SpaceX Falcon 9 Booster Tips Over on Ship


CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. – One of SpaceX’s most frequently used rocket boosters tipped over and fell on the way back from its 19th mission Tuesday morning. The fall was caused by rough seas off Florida’s Atlantic coast. It was launched earlier in the day from the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station.

The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket had just finished dispensing a group of Starlink satellites into orbit. As it had 18 other times, the booster returned to Earth and landed successfully in vertical position on an ocean barge. This time, strenuous weather and wave conditions caused it to fall over.

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

As of now, the Falcon 9 rocket is the only vessel certified to transport human passengers to the International Space Station. It has more flights than any other rocket in the history of United States spaceflight at 241, with the booster that fell over Tuesday accounting for the most flights of any of the Falcon 9’s reusable boosters.

SpaceX confirmed that the Tuesday morning launch would be the final one in this particular booster’s tenure. It helped disperse more than 860 satellites, they said, as well as two astronauts for a total of over 260 metric tons of cargo in three and a half years in service.