The Next Falcon 9 Launch Puts SpaceX One Step Closer to the “Holy Grail”

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SpaceX’s Next Falcon 9 Launch Features Several Firsts for Musk’s Dream of Reusable Rockets.

Elon Musk turned a bunch of heads earlier this week when he told the Air Force that he could launch Starship at a cost of around $2 million per launch. In that same conversation, he credited one thing to the reduction in costs: reusability. In fact, Musk called the fully reusable rocket the “holy grail” of space travel. There’s been buzz surrounding SpaceX for the last few months, as there always is, but they haven’t launched a rocket in about three months. So when the next Falcon 9 launch—which will carry a payload of 60 Starlink satellites—got the green light for liftoff as early as Monday, people started getting excited. Now there are a few more reasons to be excited.

According to Teslarati, Musk’s online temple, SpaceX will deploy twin fairing recovery ships on this mission. If you’re unfamiliar with the Falcon 9, or how it’s recovery system works, let me give you a rundown. The rocket has several stages, but the main stage is the first. That’s the one that is capable of landing on its own using controlled propulsion engines. The other stages, along with the cargo fairing sections of the rocket, need to be recovered from the sea. For previous missions, just one fairing recovery ship had been used, GO Ms. Tree. Now Ms. Tree has a partner ship, GO Ms. Chief. The ability to simultaneously catch and recover both halves of the cargo fairing section is a significant step for the long term feasibility of reusable rockets.

See Falcon 9 Land At Sea!

Another First (Er… Fourth?) for This Falcon 9 Launch

Okay, bear with me here. The next Falcon 9 launch will be the fourth use of this particular Falcon 9 Block 5 booster. That is a first for SpaceX. Four other Falcon 9 boosters flew three times, but none has ever reached four—until (fingers crossed) Monday. 

If the numbers Musk was boasting about this week are to be believed (and I do want to believe them) then the reusable rocket really is the Holy Grail right now.

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Brandon Humphreys

Brandon Humphreys

I'm a wizard. I write stuff and it goes from my head into yours - Magic! Apart from that, I am the Senior Editor for Space Porn, a veteran, a rock guitarist, and a teacher.

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