WASHINGTON – The central core of the Falcon Heavy rocket, which launched a communications satellite on April 11, fell into rough seas after landing, but SpaceX said the mishap will not affect any upcoming launches.
In a statement issued on April 15, SpaceX said the booster core, one of three on the Falcon Heavy rocket, could not sustain the weekend as the heavy-duty sea crews prevented the booster from rising to secure the deck of the Droneship Of course I still love you in the Atlantic.
"Over the weekend, the SpaceX recovery team was unable to secure the center core booster for the return journey to Port Canaveral due to the rough seas," spokesman James Gleeson said on a request from SpaceNews rumors that the booster crashed. "As conditions worsened with eight to ten foot waves, the booster began to shift and eventually could not hold up."
SpaceX has developed a robotic system colloquially known as "Octograbber" to secure Falcon 9 booster cores to land on drone chips. However, according to the company, the Octograbber does not work for the Falcon Heavy, as it has several interfaces for which the robot is currently not designed, so that personnel must be employed who can not work safely on heavy seas. "While we were hoping to get the booster back in order, the safety of our team has always been paramount," said Gleeson.
SpaceX has not provided any information about the status of the booster core, including the question of whether it is getting it all. The drone ship has yet to return to Port Canaveral, the port near the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, where SpaceX is organizing seaborne booster recovery operations.
The accident spattered a second, perfect heavy-lift missile from the Launch Complex 39A of the Kennedy Space Center. The rocket has successfully brought its payload, the communications satellite Arabsat-6A, into a geostationary transfer orbit. The two side boosters landed next to the former Launch Complex 1
Also, SpaceX picked up the two halves of the payload fairing shortly after them from the ocean squirts SpaceX chief Elon Musk said in 19459006 in a tweet a few hours after launch that disguises at a later launch of the SpaceX Starlink Broadband constellation flown, which may be the first reuse of the vehicle's panels.
The two side amplifiers will be reused with the next launch of Falcon Heavy, the Air Force Space Test Program (STP) 2, with a series of technology demonstration satellites. Even before the center core of the Arabsat launch was lost after landing, SpaceX had planned to use a new center-boosting core for the STP-2 launch. "We do not expect future missions to be affected," said Gleeson.
The launch of STP-2 is expected to take place in June, although no formal launch date has been set. The Center for Air and Space Weapons and Rocket Systems of the Air Force said in a tweet of April 15 that the side kernels "require an analysis to determine reusability." The launch was scheduled for June.