SpaceX launched the Falcon Heavy rocket in the early hours of Tuesday morning, bringing 24 satellites into orbit and satisfying many of its customers. The company has landed the two side boosters, but the mid-core booster narrowly missed its landing and instead has been injected into the ocean.
In the hours after the launch, SpaceX boss Elon Musk burdened the unfortunate fate of the core booster, which explains a bit why he missed his mark.
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In response to a question posted on Twitter, Musk stated that the booster was likely damaged at the beginning of his descent to Earth, and that damage was ultimately caused by failure and prevented the booster from backing up could control a safe landing.
If the booster was actually damaged when it returned to Earth, it's actually quite impressive that he managed to keep it as close as possible to the drone ship. At some point, it seemed like it would drop perfectly, just to drift aside at the very last moment.
SpaceX has not been able to survive the core landing with all three Falcon Heavy launches. It's not the end of the world, but securing this component could save the company a lot of money in the long run, and they want to be consistent with the landing.
It's hardly a worst-case scenario for SpaceX when it has to spend a few boosters as it perfects its technology, especially as the rockets deliver their payloads consistently as planned. Unless otherwise, SpaceX can continue to prepare for next year's Falcon Heavy launch in late 2020.
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