Published: Thu, April 18, 2019
Sci-tech | By Patricia Wade

SpaceX booster accidentally falls into ocean after rough conditions

SpaceX booster accidentally falls into ocean after rough conditions

"We do not expect future missions to be impacted", SpaceX told The Verge. The centre core came from a modified Falcon 9 booster. (SpaceX) Despite the struggles of the center core, side boosters B1052 (right) and B1053 (left) are safe and sound, awaiting their next launch.

This Thursday, April 11, 2091 image from video made available by SpaceX shows a Falcon rocket booster shortly after landing on a barge in the Atlantic Ocean off Florida. Because of the nature turbulence, the recovery team wasn't able to secure the center core booster of the spacecraft. The aerospace company explained that inclement weather prevented its recovery team from retrieving the central core booster that fell off the waters while being transported back to the coast last week.

The robot, created to secure rocket boosters after they land, isn't capable of latching onto Falcon Heavy cores, so it wasn't used in this latest mission.

SpaceX tries to re-use rockets, payload fairings, boosters and other parts to try to cut down on the cost of each rocket mission.

It's not clear exactly how much SpaceX's boosters cost or how much SpaceX spends refurbishing used hardware.

Musk says custom devices to secure the booster weren't ready in time for this second flight of the Falcon Heavy. The Falcon Heavy essentially uses three Falcon 9 boosters strapped together, creating new engineering challenges.

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However, Musk also suggested that the Falcon Heavy booster's engines could potentially be recovered and reused "pending inspection", indicating that B1055 may still be partially sitting on OCISLY's deck.

SpaceX has been very successful of late with pretty much everything it does. The two side boosters landed side-by-side at the former Launch Complex 13 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, several kilometers south of the launch site.

It still fared better than the Heavy's first landing attempt in February 2018, when the outer cores made a ideal landing, but the centre core missed the drone ship by a big margin, slamming into the ocean in rather dramatic fashion.

Why has SpaceX lost the center core booster?

Last Thursday, the booster landed safely on the droneship, nicknamed "Of Course I Still Love You".

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