Empty drone ship returns to Port Canaveral after Falcon Heavy launch

Core stage missed 'Of Course I Still Love You' target hitting Atlantic Ocean

By Emilee Speck - Digital journalist

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. - SpaceX's drone ship returned empty Thursday to Port Canaveral after the successful launch of the Falcon Heavy rocket, but failed booster barge landing.

After the rocket's debut launch Tuesday  from Kennedy Space Center, two of the rocket's boosters safely landed back at Cape Canaveral Air Force Base in tandem, only the center core didn't survive the return to Earth. 

The middle booster missed the “drone ship” landing target and hit the Atlantic Ocean at about 300 mph, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk said.

Video shared by the Exploration Tower at Port Canaveral Thursday showed the drone ship called, "Of Course I Still Love You" coming back into port.   

Musk said the booster did not stick the landing after  only one of three engines fired during a burn designed to line up the landing and slow the rocket’s descent. 

The first stage missed the boat entirely, but the force of its water impact was enough to "take out" two engines on the nearby drone ship and spray it with debris.

 Musk said he plans to release a "blooper reel" of the failed landing if the camera didn't "get blown up." 

Meanwhile, the Falcon Heavy's test payload, Musk's own cherry red Tesla Roadster, continues on its journey into deep space. The three cameras mounted to the electric sports car provided beautiful views of the Earth's sphere.

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