Unprecedented Floating SpaceX Falcon 9 Hoisted from Port Canaveral, Fin and Leg Appendages Detached: Gallery

Landing legs are dissected
off SpaceX Falcon 9 one by one by crane crews on 11 Dec. 2018 after floating into
Port Canaveral on 7 Dec. towed by tugboats crews after sea ditch landing
following successful Dragon cargo launch for NASA to ISS on 5 Dec. 2018.  Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com/spaceupclose.com
Ken Kremer  SpaceUpClose.com &
RocketSTEM
–13 December 2018


PORT CANAVERAL, FL –
The unprecedented sight of a Floating SpaceX Falcon 9 first stage being towed
into Port Canaveral after a hydraulic malfunction forced aborting the planned land
landing to a safe sea ditch landing, continued offering several days of unparalleled
spectacular viewing opportunities as the booster was hoisted from the sea waters
and processed to detach its appendages.  



The horizontally floating
Falcon 9 first stage looked like a giant finned shark or alien sea  creature with three of its four landing legs poking
out above the ocean’s surface as the SpaceX naval fleet towed it into Port
Canaveral by Jetty Park Pier just after 11 a.m. EST Friday, Dec. 7 and
continued on to the docking slip beside the parking spot normally utilized by SpaceX’s
OCISLY droneship.
Three legged SpaceX Falcon
9 rests horizontally on two work cradles on 8 Dec. 2018 after hoisting out of
Port Canaveral channel by crane crews on 7 Dec. after floating horizontally into
port towed by tugboats crews after sea ditch landing following successful
Dragon cargo launch for NASA to ISS on 5 Dec. 2018.  Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com/spaceupclose.com
Late Friday afternoon work
crews attached 2 slings around the front and rear of the 15 story tall but
horizontally floating first stage. Then around 11 p.m. EST they hoisted the
booster out of the channel, allowed the waters to drain off and then placed it
onto a pair or cradles.
Three-legged
SpaceX Falcon 9 rests horizontally on two work cradles on 8 Dec. 2018 after hoisting
out of Port Canaveral channel by crane crews on 7 Dec. after floating horizontally
into port towed by tugboats crews after sea ditch landing following successful
Dragon cargo launch for NASA to ISS on 5 Dec. 2018.  Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com/spaceupclose.com

Then over the next few
days this week the technicians gradually removed the 3 remaining landing legs
and all four grid fins one by one.  



Check out our expanding
gallery of Space UpClose eyewitness photos documenting the dissection, disassembly
and detachment of the trio of landing legs and quartet of grid fins. 



And be sure to click on
our earlier galleries of the entire voyage from arrival at port, passing close
by the US Navy’s nuclear attack submarine the USS Indiana as well as traveling through
and docking at the port, and our Dec. 5 launch gallery of the Dragon cargo ship
for NASA.



Click back for more
imagery as the gallery grows. 

Up close look at rear
of three legged SpaceX Falcon 9 including 9 intact Merlin 1D engines, only 1 is
severely crumpled and damaged. It rests horizontally on two work cradles on 8 Dec.
2018 after hoisting out of Port Canaveral channel by crane crews on 7 Dec. and floating
horizontally into port towed by tugboats crews after sea ditch landing following
successful Dragon cargo launch for NASA to ISS on 5 Dec. 2018.  Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com/spaceupclose.com
Overhead view of three
legged SpaceX Falcon 9 in Port Canaveral on 8 Dec. 2018
after hoisting out of
Port Canaveral channel by crane crews on 7 Dec and launch on 5 Dec 2018
. Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com/spaceupclose.com

The SpaceX mission
began with the flawless bl
astoff of the new Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon CRS-16 commercial
cargo freighter right on time Wednesday afternoon December 5
as all nine first stage Merlin 1D engines roared to life and
ignited with 1.8 million pounds of liftoff thrust at 1:16 p.m. EST
(1816 GMT) from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force
Station in Florida.

