ago.  A 20 kilogram, titanium sphere the size of a beachball dropped from the heavens onto his farm in 1972 and has been kept in a corner of his lounge ever since.

Ashburton Space Ball

A second metal ball found in the region.

The Sweedish Metal Ball


I received an account from the 1970s that describes a metal sphere that landed in Sweden. Source: Rolf Arvidsson.  Mr. Arvidsson reports:

“The metal “ball” was found in the early 1970′s (?) by Forest Officer Poul Neergaard-Petersen (1923-2003) in a remote bog some 5-7 km SW of Torup in south western Sweden. He brought it home and it was placed as a garden decoration. He and his wife Karen thought it was dropped from the bomber streams (RAF and USAAF) on their way to Germany during WW2.

The husband of the nice lady in one of the pictures, … found it some forty years ago. He passed away in 2003, so it will not be possible to have a more exact date.  It is still “in safe hands” in Sweden. The perimeter is 133 cm, so the diameter must be 42 cm (133 / 3.14). There is also one line saying: 21.40 LBS. I estimated the weight to approx. 10 kgs, and it corresponds well to the weight in lbs. There is also some small signs of melted metal on the surface. No part of the “ball” is magnetic…There is quite a lot of more writing on the surface, but hard to read. We have tried IR-light without success. 

The Sweedish Metal Ball

English text on the sphere. T.Fagerstrom photo.

Given the ablative appearance on parts of the sphere and the writing, the NASA Johnson Space Center Orbital Debris Office suggests that this object is likely a GN2 tank from an Agena rocket stage. Identification with a particular space mission is unknown although the following three missions are candidates: 1961-001B, 1964-052B, and 1967-073B.

[ Source: Eclipse Tours ]

The Sweedish Metal Ball

The sphere as photographed by T. Fagerstrom.

The Sweedish Metal Ball

The sphere in the hands of its current owner.
(photo by R. Arvidsson)

The Sweedish Metal Ball

Thailand Space Ball

January 13, 2005: PAM-D DEBRIS

According to the NASA Orbital Debris Newsletter:

“For the third time in four years, a PAM-D (Payload Assist Module – Delta) solid rocket motor casing has been recovered after an uncontrolled atmospheric reentry. Coincidentally, all three reentries occurred during the month of January in the years 2001, 2004, and 2005. All were also utilized in the deployment of NAVSTAR spacecraft for the U.S. Global Positioning System (GPS).

The most recent event occurred on 13 January 2005 when the NAVSTAR 49 PAMD (2000-071C, U.S. Satellite Number 26607) reentered over Asia. The titanium casing of the STAR-48B solid rocket motor was subsequently found near Bangkok, Thailand (Figure 1). The egg-shaped object had a diameter of 1.2 m and a mass of more than 50 kg and closely resembled the casings found in Saudi Arabia in January 2001 and in Argentina in January 2004.

Wyoming Space Ball

Above is an image of a PAM-D casing found in Thailand.  

“The Star-48 rocket motor, which is connected to the satellite until the motor is done firing, completed its mission and began orbiting the Earth. The titanium rocket motor casing reentered Earth’s atmosphere Jan. 13, 2005. The motor landed in the rural province of Chachoengsa, Thailand (about 100 km east of Bangkok), and reportedly bounced approximately 200 meters. Fortunately, there were no reported injuries or damages. Shortly thereafter, the local Thai police recovered the debris, and Thai government officials shortly began making plans to put the debris in a museum. However, the U.S. Department of State and its embassy staff in Bangkok began negotiations with Thai officials to recover the rocket motor and have it returned to the United States for reentry orbit analysis.

1st Lt. Cassandra Putman, Delta II Propulsion and Ordnance Office, took charge in getting the debris returned to the Space and Missle Systems Center. Local Pacific Air Forces reservist, Maj. Mike Zellmer, who has logistics experience in Thailand, contacted the Joint U.S. Military Advisory Group, Thailand, and advised them of the situation. The cooperation with JUSMAGTHAI was the catalyst that set the recovery and movement efforts back to the United States in motion.

