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The Falcon 9 booster landing was aborted due to an engine failure

After a liftoff last month, a Falcon 9 first phase did fail to touch down when one of its engines closed during the flight due to hot gas penetrating a worn-out cover. Benji Reed, who serves as the senior director in charge of the human spaceflight initiatives at SpaceX, stated during a NASA media briefing on March 1 regarding the forthcoming Crew-2 commercial crew flight which while the booster utilized on that February 15 launch was undertaking its sixth mission, some elements on it were “life leaders” which had flown more times compared to any other in Falcon 9 fleet.

That also included “boots,” or wraps around sections of Merlin engines in the first phase. “It was the most flights this specific boot design had ever seen,” he explained. One of the boots, though, had a “tiny bit of a hole” in it, allowing hot gas to reach parts of the engine throughout the flight, he stated. “A small amount of hot gas got into an environment where it wasn’t meant to be, and it caused the engine to close down,” he explained.

The engine stopped down at some point during the release, according to Reed, but he claims it happened during ascent. “A nice thing regarding Falcon 9 is that we’ve had engine-out capacity,” he stated, indicating one of the first phase’s nine engines will shut down without compromising the project. “The vehicle was able to enter orbit and position the satellites precisely where they needed to be. The primary goal was accomplished.”

The first level, however, was unable to land due to the engine shutdown. “When the booster started to return home, we didn’t have quite enough thrust to just getting back to where we required to be, and we didn’t land where we expected to be,” he explained. Reed’s comments included the most information to date about why the booster missed landing, snapping a nearly year-long string of two dozen successive landings. Hans Koenigsmann, a long-serving SpaceX executive who is now the firm’s senior advisor for the build as well as flight efficiency, stated on February 23 that “heat disruption” was to blame, but he didn’t elaborate.

The Falcon 9 has not been deployed since that February 15 flight, though the corporation attempted another release of Starlink satellites on February 28. The launch was canceled 84 seconds before the planned liftoff time of 8:37 p.m. Eastern, and the firm has not given any additional information about the reason for the cancellation.

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