SpaceX has confirmed that bad weather and an unfortunate lack of hardware has caused the second-ever Falcon Heavy center core to slide off the deck of drone ship Of Course I Still Love You, although CEO Elon Musk suggests that the rocket's engine section could be recoverable.
As the center core was being towed back to the Florida coast, it was knocked over by rough seas.
SpaceX noted that the recovery team was unable to secure the booster for the return trip to Port Canaveral.
The Falcon 9 Heavy lifting off from the historic Pad 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Centre."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" by the loss of the Arabsat booster, Gleeson said.
SpaceX didn't provide any information on the status of the booster core, including whether it will be retrieved at all. Unfortunately, things didn't go well for the recent recovery of the Falcon Heavy center core.
For the first time, all three first-stage boosters landed upright following Thursday's launch of the company's Falcon Heavy, the most powerful rocket in use.
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.
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. When a Falcon 9 lands on the droneship, it's attached and stabilized by a device known as the "octagrabber" that grabs on to the rocket to keep it upright.
The space company has previously re-used first-stage and second-stage rocket boosters, in addition to one of its previously flown Dragon capsules.
In an incredible accomplishment, the Falcon Heavy's reused side boosters landed smoothly back down to Earth on two separate launchpads about 8 minutes in.
SpaceX recovered a payload fairing for the first time in 2017.