"When SpaceX's Falcon Heavy blasted off last Tuesday (Feb. 6) from NASA's Kennedy Space Center Pad 39A in Florida, the rocket's three first-stage boosters were expected to return to Earth and land much like the company's Falcon 9 rocket stages. The Falcon Heavy's two side boosters landed successfully (and simultaneously) on twin pads at the nearby Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, but the center core crashed and burned.
That core booster, which was expected to land offshore on SpaceX's drone ship "Of Course I Still Love You," crashed when two of three engines did not fire during a final landing burn, Musk told reporters after the launch. The booster missed the landing ship by about 328 feet (100 meters) and hit the water at 300 mph (484 km/h), damaging thrusters on the nearby droneship, Musk has said.
On Monday, we learned a bit more in Musk's Twitter posts. The two engines did not fire because they ran out of ignition fluid, Musk said.
"Not enough ignition fluid to light the outer two engines after several three engine relights," Musk wrote. "Fix is pretty obvious."" Space.com
This is interesting in many ways. The thing ran out of lighter fluid. What? Someone did not fill up the tank? This reminds me of the incident in which a Canada Air mechanic newly transferred from Europe had liters in his head rather than gallons and did not put enough fuel in the tanks. The airplane ran out of fuel at cruising altitude and the pilots glided it to a landing on an abandoned RCAF airfield.
This booster hit the water near the drone ship. What is a drone ship? Does it steam to its destination with no one on board?
I had not known that SpaceX was planning to recover the fairings and apparently other parts of the front end of its rockets. How would that work? The recovery ship has long articulated arms. They would catch the falling fairings?
And who is this science fiction writer who Musk admirers so much? pl