SpaceX’s Falcon 9 Booster B1058 Lost at Sea: Record-breaking Booster Meets its End26th Dec 2023
SpaceX faced a setback as its historic Falcon 9 booster B1058 met its end during transport on Christmas Day. The booster was destroyed due to rough sea weather and the age of the rocket. Despite the loss, SpaceX remains committed to salvaging valuable data from the remaining hardware.
B1058’s Legacy: A Fleet Leader in Launches
B1058, having completed an impressive 19 successful missions and vertical landings, held the title of fleet leader in launches. Notably, it played a pivotal role in lifting the first U.S. astronauts from American soil since the end of the Space Shuttle era, showcasing its significance in SpaceX’s achievements.
The booster was lost during transport, with rough sea weather and the ageing of the rocket, SpaceX reported on X (Twitter).
Photos of the returning ship revealed only the lower segment of B1058 remaining, with three landing legs deployed and all nine Merlin engines intact.
Despite the loss, SpaceX plans to salvage the remaining hardware and conduct life leader inspections on the engines. SpaceX’s Vice President of Falcon Launch Vehicles, Jon Edwards, emphasized the value still present in the booster, highlighting their commitment to extracting valuable information.
B1058’s Notable Missions
The upper segment of B1058 carried a unique marking, signifying its role in launching the first astronauts for NASA. The booster was adorned with NASA’s “worm” logotype, lost with the upper segment during the incident.
B1058’s impressive resume included launching SpaceX’s 21st cargo delivery to the International Space Station (CRS-21), a dedicated satellite launch for South Korea (ANASIS-II), and numerous Starlink missions. The booster’s certification for 20 launches highlighted its reliability.
SpaceX’s fans expressed regret that B1058 had not made it into a museum for preservation. However, SpaceX’s priority is salvaging valuable data, and the possibility of museum display is not currently mentioned.
Despite the loss, SpaceX remains resilient, viewing the incident as an opportunity to learn and improve. Kiko Dontchev, SpaceX’s Vice President of Launch, emphasized the company’s commitment to turning challenges into opportunities for growth.
As SpaceX continues its journey into the realms of space exploration, the loss of B1058 serves as a reminder of the challenges inherent in pushing the boundaries of technology. Salvaging valuable data from the historic booster reinforces SpaceX’s commitment to continuous improvement and advancing the future of space travel.