SpaceX Loses Falcon Heavy Rocket Center Core Booster in Atlantic Ocean

Arabsat 6A on luanch pad 15 April 2019

On Thursday, SpaceX landed three of its booster rockets in one very impressive feat.

"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 representatives said in an emailed statement.

But the central booster didn't complete its homeward journey intact: Rough seas claimed that first stage during the drone ship's voyage back to shore, SpaceX said today (April 15).

"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 spokesman James Gleeson told FLORIDA TODAY.

"As conditions worsened with eight to ten foot swells, the booster began to shift and ultimately was unable to remain upright", the company said Tuesday. We do not expect future missions to be impacted, ' the firm added.

The Falcon Heavy's center core is a modified version of the nine-engine Falcon 9 booster rocket.

Despite the center core booster issue, the Falcon Heavy successfully launched its first paid mission and deployed Arabsat-6A, a communications satellite that will provide internet services to people who live in Africa, some parts of Europe, and the Middle East.

Falcon Heavy is reportedly the most powerful rocket in operation. The fairings splashed down in the ocean as well, and were quickly scooped up by SpaceX, so it seems the company is confident it can negate the effects of seawater on at least some of its pricey rocket parts.

The fall was a hiccup in an otherwise successful mission - the company's first use of Falcon Heavy since its debut flight in February 2018.

The space company has previously re-used first-stage and second-stage rocket boosters, in addition to one of its previously flown Dragon capsules.

Separately, the two fairings that housed the satellite were also recovered.

The Dragon spacecraft are used as the final stage of SpaceX missions to resupply the International Space Station.

The SpaceX droneship is now on its way back from the Atlantic. 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. Shortly after takeoff, the two side boosters separated and came down on their designated landing pads on land, at the launch complex from where they departed.

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