SpaceX's Core Module Smashes into Sea at 300 MPH, Shrapnel Damages Drone Ship

As you probably know by now, SpaceX's yesterday launch of the Falcon Heavy - the biggest and most powerful rocket in operation right now - was a success, with Musk's Tesla Roadster making it into space and the two reusable boosters safely landing in a beautifully choreographed sequence.
Falcon 9 landing on drone ship 1 photo
Photo: SpaceX/Flickr
By any standard, the test launch - because it was only a test - was impressive and places SpaceX firmly on the very short list of companies that can send stuff - big and heavy stuff, in this case - into space.

As much as we hate being the fly in the ointment, it's worth pointing out that the mission wasn't a complete success. Though the most important part - that would be launch - went flawlessly and the two large boosters were also recovered, the core segment that was supposed to land on the drone ship at sea did not make it back.

The information on what exactly had happened in sketchy at the moment, but the main idea is that the middle segment of the rocket is now lying at the bottom of the sea, probably in pieces. The Verge says it encountered engine problems right after separating from the upper stage, the part where Musk's Roadster was tightly fastened.

Out of the three engines it needed for a safe landing, only one managed to fire up meaning it couldn't generate enough thrust to slow it down for a controlled procedure. The rocket segment missed the ship by approximately 300 feet (100 meters) as it came crashing down at 300 mph (480 km/h).

That was actually a blessing in disguise since it would have no doubt destroyed the mobile landing pad as well. Even so, the shrapnel shower created by the impact with the water managed to take out of the drone ship's engines.

But it didn't matter that much, and the clip embedded below is the best proof. It shows people cheering in the background as one of the ground control operators announces they had "lost the center core." The cheering didn't stop, and nor should it have.

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Editor's note: SpaceX Flacon 9 pictured

About the author: Vlad Mitrache
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"Boy meets car, boy loves car, boy gets journalism degree and starts job writing and editing at a car magazine" - 5/5. (Vlad Mitrache if he was a movie)
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