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What happened to the "Center Core" of Falcon Heavy

Florida - The Falcon Heavy rocket of SpaceX made a successful launch on February 6 from Kennedy Space Center, with a limited edition of Tesla Roadstar as its payload, playing David Bowie’s ‘Space Oddity’ on repeat. ( More...

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Paul Wisgerhof 22
First, two out of three isn't bad since the usual score for other companies would be zero for infinity. And the ballet like landing of the other two boosters at CC was spectacular!
I was spellbound watching the return of the two boosters. It looked like out of a sci-fi movie. Or a launch video played in reverse. It was so friggin' smooth and, really, perfect, that I thought it was faked, like the moon landing.

Kidding. KIDding.
Jason Trimm 3
Made me think of Armageddon when the two shuttles take off simultaneously.
mariofer 12
Spot on. Unfortunately, it seems today's society has been conditioned to focus on the mishaps instead of the achievements. Like you mentioned, the fact that the two boosters landed the way they did is nothing short of amazing. This was science fiction stuff less than a decade ago.
Today's society is fixed on any and everything negative and nothing positive. I blame the news media when bad news sold newspapers. Now, negativity controls Social (anti-social) media.
not just today always been that way

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BTW, Musk is probably very happy the center core hit 100 yards away. Otherwise, bye-bye recovery ship!
Tom George 2
I think they program a bit of lateral translation into the landing burn, precisely for cases like these.
Good point!! And there may be a good chance the recovery ship was already under full power attempting to get away from the planned "touchdown" area wouldn't you think. ;-)
AWAAlum 2
Space X's main mission is to bring supplies, etc., into space...and it touts a Mars colonization is within reach some time by or before 2050. Freaky. What was science fiction ...
Jeffrey Bue 6
SpaceX is revolutionizing space travel. I haven't been this excited about space travel since the shuttles starting launching in the early 80's but alas... the promise of reusability and cheap access to space never came to fruition. I think SpaceX is on the right track to achieve it during my lifetime. I'm cautiously optimistic. Go SpaceX!!!
Ken Mitchell 6
I would note that the left and right boosters had previously been used, so the refurb process works well. I further understand that the center core was a NEW rocket which hadn't learned how to land yet.....
BigTuna 10
It was taught several times but it didn't want to listen. There always seems to be one that likes do things its own way. All you can do is try to teach them the basic physics and orbital mechanics that they'll need and then let them find their own way.
Chris B 1
Whose going to do the CFII for the core, now that Starman has left the galaxy?
It's in my garage.
sure wish my garage was that big
Wayne Fox 4
The return of the booster rockets was spectacular to watch for sure. Problems with the ignition of the center rocket caused it to crash. A big problem was that the 2nd stage burn was not correct sending Starman into an infinitely long trip to an unplanned destination. That is a real problem even. Had this happened on a commercial or manned mission there should have been very serious consequences. I thin SpaceX should give thanks to NASA for all the work they did that allowed SpaceX to piggyback with modern technology to get where they are now.
Of the problems for SpaceX to have, soft landing a Falcon9 First Stage in the ocean when it was meant to break up and overshooting Mars on a maiden flight of the launch vehicle are what I would consider good problems to have.
Matt Lacey 2
That’s not how it works. It was a burn to depletion, trying to get as high as it could. The articles suggesting it “missed” are uninformed.
cptau 2
The center booster ran low on fuel and could only reignite one engine, thus the crash. the 2nd stage proved to the USAF that it could maintain a long 2nd burn in space. If a spacecraft had been on that mission, it would have detached from the 2nd stage and been able to change it's course as most do. I think NASA and the Russians should first thank the German scientist that taught them how to build working rockets 65 years ago. NASA has never really remember how.
Tim Payne 1
You are forgetting that almost every craft sent into space, from 3 pounds satellites to space shuttles and bigger, have the ability to adjust course. If this had happened and the payload was real (people, equipment, whatever), they would have the ability to correct it after. The roadster is nothing more than a big rock...once the last forces were applied to up (upper stage burn), it will forever be at the mercy of physics. That would never happen with a normal payload.
Bob Roehrer 4
I am old enough to remember Flash Gordon era on early B&W tv in early '50's, where the rockets landed anywhere they wanted. I never dreamed I'd see it happen for real in my lifetime!! Cosmically Cool!!!!! And I"ll give them the center stage bogey that crashed into the ocean. As technically and infinitely tricky as it must be. Dr Goddard must be beaming!
Tim Payne 2
I just watched a clip from Flash Gordon on would be much easier to hit the drone ship with a string attached to the rocket! :)
dee9bee 9
Hmm, instead of a mannequin onboard, I could think of a few humans to put on a rocket pointed towards some asteroid and playing the same song over and over into infinity!
Ken Mitchell 1

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You spelled Trump wrong.

