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SpaceX loses the core of its Falcon Heavy rocket due to choppy seas



SpaceX successfully landed the center core of its Falcon Heavy rocket on a drone ship last week, but the vehicle accidentally fell into the ocean during transit to the Florida coast. The company blamed the loss on choppy seas.

"On the weekend, due to rough sea conditions, SpaceX's recovery group was unable to secure the center core of its return trip to Port Canaveral," said SpaceX in a statement to The Verge . "As conditions deteriorated by eight to ten feet swell, booster began to move and ultimately could not stay upright. While we had hoped to get booster back intact, the team's safety always prevailed. We do not expect future missions to be affected."

The central core is a modified Falcon 9 booster ̵

1; one of three constituting Falcon Tung rocket. This core flew on Thursday, April 11, from Cape Canaveral, Florida, during the second flight of Falcon Heavy. The flight marked the first time the rocket had flown over a year since its debut in February 2018, as well as the first commercial mission for the vehicle.

After the start, all three cores of the rocket landed successfully on the earth: the two outer cores rolled down on double concrete links at the quay while the center core ripped down on the company's drone ship named Of Course I Still Love You in the Atlantic. It was the first time SpaceX had pulled off a triple landing. During Falcon Heavy's first flight, the outer cores landed just fine, but the center core completely missed the drainage vessel and hit the sea.

Now it seems that the sea again became better by Falcon Heavy center core. SpaceX has ways to secure the rockets landing in the ocean, including a robot called "octagrabber" that locks to the base of the boosters. But since the center core connects to two side projectors, it has a different design than a standard Falcon 9 booster. So the octopus cannot keep it in the same way.

SpaceX has another Falcon Heavy mission that comes up sometime this summer in Florida, one that will use a brand new center core and the two outer cores that landed last week. SpaceX plans to use the octagrabber for that mission. Perhaps the company has some time to update the robot to stick to the center core, or perhaps calmer seas will be more favorable for transporting rockets.


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