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

James Marshall
April 16, 2019

SpaceX's next Falcon Heavy mission, slated for this summer, will use a new center core, so the loss of the core from last week's mission won't affect it.

At the time of the accident, the stage was being brought back to Port Canaveral by the autonomous spaceport drone ship (ASDS) "Of Course I Still Love You". "As conditions worsened with 8- to 10-foot swells, the booster began to shift and ultimately was unable to remain upright".

"Over the weekend, due to rough sea conditions, SpaceX's recovery team was unable to secure the center core booster for its return trip to Port Canaveral", SpaceX told The Verge in a statement. As The Verge noted, the Heavy's central core has a slightly different design than the Falcon 9 first stage, because the former must link up with two side boosters.

Even with the loss of the center core, it doesn't overshadow the milestone of SpaceX landing all three of the Falcon Heavy's boosters.

The SpaceX droneship is now on its way back from the Atlantic. The rocket successfully placed its payload, the Arabsat-6A communications satellite, into a geostationary transfer orbit.

Two side boosters touched down safely at SpaceX's Landing Zones 1 and 2 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, not far from their launch pad.

SpaceX also recovered the two halves of the payload fairing from the ocean shortly after they splashed down.

While SpaceX does have hardware on its drone ship created to secure first stages - often referred to as a flat "robot" that holds them in place - it was not used for this mission, which successfully took an Arabsat satellite to orbit last Thursday.

In its first flight, Elon Musk sent a Tesla Roadster to orbit around the sun past year. The company plans to use the system for the next Falcon Heavy mission, which could lift off as soon as June. We do not expect future missions to be impacted, ' the firm added. STP-2 is now scheduled to lift off from Kennedy Space Center's Launch Complex 39A in June and should mark the third time the massive FH takes to the skies.

The center core's landing was a first.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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