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b oloughlin 0
He he hee...

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I was stationed at the Cape from 2008-2010 and can say that the lack of government bureaucracy allowed this outstanding launch by a private contractor-
MultiComm 2
For those championing the reuse of the components ... remember that the booster rockets of the Space Shhttle were reusable from the very beginning back in the 80s. The only difference from a reusabilty standpoint is the orange fuel tank from the shuttle was not reusable. All other components were reused.
Matt Lacey 1
If one would say that internal combustion engines and jet engines are the same as 60 years ago, I would accept that. The fundamentals are the same, but the details and technologies have significantly evolved.
AWAAlum 0
I heard during an interview just yesterday, that the engines are the same as those built in the 1960s. It seems the technology isn't new, but rather the ideas of ways to use the equipment.
Charles Adams 2
Being 67.5 years old, and proud of it, and having grown up in Houston, TX I agree with everyone here about a rebirth of excitement and support for return to space. I watched as the original seven astronauts were introduced. We also had a ham radio operator next door and he would let us hear the Sputnik signals. Then there was Telstar and, of course, the moon landings. Now it is "Mars or Bust" for the USA and SpaceX is proabaly winning that race. Good to see it again. Onward and upward.
It hit the water near the drone ship at 300 mph.
And water is pretty stiff and unforgiving at that speed.

Pity, so close yet so far… and just ran out of gas. Hey who hasn't heard that expression over the years and for multiple situations etc…???
Michael Lewis 2
They confirmed, it ran out of propellant therefore failed...missed the droneship by about 100m and hit the water. Elon even said the video, if any, should be pretty spectacular.
Tom George 5
If I understand correctly it was igniter, not propellant, that they ran out of. They had fuel to burn, but were all out of spark.
Shenghao Han 11
The horror when using a zippo lighter... when you run out of the flint...
Michael Lewis 1
Ahh okay. Yeah, of course hearing/seeing different reports...
Charles Ball 1
Its a chemical that instantly combusts in air (its a green flame)
isardriver 1
incredible engineering
Ken Hardy 1
This is high risk engineering, there will be some failures, losing the center core if due to a lack of fuel is solvable Space X at least is taking a risk that NASA never took with their " fire and forget " approach
Bryan Nethery 1
Any thoughts on what the center core flew past at 28:54 on this video?
Bryan Nethery 1
It's the top left pane of the split view, in case that isn't obvious to everyone.
the little white thing that moves to the top right of that window? maybe a pre-ignition burst of gas?
Charles Ball 1
Yeah, it looks like a bit of ice. LOX+Kerosene, you'll get a bit of ice before ignition.
Bryan Nethery 1
No, what it flies past looks to be too far away to be anything ejected from the engine. Most of the puffs are all tight in to the core, but this object seems to be at least a diameter away. At the rate of descent, how far could an ice plug be ejected, and would it stay intact?
Bryan Nethery 1
Going from a YouTube video doesn't give the best depth perception... the timing lines up with ignition, and it's what I thought at first as well, but then I looked closer and I think I was wanting to find some clue as to the fate of the center core... imgagination and whatnot...
It's not a mystery. The center core is parked right next to the five TBM's from Flight 19.
Cole Parsons 0
At the very end of the youtube video in the article, they start to play footage of the center core, but quickly throw out some crap about how "oh and we hope the footage doesn't cut out of the center core, since sometimes it does due to heavy vibrations." If cameras were able to survive the ascent, they definitely can survive the landing of a rocket. smh
Tom George 5
Losing the video feed is very much normal. SpaceX doesn't have live video from the rocket at landing, because that video is transmitted by line of sight, so they expect to lose it when the rocket goes below the horizon wrt the comm stations. The camera feed from the drone ship is by satellite, but the link often gets disturbed by vibrations from the landing burn, only to return a moment later with a view of the proudly standing rocket.

This time the video never came back. It was that, not the loss of the camera feed, that caught the announcers off guard. A few moments later they got some instructions in their earpieces, and after that the most they said was "stick around for news" which of course meant "somebody higher up the chain than us is going to tell you what happened to the center core"
Tim Payne 1
I don't understand why they would hide if they knew it crashed. They almost seem to revel in showing the crashes as much as the successes. I wonder if it was more of a 'we lost the data and video feeds from the center core landing' and didn't want to speculate in real time?
Shenghao Han 3
Well they didn't try to hide it. If you watched their radio transmission they said very explicitly "We lost the center core".
The radio transmission feed was available on webcast
Bryan Nethery 2
Took that to refer to the video feed, same as what the announcers said. Could've been either...


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