The SpaceX Falcon 9 (F9-0025) mission that launched the Thaicomm-8 satellite to GTO orbit recovered its first stage.

Looking at pictures of it coming into Port Canaveral we see it listing to the side, the Leaning Tower of SpaceX.

Why is it leaning?


1 Answer 1


Landing looks like it came in hard on one leg, as it corrected at the last moment to get right on target (since the center engines gimbal is the main control mechanism at that point in flight). You can see this in the SpaceX Flickr feed like this:

Landing hard

So one leg appears to have taken more load than others.

Elon tweeted that the aluminum honeycomb crush core worked to take the load:

Tweet about crush core

Tweet on how Apollo used crush cores in lunar lander

It appears that once you start crushing this way, it does not bounce back, which makes sense.

You can see this, when OCISLY came into Port Canaveral (Jul 2, 2016), carrying the first stage, that the three visible landing legs are at different levels of extension.

Here you can see the leg that is mostly extended, least collapsed.

Extended landing leg

Here you can see a half collapsed, half extended leg.

Half extended

This is probably the leg that was mostly collpased, as you can below.

Mostly collapsed

As they came into port, they used high tech materials to prop the leg up:

High tech shimmery

  • 5
    $\begingroup$ Is that high tech organic biodegradable carbon based material by any chance or do my eyes fail me at such amazing image resolution? :D $\endgroup$
    – PTwr
    Jun 3, 2016 at 8:30
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @PTwr Avoid exposure to heat and oxygen, it might start a nice bonfire. Yep, wood shims. Use what you got, right? $\endgroup$
    – geoffc
    Jun 3, 2016 at 11:18
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    $\begingroup$ Technology. Next cargo to ISS should include pack of emergency wood planks. $\endgroup$
    – PTwr
    Jun 3, 2016 at 11:25
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    $\begingroup$ This is probably the leg that was mostly collpased, as you can below. I think that you a word. $\endgroup$
    – dotancohen
    Jun 25, 2017 at 7:29

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