A SpaceX rocket lost its nosecone during an otherwise successful launch in Florida


Falcon 9 launch

  • A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket had a successful liftoff on Monday evening from Cape Canaveral.
  • The rocket’s nosecone was meant to be caught by two drone ships after detaching from the spacecraft, but they narrowly missed and the nose fell into the sea.
  • Developing rocket components which can be easily recovered is key to SpaceX’s goal of developing re-usable rocket technology.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

A SpaceX rocket launch on Monday went perfectly except for one detail — the rocket lost its nosecone.

At 7:10 p.m. ET Monday, a Falcon 9 rocket took off from Cape Canaveral, Florida. It was delivering satellites for SpaceX’s Starlink satellite network programme into orbit.

The rocket’s nosecone (otherwise known as the fairing halves) was supposed to be caught by two drone ships — named Ms Tree and Ms Chief – waiting in the Atlantic Ocean, equipped with large stretched-out sheets.

Although the rocket successfully deployed the satellites, the company confirmed on Twitter that the ships had just missed catching both halves of the nosecone.

It is not unusual for rockets to lose their nosecones. The nosecones on rockets are designed to protect the spacecraft’s payload, then split in two and detach after it’s gone into space, which is why the nosecone is also referred to as the fairing halves.


SpaceX’s mission is not just to launch rockets however. Along with many other space exploration companies, SpaceX is racing to build reusable rockets, with the aim being to gradually lower the cost of space flight.

Monday’s flight was meant to be another step towards this goal, as it was supposed to mark the most rocket components recovered from any SpaceX flight, according to the Verge.

SEE ALSO: SpaceX’s president said the company is exploring how to stop Starlink satellites from annoying astronomers

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Watch Google reveal the new Nest Mini, which is an updated Home Mini