In the beginning of Scott Manley's new video The First Commercial Lunar Spacecraft - 20 Years before Israel & Beresheet he takes a moment to talk about recent Falcon Heavy core falling off the boat incident. He advances his theory for what happened, and says that currently there is no evidence to the contrary:

I have an alternate theory, and there is nothing to disprove my idea that the driver of the barge simply didn’t notice this very unfortunate sign on their route home.

The sign shown in the video says 121 feet 6 inches, which is only about 36.8 meters. I don't know if this is a real photograph or just artwork as a visual aid.

Scott Manley is a generally recognized as credible source for space information in general, so if he says there's currently no information to the contrary, then this is plausible scenario.

But that leads me to wonder where there is a height limit of ~37 meters for ships bringing rockets back home, and what obstruction (if any) is causing that limit.

SpaceX Barge height limit

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    $\begingroup$ I interpreted that comment as a joke. The incident occurred well away from port, and thus any possible obstructions. $\endgroup$
    – Lex
    Apr 19, 2019 at 15:47
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    $\begingroup$ The sign itself would have to be a joke. Waterway clearances are communicated on navigation charts, not by highway signs. $\endgroup$
    – BowlOfRed
    Apr 19, 2019 at 16:59
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    $\begingroup$ @BowlOfRed I'll never trust anything Manley says again. The next think you're going to tell me is that Kerbals aren't real I suppose, even though I've seen a few in some of his videos? $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Apr 19, 2019 at 17:05
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    $\begingroup$ His accent is enough to convince me it's all true. $\endgroup$
    – BowlOfRed
    Apr 19, 2019 at 17:42
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    $\begingroup$ I believe he was following up on the memes around 11foot8 en.wikipedia.org/wiki/11_foot_8_Bridge which has it's own website and specifically the height sign being re-used in other contexts. I saw the sign on his twitter stream first, where the joke context was clearer, along with connection to 11foot8. In the isolated context of the video and his delivery it seems much more plausible. $\endgroup$ Apr 19, 2019 at 23:29

1 Answer 1


Core loss was initially discussed from reddit reports of a pilot over the atlantic, and later confirmed by spacex on April 15. https://www.theverge.com/2019/4/15/18311945/spacex-falcon-heavy-center-core-drone-ship-rough-ocean

Ships were still offshore on April 17 and had yet to be near any structures/bridges/etc. https://twitter.com/SpaceXFleet/status/1118553932429709312

This tweet from EverydayAstronaut on the 15th suggests the fleet was ~1000km from shore when it toppled.


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