One of the things most of us like most about Elon Musk is that he isn’t afraid to talk about failures. In fact, he made an awesome video of SpaceX’s failed Falcon 9 booster landings for us to watch in the past. We all know that the actual launch of the Falcon Heavy with Musk’s own Tesla Roadster and a “Starman” inside went off without a hitch.
At this point, you probably also know that while SpaceX tried to land that Falcon Heavy booster on a drone ship in the ocean, that landing failed. Musk is now offering details on exactly what happened. The pair of Falcon Heavy side boosters landed successfully. Musk says that the core booster crashed when two of the three engines didn’t fire during a landing burn.
Musk tweeted recently that the two engines failed to fire because they ran out of ignition fluid. Musk tweeted, “Not enough ignition fluid to light the outer two engines after several three engine relights,” Musk wrote. “Fix is pretty obvious.” More ignition fluid presumably.
Musk also talked about a third drone ship for landing future rockets offshore. This ship will be called “A Shortfall of Gravitas.” The name is presumably meant to honor the spacecraft in Iain M Banks’ novels “Look to Windward” and “Matter” that was called “Experiencing A Significant Gravitas Shortfall.”
SpaceX’s other drone ships are named after ships in books written by the same author. Those drone ships are called “Of Course I Still Love You” and “Just Read The Instructions.” SpaceX has another drone ship with metal arms intended to catch the payload fairing, costing about $5 million, before they fall into the ocean and are lost to the depths.