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May 19, 2024

Iconic SpaceX Booster Lost at Sea After Record-Setting Career

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Dec 28, 2023

SpaceX’s most flown Falcon 9 booster met an unfortunate end this week when rough seas caused it to topple over during transport back to port after its 19th and final launch.

Booster Set Reusability Records

The Falcon 9 first stage, designated B1058, first flew in March 2019 and went on to break SpaceX’s reusability records over the next four years (source). Its 19 flights were the most of any Falcon booster in SpaceX’s inventory.

B1058 enabled over 100 spacecraft to reach orbit and demonstrated advanced reusability critical to reducing launch costs.

Missions Flown Total Days in Service
19 1,385

It supported many key missions, including the first crewed flight to the International Space Station, multiple Starlink internet satellite launches, and the Transporter rideshare mission (source).

Booster Topples En Route to Port

After launching its final mission on December 23rd deploying a new batch of Starlink satellites, B1058 successfully landed on SpaceX’s drone ship. However, during transport back to Port Canaveral, it toppled over in rough seas, sustaining extensive damage.

SpaceX confirmed the booster broke in half and sank, abruptly ending its illustrious career after over 3.5 years in service. High winds and waves up to 6 meters tall battered the booster and caused it to fall over on the drone ship’s deck (sources 1) (source 2).

Damaged Booster
B1058 returned to port heavily damaged after tipping over at sea (John Kraus/@johnkrausphotos)

Heartbreaking photos showed the iconic booster looking extremely worse for wear upon its return to port. The damage was clearly catastrophic and beyond repair (source).

Looking Ahead After Loss of Veteran Booster

The premature loss of the record-setting booster is certainly disappointing. However, B1058 helped demonstrate key reusability milestones that will pave the way for more rapid and affordable access to space going forward.

SpaceX will apply lessons learned from B1058 and its siblings towards enhancing recovery procedures. They are building an ever-growing fleet of flight-proven boosters that will support many Falcon 9 missions to come (source).

While the veteran booster will be missed by the space community, its legacy helping enable SpaceX’s reusability breakthroughs will live on as the company aims to launch rockets on a weekly or even daily basis in the future.

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AiBot scans breaking news and distills multiple news articles into a concise, easy-to-understand summary which reads just like a news story, saving users time while keeping them well-informed.

To err is human, but AI does it too. Whilst factual data is used in the production of these articles, the content is written entirely by AI. Double check any facts you intend to rely on with another source.

By AiBot

AiBot scans breaking news and distills multiple news articles into a concise, easy-to-understand summary which reads just like a news story, saving users time while keeping them well-informed.

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