A
SpaceX Dragon CRS-16 spacecraft launches to the International Space Station at
1:16 p.m. EST Dec. 5, 2018, on a Falcon 9 rocket from Space Launch Complex 40
at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida carrying more than 5,600 pounds
of research equipment, cargo and supplies on the 16th resupply
mission for NASA.
Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com/spaceupclose.com

The booster was towed into
Port Canaveral at lunchtime Friday by the Eagle tugboat assisted by a small
fleet of SpaceX contracted ships. 
After raising Falcon 9 out
of the channel onto work pedestals, crews from Logan Salvage and Diving removed
the flotation bags, cushions and rope lines installed at sea to keep the
booster safely afloat as the tugboats towed it to port. 



After raising Falcon 9 out
of the channel onto work pedestals, crews from Logan Salvage and Diving removed
the flotation bags, cushions and rope lines installed at sea to keep the
booster safely afloat as the tugboats towed it to port.

We could see that the
booster survived with remarkable resilience. Except for the interstage at top
which was heavily damaged, cracked, broken, deformed significantly and missing
pieces.  
Up close look at
interstage at top of three legged SpaceX Falcon 9.  It rests horizontally on two work cradles on 8
Dec. 2018 after hoisting out of Port Canaveral channel by crane crews on 7 Dec.
and floating horizontally into port towed by tugboats crews following launch
for NASA to ISS on 5 Dec. 2018.  Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com/spaceupclose.com
Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com/spaceupclose.com
Our photos clearly
document that all 9 Merlin 1D first stage engines survived intact, although the
bottom one was crumpled and severely damaged. 
The landing legs appeared
to have weathered the ocean trek with incredible fortitude.
Night view of formerly floating SpaceX Falcon 9 resting on two
cradles on 11 Dec. 2018 after crane crews detached all landing legs and grid
fins. 1st stage appears to hover in mid-air and it reflects in the
waters below. From Dragon CRS-16 NASA cargo launch to ISS. Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com/spaceupclose.com

Despite the fact that
it landed in the ocean and was subjected to corrosive sea water the  landing legs were dissected in the normal
fashion albeit with the booster resting horizontally on the cradles instead of
standing vertically on the normal working pedestal.

One by one for each leg
the landing legs struts were detached first followed by the landing pads. The
cranes crews carefully and methodically unbolted each piece of hardware and
then craned it away to a storage area behind the booster. 

Landing
legs are dissected off SpaceX Falcon 9 one by one by crane crews on 11 Dec. 2018
after floating into Port Canaveral on 7 Dec. towed by tugboats crews after sea
ditch landing following successful Dragon cargo launch for NASA to ISS on 5
Dec. 2018.  Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com/spaceupclose.com
Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com/spaceupclose.com
Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com/spaceupclose.com

In every prior instance,
the recovered first stage booster floats upright into Port Canaveral – clamped securely
atop the ‘Of Course I Still Love You’ or OCISLY droneship while being towed in
by the fleet of SpaceX leased ships.

The seemingly straight
out of science fiction floating Falcon event made for an absolutely otherworldly
and absolutely first of its kind sight on Friday, Dec. 7 – attracting the rapt
attention of space media like myself and colleagues and folks who just happened
to be in the right place at the right time.

The fourth landing leg
was missing. It either snapped off post splashdown or was hacked off by the diving
team from Logan Diving & Salvage who had attached floatation bags, cushion
and rope lines during its two day voyage back to port. In contrast all four
grid fins were intact. 


The Falcon 9 booster
arrived into Port Canaveral t
wo days after successfully launching a Dragon cargo ship to
the International Space Station (ISS) on Wednesday, Dec. 5. The grid fins
required for steering after malfunctioned due to a hydraulic pump failure.
Three-legged
SpaceX Falcon 9 rests horizontally on two work cradles on 8 Dec. 2018 after hoisting
out of Port Canaveral channel by crane crews on 7 Dec. after floating horizontally
into port towed by tugboats crews after sea ditch landing following successful
Dragon cargo launch for NASA to ISS on 5 Dec. 2018.  Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com/spaceupclose.com

The plummeting booster
was spinning out of control but eventually control was regained via firings of
the Merlin 1D engines and it accomplished an unplanned emergency aborted
landing in the Atlantic Ocean, tipping over and surviving horizontally as a remarkably
intact sea worthy vessel.

