A core part of a SpaceX rocket narrowly missed a landing pad, crashed into the sea, and exploded during a test that CEO Elon Musk described as the “most difficult” in company history.
At around 2:30 a.m. ET on Tuesday, a Falcon Heavy rocket lifted off from Cape Canaveral, Florida, the third time Falcon Heavy has been launched since its introduction in February 2018.
It launched with three reusable boosters, two of which made it back to earth in one piece. However, as seen in this video, the third, central booster, was not as successful:
The central core booster narrowly missed SpaceX’s floating platform, known as Of Course I Still Love You. Instead it crashed into the sea and appeared to explode.
Elon Musk, SpaceX’s CEO, tweeted: “Center core RUD. It was a long shot.” RUD stands for “rapid unscheduled disassembly.”
Here is SpaceX’s full stream of the event. You can see the moment the booster crashes around 35 minutes into the video, from T+00:10:40: