SpaceX successfully landed the center of its Falcon Heavy rocket on a drone ship last week, but the vehicle accidentally fell into the ocean as it traveled to the Florida coast. The company blamed the loss on rough seas.
"Over the weekend, SpaceX's recovery team was unable to secure the return trip to Port Canaveral due to the harsh conditions at sea," SpaceX said in a statement to The Verge . As the conditions worsened by eight to ten feet, the booster began to shift and eventually could not stay upright. While we had hoped to get the booster back in order, the safety of our team always has priority. We do not expect future missions to be affected. "
The center core is a modified Falcon 9-Booster ̵
After takeoff, all three cores of the rocket landed successfully on Earth: The two outer cores landed on double concrete land surfaces at the Cape, while the middle core of the drone ship of the course I Still Love You put on in the Atlantic. It was the first time SpaceX had made a triple landing. During the first flight of Falcon Heavys the outer cores landed well, but the central core completely missed the drone ship and rammed into the ocean.
Now it seems like the ocean is better hitting the Falcon Heavy center core again. SpaceX has the ability to secure the rockets that land in the ocean, including a robot known as the Octagrabber, which snaps into place at the base of the boosters. Since the center core is connected to two side amplifiers, it differs from a normal Falcon 9 amplifier. So the Octagrabber can not stick to it the same way.
SpaceX has another Falcon Heavy mission this summer in Florida, which will use a brand new center core and the two outer cores that landed last week. SpaceX plans to use the Octagrabber for this mission. Maybe the company has some time to update the robot to stay at the core of the center, or maybe a calmer sea will be more conducive to transporting rockets.