SpaceX loses Falcon Heavy's center booster to the sea

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The core that was lost at sea flew on April 11, which was the second flight for the Falcon Heavy rocket.

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.

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. "While we had hoped to bring the booster back intact, the safety of our team always takes precedence", Gleeson said. "We do not expect future missions to be impacted", he said.

SpaceX usually employs a system known as the "Octagrabber" to secure recovered Falcon 9 boosters on the drone ship's deck, but that system couldn't be used this time around because the Falcon Heavy core booster had a different mechanical interface.

Nevertheless, SpaceX has already announced that it plans to reuse the nosecone fairings of Falcon Heavy in another launch before the end of the year. Whatever it was that caused SpaceX to build two Falcon Heavy Block 5 center cores almost back to back, that foresight or luck now means that B1055's untimely demise should have little to no impact on SpaceX's launch manifest, including the imminent STP-2 mission.

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Fortunately, SpaceX has a second center core for its next test launch, so the loss of this rocket booster isn't going to upend the upcoming mission, and Of Course I Still Love You itself is safe. This is the first time the company has lost a landed stage on the way back to port. SpaceX may even be able to recover the booster's four valuable titanium grid fins and salvage additional hardware, depending on how much of the rocket remained intact and attached to OCISLY.

The Falcon 9 Heavy lifting off from the historic Pad 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Centre.

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

SpaceX is now testing a system to recover the fairings of its Falcon 9 rockets. The side stages touched down at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station's Landing Zones 1 and 2 while the core stage touched down on the ASDS.