JUSMAGTHAI coordinated all transfer agreements with the Thai government and arranged movement of the debris back to the United States while Lt Putman managed and monitored the recovery effort from here at SMC.

Just as the debris was being manifested and load-planned for an Air Mobility Command mission back to U.S. soil, the Thai government was hit with a political coup. However, the coup proved to be relatively benign to the recovery mission there and the debris was airlifted after a short hiatus. “

Each launch of a NAVSTAR spacecraft left a PAM-D in a highly elliptical orbit of approximately 200 km by 20,000 km. During the period January 2001 through January 2005, a total of 10 of these rocket bodies, with ages ranging from 3 to 10 years, reentered with a 30 percent recovery rate, a rate consistent with the ratio of Earth’s land to water area. Orbital inclinations of the 10 stages ranged from 22deg to 39deg, limiting reentries to between 39deg North and 39deg South latitude.”

[ Source: Los Angeles Times via Eclipse Tours ]

The Wyoming Space Ball


A pressure sphere from a Russian rocket stage was recovered in Wyoming, USA on March 21. (Source: Craig Daily Press, Craig CO, April 9, 2011). The rocket was launched January 20, 2011 associated with the Electro-L mission.

Wyoming Space Ball

Robert Dunn poses with the sphere in its resident location.
(Photo by Elizabeth Campbell)

It was discovered by Wyoming resident Robert Dunn who reportedly found the tank while still warm to the touch.

The tank was determined to be 30 inches (12cm) in diameter and left a crater about 12 inches (4.8cm) deep and three feet (14.4cm) wide.

[ Source: Eclipse Tours ]

Wyoming Space Ball

Titanium sphere (photo by Elizabeth Campbell)

Wyoming Space Ball

Photo by Elizabeth Campbell

Wyoming Space Ball

The condition of the tank appears to be fairly good with a depression on the right lower side.
(Photo by Michelle Balleck)

Unknown Space Balls

These spheres were found in Kazakstan (May 14. 2009.) :

Kazakstan Space Ball

Titanium sphere advertised for sale in 2009. [ Source: Collect Space ] :

Space Ball

Discoverd in Mexico (location not known) this object is in private hands.  It has sustained damage at both ends 2008. [ Source: Openminds.tv ] :

Space Ball

Another similar object fell in Rio Goias, Brazil around March 24, 2008. [ Source: Noticias ] :

Space Ball
Space Ball

A titanium rocket casing fell near the town of San Roque, Argentina January 20, 2004.

Accounts indicate that the object leaked a yellow liquid. No injuries were reported from the impact which occurred in the afternoon in a field belonging to the Bolo family 15km from the city of San Roque. (Thanks to Luis Augusto Reggiardo for this information.)

It was measured to be 3.m around, 1.6m long, 1.4m wide weighing about 45kg. Boeing serial numbers A41-8106037501-S or 1060370-501F (information is not clear) were identified:

The recovered debris is believed from a Delta launch October 26, 1993 to place the NAVSTAR-34 GPS into orbit.

Space Ball

Space Ball

Two space spheres on display in the patio of the Firmat Museum in Santa Fe, Argentina. [ Source: Openminds.tv ]

Space Ball

A pressure vessel on display in the at the UFO Vision Museum in Victoria, Argentina. [ Source: Openminds.tv ]

I received these photos of space junk that had been stored at NORAD at one point in time (Space Control Center). Unfortunately, I do not know their heritage.

Space Ball
Space Ball

The bolt and threads above survived intact even though the sphere itself is very scorched and the other side has a large hole in it.

[ Source: Eclipse Tours ]

To be continued when more Space Balls hit the Earth...

»Ufology - UFO Orb Fleet on Google Earth
»Ufology - The Betz Sphere


In cmpliance with article 5 of the Agreement on the Rescue of Astronauts, the Return of Astronauts and the Return of Objects Launched into Outer Space, Member States provide reports of space debris discovered within their territories.  

» Space Debris Fall List

A historical record of space debris falls is kept by the Aerospace Corporation on their site 

» Space Debrish

» Space Ball for Sale (1.100.000 USD)


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