SpaceX Falcon 9 booster suffers mishap during recovery after final flight

Port Canaveral, Florida - Rough weather at sea caused the SpaceX Falcon 9 booster that had successfully landed a record 19 times to topple while getting a ride back to Florida.

After completing its final flight on Saturday, SpaceX's Falcon 9 booster tipped over during its trip back to Port Canaveral.
After completing its final flight on Saturday, SpaceX's Falcon 9 booster tipped over during its trip back to Port Canaveral.  © X/SpaceX

SpaceX announced late Monday that the booster, which first flew on the historic Demo-2 mission in 2020 that took NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley into space, had made its final flight.

"During transport back to Port early this morning, the booster tipped over on the droneship due to high winds and waves. Newer Falcon boosters have upgraded landing legs with the capability to self-level and mitigate this type of issue," SpaceX posted on X.

Images on social media showed the booster having fallen to one side, with only the bottom portion of what had been the 135-foot-tall fuselage still on board the droneship Just Read the Instructions as it made its way into Port Canaveral on Tuesday morning.

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"We are planning to salvage the engines and do life leader inspections on the remaining hardware," said SpaceX's Jon Edwards, vice president for Falcon Launch Vehicles. "There is still quite a bit of value in this booster. We will not let it go to waste."

The booster’s final flight took place early Saturday, shuttling up another 23 of SpaceX's Starlink satellites before making its final landing on the droneship.

Elon Musk's company is approaching 100 launches for the year among its Florida and California facilities. From the Space Coast alone, SpaceX has managed 66 of the 70 launches, and has at least one more slated before the new year.

Cover photo: X/SpaceX

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