BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. (FOX 35 ORLANDO) - A perfect landing for a SpaceX rocket booster, but then it went overboard.
Officials at the commercial space company say the booster cannot be retrieved and cannot be used again.
SpaceX says design changes are in the works to make the center booster more secure once it touches down.
The accident happened over the weekend, when the barge “Of course I still love you” encountered rough seas, causing the booster to topple over.
“It’s a learning process, everything is a learning process. Weather is a very difficult thing to predict, to be able to tell a few days out,” said Prof. Daniel Batcheldor, head of aerospace and astrophysics at FIT.
After the Falcon Heavy launch Friday, it’s two side boosters landed on pads at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station and the big center booster landed on a vessel named "Of Course I still Love You," which was out at sea.
“I’m sure they’re going to secure it for the next attempt and we’re going to see even more more success,” Batcheldor said.
When the Falcon Heavy launched for the first time, the center booster didn’t find the bullseye and went into the ocean.
Elon Musk said the reason for that mishap was evident and easily fixable.
Batcheldor says that’s one of the great things about the private space industry as opposed to NASA.
Diagnosing a problem and correcting it happens faster because there’s less red tape.
“So, you’re seeing a very different model with the test, learn, fly again... rather than taking very small steady steps, which can take a very long time in a challenging political environment,” Batcheldor said.
Falcon Heavy’s next mission could be in June, then we’ll see if SpaceX has a fix for securing the booster to the deck.