SpaceX's Center Core Booster for Falcon Heavy Rocket Is Lost at Sea

SpaceX's Center Core Booster for Falcon Heavy Rocket Is Lost at Sea

SpaceX's Center Core Booster for Falcon Heavy Rocket Is Lost at Sea

For reasons of efficiency, safety and fuel limits, the other two side boosters that make up Falcon Heavy were able to return to landing pads at Cape Canaveral, near where the rocket had blasted off.

The Falcon Heavy center core successful landed on the drone barge out in the ocean, but on the trip back to Florida the barge ran into heavy seas, and the rocket fell over and slid into the ocean abyss. SpaceX has been making excellent progress, but just had its latest bump - having its central Falcon Heavy booster fall over in choppy seas off the coast of Florida.

Conditions only got worse after the recovery team loaded the booster onto the ship, with eight to ten-foot waves that shifted and kept the rocket from remaining upright, a report in The Verge said.

SpaceX doesn't expect future missions to be affected by the core's loss. The recovery of the center core of the Falcon Heavy this time came after the first flight failed as that central core missed the landing ship entirely. SpaceX plans to reuse the fairing and the two side boosters that touched down after the launch.

SpaceX's first successful commercial mission came off nearly without a hitch last week.

SpaceX does have a mechanism, called the 'octograbber, ' which is located on Of Course I Still Love You that can aid in the process of recovering rocket parts. This is the first time the company has lost a landed stage on the way back to port. A tweet by SpaceX boss Elon Musk suggests some parts of the rocket might be recovered and used again.

The next Falcon Heavy launch with military payloads is expected no earlier than June, the Air Force confirmed via Twitter on Monday.

The total cost of one of its Falcon 9 launches is estimated to reach £44 million ($61m), while each of its larger Falcon Heavy flights costs £65 million ($90m). When a Falcon 9 lands on the droneship, it's attached and stabilized by a device known as the "octagrabber" that grabs on to the rocket to keep it upright. It will be used for the next mission according to SpaceX. Of course, SpaceX has only had a handful of days with its recovered Block 5 side boosters, the refurbishment of which will now be the critical path for launch.

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