Η SpaceX launched another batch Starlink satellites on Sunday morning, via the rocket Falcon 9, approaching in this way, an important milestone in rocket reuse.
The Falcon 9 first-stage booster who put this payload on track, the Booster no. 1051, carried out the his ninth flight and successfully landed on the company’s Of Course I Still Love You droneship.
It is the first Falcon 9 rocket to have completed nine missions.
This is very interesting news, as it gives hope that one could be realized tenth flight in the near future, maybe within the next two months.
Achieving ten flights would also mean achieving one of SpaceX 's main goals for the Falcon 9. rocket. The company had built the spacecraft in such a way that it could be used multiple times.
The company started on "Block 5" version of the Falcon 9 rocket in May 2018 and since then this vehicle has made 55 successful missions.
Most importantly, the changes made by SpaceX engineers to this new rocket to ensure its durability for reuse have proven to be highly effective.
"For those who know from rockets, this is very difficult", Said the founder of SpaceX, Elon Musk, during a video conference in 2018.
"We started in 2002. It took sixteen years of tremendous effort, many repetitions and thousands of small but significant developmental changes to get where we need to be.".
At the time, Musk had set two key goals for the Falcon 9 first-stage booster. One of them was to fly each vehicle 10 times before major maintenance is required.
From what the ninth successful launch on Sunday showed, SpaceX is doing very well with this goal.
Η company has not disclosed Falcon 9 first-stages maintenance procedures between launches or engine change frequency Merlin, however, it seems that the nuclei have proven to be reliable and robust.
Many Falcon 9 first stage boosters have now flown more than five times.
The ability Falcon 9 rocket launcher speed allowed SpaceX to achieve high launch rate in recent months, with less than 10 active boosters.
In recent months, SpaceX has been launching on average a rocket every nine days.
SpaceX is constantly making missions, having committed to direct launch of thousands of Starlink satellites.
Astronomers have expressed concern about the impact of these satellites on the night sky, and experts are worried about possible collisions.
However, there is no doubt that the technique required to put satellites into orbit so quickly is impressive.
Source: Ars Technica