Falcon Heavy’s central core booster did not survive reentry.

That’s a shame, but this is how you learn:

Elon Musk said on a conference call with reporters that the launch “seems to have gone as well as one could have hoped with the exception of center core. The center core obviously didn’t land on the drone ship” and he said that “we’re looking at the issue.” Musk says that the core ran out of propellant, which kept the core from being able to slow down as much as it needed for landing. Because of that, the core apparently hit the water at 300MPH, and it was about 100 meters from the ship. “It was enough to take out two thrusters and shower the deck with shrapnel,” Musk said. That should be worth seeing on video: “We have the video,” Musk confirmed, “it sounds like some pretty fun footage… if the cameras didn’t get blown up as well.”

After all, that’s why SpaceX does tests.  In other news, the Roadster — more importantly, the rocket it’s attached to — made it through the Van Allen Belts and had another successful burn. It’s not going to Mars, though; the acceleration was a bit high, so now the Roadster’s going to fly past Mars and end up looping its way through the Asteroid Belt.  As the Quartz link above notes, the ‘gone to Mars’ thing was just PR anyway; the Roadster has no maneuvering thrust, which would have made achieving an actual Mars orbit pretty much impossible anyway. The point here was to demonstrate to potential buyers that the rocket can operate outside of Earth orbit, and from that point of view the actual destination doesn’t really matter.  Heck the test would have worked if the Roadster eventually ended up aimed right at Uranus.


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