SpaceX Falcon Heavy Center Core Lost At Sea
Some bad news for the SpaceX Falcon Heavy center core rocket today as it was being moved after its recent flight and landing in the Atlantic Ocean it toppled over and fell off the drone ship.
The rocket launched on April 11th and both boosters landed successfully back on land, but the center core needs to land on a drone ship out in the Atlantic. Following the landing, the vessel was making its way back to the Florida coastline when it encountered choppy seas, and the booster fell overboard.
“Over the weekend, due to rough sea conditions, SpaceX’s recovery team was unable to secure the center core booster for its return trip to Port Canaveral,” SpaceX said in a statement to The Verge. “As conditions worsened with eight to ten foot swells, the booster began to shift and ultimately was unable to remain upright. While we had hoped to bring the booster back intact, the safety of our team always takes precedence. We do not expect future missions to be impacted.”
This is only the second time a Falcon Heavy rocket has flown and was the first time the center booster landed successfully back on the drone ship.
SpaceX will try again though this summer as the company has another Falcon Heavy launch planned. This time after the center core lands on the drone ship it will be secured to the deck with a robot called the octagrabber. This robot traditionally only latches onto the Falcon 9 boosters but will be modified to also latch onto the Falcon Heavy center core to prevent it from toppling over again.