SpaceX accidentally dropped one of its latest Falcon 9 booster’s landing legs during a retreat in Port Canaveral while the crews were working to prepare the missile for transport.
The Falcon 9 Booster B1060 arrived safely in Port Canaveral, Florida on July 4th after a flawless debut on June 30th. It launched the U.S. Military’s GPS III SV03 navigation satellite into orbit and was the first SpaceX rocket to be launched and Country as part of a U.S. military operational mission. The most important milestone in the landing was supported by the drone ship Just Read The Instructions (JRTI) as part of its second salvage mission on the east coast after a journey of approximately 8000 km from Los Angeles and slow and steady upgrades for months.
Luckily, despite the misfortune captured by hard-working, unofficial observers on camera, booster B1
Based on the video of the accidental leg drop recorded by the U.S. Launch Report on July 7th, the most obvious conclusion is that operators were either unable to release the tension on a winch line or that a hardware / software / sensor error inadvertently caused the line overloaded. Regardless, at about the same time that Falcon 9 or its ground operators were likely to order the leg lock to close, one or both of the wires attached to the top of the retracting leg snapped and caused this very quickly resume when gravity pulled it back to Earth.
Almost certainly there was no one below the landing leg of ~ 1000 kg (~ 2200 lb) when retracting, and a small stand that supported the leg for the installation of the winch line appears to have been moved out of the line of sight as part of the Process. When the leg was accidentally released, it simply fell onto the flat steel deck of the drone ship JRTI under its own weight. Above all, nobody was (visibly) injured or at risk of injury
The impact and aftershock of the landing leg look undeniably hard in the footage, but the reality is that SpaceX has already performed almost identical tests (albeit on purpose) on restored boosters while the leg retraction was still in development. In the video above, the leg retraction and deployment test of B1049 was recorded in September 2018 marginally More gentle than the accidental beating of the B1060, and B1049 completed four further starts in the orbital class without any problems. This still ignores the fact that the Falcon 9 landing legs are designed to withstand extremely Uneven landings of a whole ~ 30 tons of boosters that move up to several meters per second – far more force than a single landing leg with gravity as the only entrance can exert on itself.
When SpaceX confirmed this suspicion, he got back on the saddle after a few slight weather delays and successfully pulled back all four landing legs of the B1060 without any problems. The missile once flown was quickly wrapped around (related to the horizontal descent process) and installed on a custom transporter that will soon take it from Port Canaveral to a nearby SpaceX hangar (likely Pad 39A) for the next launch prepare.
Read the Teslarati newsletter For quick updates, on-site perspectives and unique insights into SpaceX’s rocket launch and recovery processes.