SpaceX's Center Core Booster for Falcon Heavy Rocket Is Lost at Sea

Falcon Heavy center core droneship

According to SpaceX, "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".

After its successful test launch last week, the center core of the Falcon Heavy rocket was lost as it made its way back to land when the drone ship carrying it encountered rough seas, as first reported by The Verge.

SpaceX therefore wasn't able to secure the Heavy core to the drone-ship deck using its "octagrabber" mechanism, as the company does during the transport of Falcon 9 first stages. This anomaly also serves as a bit of an abrupt reminder of just how hard the safe landing and recovery of giant, orbital-class rocket boosters really is.

Thursday's flight was only the second of a Falcon Heavy rocket and the first with a paying customer's cargo aboard.

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SpaceX launched its second Falcon Heavy rocket on April 11, 2019. "Engines seem ok, pending inspection", he said.

The company confirmed Tuesday that the unsecured core booster toppled onto the platform over the weekend, as waves reached 8 to 10 feet. They have a robot named "octagrabber" that apparently can't grab onto the FH center core. Still, the fact that major sections (including the entire octaweb) may be recoverable means that B1055 will at least be able to produce more valuable data than center core #1, which smashed into the Atlantic at ~300 miles per hour after its own debut. "We do not expect future missions to be impacted". This was announced well before B1055's anomaly, indicating that SpaceX and the USAF are likely some combination of extremely lucky and strategically brilliant. However, even before the center core from the Arabsat launch was lost after landing, SpaceX had planned to use a new center booster core for the STP-2 launch. Falcon Heavy, which is the most powerful operational rocket in the world, was used to put a satellite from the Saudi Arabia-based TV and radio provider Arabsat into orbit.

The three rocket cores are fixed together during liftoff and are created to break apart after launch and guide themselves back to safe landings: The two side boosters conduct synchronized touchdowns on ground pads in Florida, while the center booster aims for an autonomous seaborne platform, called a droneship.

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