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SpaceX returns five-flight Falcon 9 booster to port as next reuse approaches



SpaceX, for the second time ever, has successfully recovered a Falcon 9 booster after five orbital-class launches and landings, and may be just a week or so away from its next record reuse.

On the morning of August 10, after a night spent waiting for entry, tugboats carefully guided the Drone-Free Ship of the Course I Still Love You (OCISLY) and Falcon 9 B1051 booster at SpaceX’s Port Canaallel airports. Just three days ago, the amplifier completed its fifth launch and landing, sending 57 Starlink satellites and two merchant spacecraft on their way into orbit, ending an unusual six weeks of delays suffered by the Starlink-9 mission.

With Starlink-9 ̵

1; the 13th SpaceX launch of the year – now surely behind the company, work can continue in earnest on a handful of upcoming launches.

The Falcon 9 B1051 completed its fifth launch and landing on August 7 and returned to port three days later. (Richard Angle)

Two days before the arrival of B1051 in Port Canaava, the recovery vessels GO Mrs. Tree and GO Mrs. Chief completed a safe return to port with both halves of the Starlink-9 cargo Fall 9 break, fished from the Atlantic Ocean of an effort unsuccessful capture. While disappointing that SpaceX was unable to complete the back-to-back captures as the same ships nailed their first simultaneous capture for the reward on July 21st. With any luck, SpaceX will be able to copy some of this unparalleled success with its next launches.

Fairing recovery boats Ms. Tree and Mrs. Chief returned to port on August 8 with both halves of Starlink-9 priced intact. Catch or not catch, they are likely to be reused in the near future. (Richard Angle)

Of the two additional releases that SpaceX has planned later this month, both are obvious. Scheduled no earlier than mid-August (NET), SpaceX’s 10th launch of StarXink v1.0 – the 11th overall – is likely to climb further, according to well-launched photographer Ben Cooper. If it ends without a release, SpaceX will be 70% of the way through a historic launch of 14 launches said by COO and President Gwynne Shotwell to mark the point at which the company can begin to traverse Starlink’s web services for a test wider public beta.

Historic point of constellation aside, NextSpaceflight.com says SpaceX has assigned the Falcon 9 B1049 booster to Starlink-9. That particular vehicle became the orbital-class liquid rocket booster in history that launched and landed five times after orbital-class missions when it helped place the Starlink V1 L7 cargo into orbit on June 4th.

The B1049 became the first booster to launch and land five times on June 4 and return to port three days later. (Richard Angle)

If the B1049 flies again in mid-August, the booster will become the first to overtake the first six-launch start stone just 70-80 days after it became the first to hit the five-landing mark. While impressive, this turnaround would be only the sixth or seventh in the history of SpaceX booster reuse. However, given that the sixth launch of the B1049 would be a pathway mission for the reusability of the Falcon 9 Block 5, it would be a huge box of confidence in the design if SpaceX were able to break two boost reuse records in a row. with the same Falcon 9 – and so do less than three months away.

After Starlink-9 and on the heels of month of delays mainly related to the coronavirus, SpaceX’s next mission is believed to be SAOCOM 1B – an Earth observation radar satellite built by the Argentine space agency CONAE. Originally scheduled to start on March 30, things did not go exactly as planned. While there is still a significant chance the mission will slide further into 2020, SAOCOM 1B and some deliberately invalid loads are currently scheduled to launch .NET by the end of August. The mission will be the fourth release of the Falcon 9 B1059 booster and may also occur just 70-80 days after its third flight.

An extremely scenic August 10 return to Port Canaava closed the fifth launch of the B1051 Falcon 9 booster, landing and recovery. (Richard Angle)

Meanwhile, the safe return of the B1051 to port and the inevitable debut of the sixth launch of the B1049 suggests the former booster could be ready for its sixth launch as early as October, potentially leaving enough time for one or both missiles. to squeeze in a milestone of seven flights before the year comes out.

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