Falcon 9 Rocket Booster Returns, a First 8x Reused

Space Coast, FL – Yesterday, the SpaceX Marine Fleet returned to Port Canaveral in Florida with the Falcon 9 rocket booster B1051.8. This now makes the rocket booster the life leader and takes over from it’s successor B1049.7.

Falcon 9 Rocket Booster B1051.8 entering Port Canaveral
B1051.8 on top of the drone ship Just Read The Instructions enters Port Canaveral | photo: Jon Van Horne

Falcon 9 Rocket Booster Mission Return

The Falcon 9 rocket booster returned from the 17th Starlink mission by SpaceX that launched on Jan. 20, 2021. The previous missions this particular Falcon 9 has flown are DM-1 (Demo Mission 1), RCM (RADARSAT), four previous Starlink missions and SXM-7 (SiriusXM 7).

GO Ms. Chief and GO Ms. Tree did not catch the fairings on this mission. Unfortunately rough seas made it difficult and, as of current, there is no word on what happened to the fairings. They left the area to accommodate a fairing fishing excursion for Transporter-1, in which they were both successful.

Tugboat Hawk tows Just Read The Instructions with Falcon 9 Rocket Booster
Tug Hawk tows drone ship Just Read The Instructions with rocket booster on top | photo: Jon Van Horne

Scorched Rocket Booster

The dark brown and black scorch marks on a returning rocket booster is from it’s re-entry burn, the heat of Earth’s atmosphere and landing burn. SpaceX does clean down the rocket but more prominent cleaning is done around inspection areas for re-flight.

The drone ship Just Read The Instructions was posted in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of South Carolina. This would be roughly 633km (393mi) down range from Space Launch Complex 40.

Eight times scorched Falcon 9 Rocket Booster
8 times scorched SpaceX rocket booster| photo: Jon Van Horne

Falcon 9 Rocket booster B1051.8 is currently in Port Canaveral and being processed for transport back to SpaceX facilities on Cape Canaveral Space Force Station. Will we see a 9th launch and landing from this booster? We are thinking yes, and can’t wait.

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