Musk Shares CRS-16 Booster Mishap Footage

SpaceX CEO shared videos of the Falcon 9 CRS-16 mishap on Twitter.
SpaceX launch their 16th International Space Station resupply mission. The Falcon 9 launched from Cape Caneveral at 18:16 UTC (13:16 EST) on December 5, 2018 | Image credit: SpaceX

Following yesterday’s launch of the 16th SpaceX ISS resupply mission, a Block 5 Falcon 9 booster took an unexpected swim.

SpaceX had planned for the rocket’s first stage to touch down at LZ-1 at Cape Canaveral. However, due to a failure of one of the rocket’s grid fins, it instead touched down in the waters off the coast of Florida. Despite having to ditch in the Atlantic, SpaceX founder and CEO, Elon Musk revealed that the booster appeared to be undamaged.

In Tweet following the mishap, Musk explained that a “Grid fin hydraulic pump stalled, so Falcon landed just out to sea.” Later, he followed up the Tweet with two videos, one from aboard the Falcon 9 first stage and one from a tracking position. In the footage aboard the Falon 9, the grid fin on the right can clearly be seen stuck in position.

Answering a question from a user on the original Tweet, Musk explained that “Some landing systems are not redundant, as landing is considered ground safety critical, but not mission critical.” He continued to explain that moving forward, SpaceX would look to add “a backup pump & lines” to mitigate the potential for failure in the future.

SpaceX had previously stated that they plan to launch Block 5 Falon 9 boosters more than 10 times each. It is still unclear whether the loss of this booster will affect future production goals or the shift of development resources to the provider’s next-generation “Starship” vehicle.

Andrew Parsonson is a space enthusiast and the founder of Rocket Rundown. He has worked as a journalist and blogger for various industries for over 5 years and has a passion for both fictional and real-life space travel. Currently, Andrew is the primary writer for Rocket Rundown as we look to expand our reach and credibility.