Three-legged, four grid
finned SpaceX Falcon 9 rests horizontally on two work cradles on 8 Dec. 2018 after
hoisting out of Port Canaveral channel by crane crews on 7 Dec and launch on 5
Dec 2018
. Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com/spaceupclose.com

Workers remove floatation cushions, bags and rope lines from formerly
floating SpaceX Falcon 9 resting on two cradles on 8 Dec. 2018 in Port
Canaveral, FL.  From Dragon CRS-16 NASA
cargo launch to ISS. Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com/spaceupclose.com




Overhead view of two
legged SpaceX Falcon 9 in Port Canaveral on 9 Dec. 2018 after rear facing leg detached.
Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com/spaceupclose.com



Watch for Ken’s continuing
onsite coverage of NASA, SpaceX, ULA, Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman
and more space and mission reports direct from the Kennedy Space Center, Cape
Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida and Wallops Flight Facility, Virginia.

Stay tuned here for Ken’s continuing Earth and Planetary science
and human spaceflight news: www.kenkremer.com –www.spaceupclose.com – twitter
@ken_kremer – email: ken at kenkremer.com

Dr. Kremer is a research scientist,
journalist and photographer based in the KSC area.

………….

Ken’s photos are for sale and he is available for lectures and outreach events

Learn more about the upcoming/recent SpaceX Falcon 9/USAF GPS 3-01, SpaceX Falcon 9/CRS-16
launch to ISS,  NASA missions, ULA Atlas
& Delta launches, SpySats and more at Ken’s upcoming outreach events at Quality Inn Kennedy Space Center, Titusville,
FL, evenings:

Dec
15/17
: “SpaceX Dragon CRS-16
resupply launch to ISS, SpaceX Falcon GPS 3-01, SpaceX Falcon Heavy &
Falcon 9 launches, upcoming SpaceX Falcon 9 USAF GP3 3-01, NRO & USAF
Spysats, SLS, Orion, Boeing and SpaceX Commercial crew capsules, OSIRIS-Rex,
Juno at Jupiter, InSight Mars lander, Curiosity and Opportunity explore Mars,
NH at Pluto, Kuiper Belt and more,” Kennedy Space Center Quality Inn, Titusville,
FL, evenings. Photos for sale



Night view of formerly floating SpaceX Falcon 9 resting on two
cradles on 11 Dec. 2018 after crane crews detached all landing legs and grid
fins. 1st stage appears to hover in mid-air and it reflects in the
waters below. From Dragon CRS-16 NASA cargo launch to ISS. Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com/spaceupclose.com
Overhead view of two
legged SpaceX Falcon 9 in Port Canaveral on 9 Dec. 2018 after rear facing leg detached.
Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com/spaceupclose.com
Two legged SpaceX
Falcon 9 in Port Canaveral on 9 Dec. 2018 after rear facing leg detached.
Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com/spaceupclose.com
Two legged SpaceX
Falcon 9 in Port Canaveral on 9 Dec. 2018 after rear facing leg detached.
Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com/spaceupclose.com
Three-legged, four grid
finned SpaceX Falcon 9 rests horizontally on two work cradles on 8 Dec. 2018 after
hoisting out of Port Canaveral channel by crane crews on 7 Dec and launch on 5
Dec 2018
. Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com/spaceupclose.com
Three-legged, four grid
finned SpaceX Falcon 9 rests horizontally on two work cradles on 8 Dec. 2018 after
hoisting out of Port Canaveral channel by crane crews on 7 Dec and launch on 5
Dec 2018
. Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com/spaceupclose.com


Ken Kremer

Watch for Ken’s continuing onsite coverage of NASA, SpaceX, ULA, Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and more space and mission reports direct from Kennedy Space Center and Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida and Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. Stay tuned here for Ken's continuing Earth and Planetary science and human spaceflight news. Dr. Kremer is a research scientist and journalist based in the KSC area, active in outreach and interviewed regularly on TV and radio about space topics. Ken’s photos are for sale and he is available for lectures and outreach events.

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