Rough seas damage Falcon 9

Lift from drone ship shows damage to all legs and engines of a brand new booster on CRS-24:

It appears to have slid around on the drone ship after landing and likely damaged itself mostly by collisions with the Octagrabber robot that’s supposed drive under the booster to secure it:

Did the Octagrabber fail to fully engage initially, thereby allowing relative motion when the rough weather hit?


The rocket nozzles appear to have been damaged too. Remembering Elon Musk’s recent tweets about the need to deal with problems in the rate of engine production, that has to hurt.


He was discussing Raptor engines for Starship. These are Merlins. But potential unplanned loss of a brand new Falcon is tough.


Presumably that Falcon is repairable – it did not look like a total loss. But the need for those unscheduled repairs will have impacts on the production schedule for other SpacEx rockets.

It may also be necessary to do a redesign of the hold-down system on the ship – which could also delay the launch schedule until those updates are complete.

I guess this is why they talk about being at the “bleeding edge of technology”.

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The nozzles look like they’re crushed and, given damage to the regenerative cooling channels, probably a total loss. But unless the mechanical forces have coupled back through the nozzle, the combustion chamber and turbomachinery are probably fine. These are the most expensive parts of a rocket engine.