Third Successful SpaceX Falcon Heavy Launch

The third launch of the SpaceX Falcon Heavy was successful. It was also reusing first stage boosters from the second launch and both side boosters were recovered. The center stage booster did not make a barge landing. The center stage was attempting the longest distance for a booster recovery.

The renamed fairing catching boat made a successful Falcon fairing catch. This could make fairing easier to reuse. Currently, SpaceX is trying to reuse water-proofed fairings that land in the ocean. There was only the attempt to catch one of the two fairings.

25 thoughts on “Third Successful SpaceX Falcon Heavy Launch”

  1. The loss of B1057 has zero implications on passenger spaceflight.

    If you are talking about Commercial Crew, as far as we are aware, no Dragon capsule has ever had a heatshield breach during re-entry. And the Dragon capsules’ PICA-X heat shield have nothing to do at all with the Falcon booster stages’ TPS.

    If you are talking about Starship, it will have a different re-entry mode than the Falcon Heavy center core. FH center core re-enters engines-first, which in B1057’s case was too hot for the octaweb heatshield covering the engine bay to handle. The heatshield was breached and B1057’s center engine TVC system was damaged, leading to the abort and ditch.

    Starship doesn’t re-enter tail-first like a Falcon booster. Starship re-enters belly-first, with the windward side of its hull equipped with a heatshield and a cryogenic fluid transpiration heat dissipation system. The Raptor engines on Starship will not be directly exposed to re-entry heating like on a Falcon-family booster.

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  2. That center booster landing looked a lot like a last second abort. It’s not clear what would cause such an abort though. Video clearly shows two legs deployed, but can’t confirm the other two legs also deployed. A just before landing leg deployment/lock failure could trigger an abort I suppose. Another could be an engine gimbal failure but you get the feeling from the video that the rocket was on target for a bullseye landing. Low propellant abort is possible (this landing was pushing the upper limits of a downrange center stage landing after all), but it had enough fuel to arrest the landing and divert so I would probably say no to the low fuel theory (though others point out how the engine gave out after the divert, suggesting low oxidizer might be the culprit). Elon will probably say something eventually…

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  3. I appreciated your intelligent comments. Well done.
    Yes, SpaceX probably thought they were going to lose the center core.
    It’s best to try something and gain that data, either way. This will help
    set the parameters of what is possible.

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  4. Stop copying other people comments. Your response is very limited and mostly confined to derogatory snarls. A design of a rocket landing over water is inherent, especially when it does by the same company regardless of the rocket and what does it carry. Of course it will improve, changed, but it will take time.

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  5. I mis-read your orig comment, as saying there was “another” floating half. The one in the net seems to be in the water, but that may be the wake of the ship. Hard to tell, but a lot better than total soak! Can make net support stiffer as catch routine is worked out, if needed.

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  6. “Nice, but the crash of the center core also shows how far in general SpaceX is from being certified for carrying passengers on a commercial basis.”

    Boeing can’t land a center stage so I guess they will never be certified to carry passengers amirite?

    I mean if you want to go whole hog on absurd lines of thinking then I sir shall sink to your level.

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  7. (facepalm)…sigh…disregarding, of course, that the Falcon Heavy booster is not designed to land with people, or any live cargo, or any cargo at all, with a flight pattern designed to maximize boosting the second stage and payload to orbit, not humans to another spot on Earth, nor that it re-enters at such high speed and high-Gs that live cargo would probably be seriously injured, and it’s Starship that will be man-rated…yeah you’ve got an awesome point, not.

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  8. Im not sure how you get there. There is a VAST difference between landing a capsule full of people, and landing a 230 foot+ tall rocket engine. And this is the nature of them exploring landing that. Theyre not rating the rocket for landing with humans in it because it is high risk for that. They ARE rating their capsule for it. Your argument is without merit.

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  9. Nice, but the crash of the center core also shows how far in general SpaceX is from being certified for carrying passengers on a commercial basis.

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  10. and now space x will have a direct comparison of the issues with putting a reused fairing half with no water damage compared to the other half that does… could gain lots of insight since its two fairings from the same mission

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  11. Ok… from the video it seems Mr Tree caught the fairing but even so it’s floating in the ocean? Is there any advantage in getting the fairing and still having it floating in sea water, vs it splashing down while on chutes and then recovering it?

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  12. Congratulations to SpaceX for the successful launch of the most capable launch vehicle now in operation. So sad about the center booster.
    Based on engine wash initially hitting the center of the landing barge, and the booster’s speed being about right for landing, the likely cause of the crash was one of the engines, likely a side one, losing thrust due to loss of fuel, or oxidizer at the last instant.
    It’s a shame for such a fine machine to be lost, because of the lack of 50 gallons of LOX. On the other hand, this was a test, and SpaceX engineers need to find just how closely they can cut things, and still land. For maximum payload to orbit, the center booster needs to land(barge?) on the very last drops of fuel, and LOX.
    I wonder if the center stage performance would benefit from some sort of enhanced drag device. Perhaps a small high temperature “ribbon” parachute deployed as soon as it wouldn’t be ripped to shreds would mass less than the fuel, and oxidizer it would save on landings. Maybe a titanium cable, with some silicon nitride disks on the free end would do it.

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  13. This launch helps SpaceX certify for all orbits the DoD requires for national security launches. Although this and a previous launch were for the DoD, they are considered “experimental” missions and so didn’t need the formal certification.
    Kudos to the second stage with multiple re-lights over a 6 hour period…very hard to do.

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