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Home / Science / Falcon heavy core booster lost in rough seas after drone ship landing – Spaceflight Now

Falcon heavy core booster lost in rough seas after drone ship landing – Spaceflight Now



The Falcon Heavy's core booster is moments after landing on SpaceX's drone ship Thursday. Credit: SpaceX

The NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida tipped over in rough seas after landing on the drone ship, SpaceX official said Monday.

The Falcon Heavy's core booster Touched down around 10 minutes after the Falcon Heavy blasted off from Florida's Space Coast, and after the Rocket's two side boosters returned to shore at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

The on-land landings starred the first time SpaceX landed all Three Falcon Heavy Boosters on the same mission. The core stage crashed at sea near the drone ship after running out of igniter fluid on the Falcon's heavy inaugural flight in February 2018.

But ocean swells rocking the drone ship, which SpaceX has named "Of Course I Still Love You,"

"Over the weekend, due to rough sea conditions, SpaceX's recovery team is unable to secure the center's core booster for its return trip to Port Canaveral," said James Gleeson, a SpaceX spokesperson.

"While we had hoped to bring the booster back intact, the safety of our team always takes precedence," Gleeson said in a statement.

The launch is successful in its primary objective, and delivered the Arabsat 6A communications to orbit to begin a mission video broadcasting, radio and Internet signals across the Middle East, North Africa and Europe.

The Falcon Heavy side boosters and the two halves of the rocket's payload were recovered intact and will be reused on future missions, SpaceX said.

The system SpaceX typically employs the booster to the drone ship what can not be used on the Falcon Heavy mission because the core booster uses a different mechanical interface. SpaceX's second Falcon Heavy rocket lifted off at 6:35 p.m. EDT (2235 GMT) Thursday from Pad 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Credit: Walter Scriptunas II / Spaceflight Now

Merlin main engines – nine on each of the rocket's three first stage boosters.

The Falcon Heavy's core booster fires for three-and-a-half minutes on Thursday's launch, accelerating to a speed of more than 6,600 mph (10.600 kilometers per hour) before giving way to the rocket's upper stage to

The twin side boosters jettisoned a minute earlier – at about T + plus 2 minutes, 30 seconds – to begin their journey back to Cape Canaveral.

SpaceX's drone ship was parked around 615 miles (990 kilometers) east of Cape Canaveral for Thursday's mission, farther downrange Than the vessel's typical position for a SpaceX launch, due to the high-speed staging on the Falcon Heavy.

The side boosters that landed after Thursday's launch will be inspected and refurbished for the next June, which what already planned to use a new core booster. The two-piece payload shroud wants to be reused on a Falcon 9 launch later this year carrying a batch of SpaceX's starlink broadband Internet satellites into orbit.

With the Falcon Heavy's core stage lost after landing, the tally of rocket boosters successfully recovered by SpaceX now stands at 37 vehicles – 23 on drone ships, 13 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Base, and one at Vandenberg Air Force Base, California.

Email the author. [19659003] Follow Stephen Clark on Twitter: @ StephenClark1 .


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