China Lucks Out Again as Out-of-Control Rocket Booster Falls in the Pacific Ocean
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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — A rocket-powered rocket booster exploded on the ocean surface in the Pacific Ocean at almost the exact same time as the second SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket was shooting off from Cape Canaveral, Florida.
This was the second in a series of dramatic failures during this week’s rocket launch campaign for the company. The first, a booster failure at the same precise time as the Falcon Heavy, set off an explosion and burned a massive amount of fuel.
But the latest mishap occurred several thousand miles away, near Hawaii. The rocket booster was launched by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and was intended to provide an air sampling device for the weather forecasting department.
A National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) official said the agency’s Ocean Sentry is the only one of the devices that will monitor satellite and meteorological data during this period, when the launch of a Falcon Heavy has been postponed.
“NOAA is currently working to determine the cause of a rocket booster failure that occurred near Hawaii at the same time that the launch of an Air Force version of the Falcon Heavy was about to take place,” said NOAA spokeswoman Karen White. “There are currently few details available at this time. We have no information on the status of the Air Force launch, and we are awaiting a statement from them about the booster failure.”
SpaceX announced on its website Monday that it was delaying the Falcon Heavy’s launch from November 17 to November 25 by four hours. The next day, it said the Falcon Heavy would launch at the exact same time as the Air Force’s first use of the Falcon 9 rocket booster. That launch date also fell on a holiday weekend. However, SpaceX said it would try again on November 29.
The delay of the Falcon Heavy launch and the loss of the Ocean Sentry device are all attributed to the rocket booster failure on November 16 at Cape Canaveral, Florida.
The Air Force initially said that the failure had occurred on the Falcon 9 rocket’s second stage, which had been fueled for the second time. But,