Last week was a monumental week for SpaceX because it managed to land all three of the booster rockets used to launch Falcon Heavy.
That victory was short lived however as after landing the centre core on the drone ship (called “Of Course I Still Love You”) the booster fell into the ocean.
“Over the weekend, due to rough sea conditions, SpaceX’s recovery team was unable to secure the centre core booster for its return trip to Port Canaveral,” SpaceX told The Verge.
The firm went on to report that conditions grew worse as time went on with swells climbing to as high as two metres. The waves ultimately toppled the booster.
“While we had hoped to bring the booster back intact, the safety of our team always takes precedence. We do not expect future missions to be impacted,” the firm added.
SpaceX does have a way to secure boosters that land on the drone ship using something called the octograbber which attaches to the booster to secure it during transit. The trouble is that the octograbber isn’t designed to grab onto the design of the central booster and so it wasn’t used.
The firm is set to launch another Falcon Heavy mission later this year and while it landing boosters out at sea is undeniably cool, landing them out at sea is rather precarious.