SpaceX launched two NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Douglas Hurley on the first private spaceflight to the International Space Station (ISS) late last night as it was returning to land from the launch pad with its Falcon 9 booster, tipped into the Atlantic Ocean while on its way back to the launch pad.
SpaceX 19th Mission: In less than four years, rockets have launched more than 200 tons of satellites
After the NASA mission was completed, the rocket was the first in SpaceX’s fleet that launch nearly a thousand satellites into space when it completed 19 consecutive successful missions.
SpaceX has launched more than a thousand satellites using the rocket. SpaceX launched its latest rocket before the holiday weekend, when it landed on SpaceX’s drone ship in the ocean, carrying a batch of Starlink satellites just before it launched with a batch of satellites.
It has taken less than four years for SpaceX to launch more than two hundred tons of satellites using a rocket that tips over into a drone ship after launching more than two hundred tons
Exactly a year after the space shuttle was retired from orbital human spaceflight in the United States, B1058 launched Demo-2, the mission that would return the United States to orbital human spaceflight.
As a result of its roughly 3.5-year flight history, the Dragon went on to successfully launch hundreds of Starlink satellites and other payloads into orbit.
Since then, it has become a significant and sentimental booster for much of the spaceflight community because it brought back the iconic NASA worm logo, which had been missing from the profession for a long time.
Although B1058’s loss is unfortunate, it is worthwhile to remember that it flew 18 more missions than any other expendable rocket ever flown.
The lessons learned will contribute to a better understanding of Falcon 9’s recovery and preflight operations. Over 250+ orbital rocket landings were achieved during its 19 flights, a record that no other company in the industry can match.
The Falcon 9 program operated by SpaceX is without a doubt one of the most successful launches in the industry’s history, even if it is not necessarily the most successful one ever.
There are only a few boosters of this kind in the world, and they are the only ones that can be used to lift heavy payloads into space and land vertically by using their propellants to help them achieve this feat.
Furthermore, it is also important to mention that since each rocket can be used more than a dozen times, the marginal cost to SpaceX and its customers of launching a payload to space is also significantly lower than that of having to make each booster for each new launch just as had SpaceX built each booster separately.
It has been considered one of SpaceX’s big successes in building the Starlink low Earth orbit (LEO) satellite internet constellation as a result of the Falcon 9’s somewhat rapid reusability, aided by a larger number of rockets in the fleet.
Since the construction of rockets means that bookings for such missions take longer than usual, previous attempts to carry out such missions have failed.
As this was SpaceX’s first launch of its CCP commercial crew program booster, today’s launch was particularly significant since it was launched in May 2020 on their first crewed demonstration mission for NASA’s Commercial Crew Program (CCP).
The rocket launched two astronauts, along with a South Korean military satellite, two missions for SpaceX that were part of their satellite ride-share program, and 14 missions for Starlink after it launched two astronauts.
There have been more than 260 metric tons of satellites and spacecraft launched into space from the launch of the DM-2 over the past three and a half years.
As the only SpaceX rocket booster in its fleet, the DM-2 astronaut launch rocket booster, has been on 19 missions, the remaining three rocket boosters in the company’s fleet have completed 17 missions apiece.
The last of these rocket boosters will certainly work to launch another military satellite for the Republic of Korea this month, which will make history as the first booster to fly and land 14 times in its career.
The Falcon 9 rocket’s first unplanned mission was deemed an accident by SpaceX, who defined it as an accident since it tipped off from a drone ship into the water instead of landing on the surface.
It was shared on social media that this was due to the wind and waves causing the booster to tip over on the droneship which has been modified to prevent a recurrence of the incident.
The modifications will make it possible for Falcon 9 to avoid similar mishaps in the future.
In the drone ship, there is a chance that the booster may still be present and can be salvaged.
For more information, here is what SpaceX’s VP of Launch had to say about the launch:
According to a new video released by SpaceX’s droneship, half of the booster was lost to the ocean as its final resting place, showing that the booster has been lost forever.
Jonathan Kraus has created some great photography that you can see here.
Here are Some Key Points:
The ill-fated booster played a pivotal role in the first privately launched spaceflight to the International Space Station (ISS), carrying NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Douglas Hurley.
This mission, part of the Commercial Crew Program (CCP), was a historic demonstration of SpaceX’s capabilities.
Impressive Track Record:
The Falcon 9 program, considered one of the most successful in the history of space launches, boasted a remarkable streak of 19 consecutive successful missions.
This fleet, designed for reusability, significantly reduced launch costs and facilitated the deployment of over a thousand satellites into space.
SpaceX’s rapid rocket reusability, coupled with a growing fleet, played a pivotal role in the success of the Starlink low Earth orbit (LEO) satellite internet constellation.
This accomplishment is a testament to the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of the Falcon 9 program.
Beyond crewed missions, the booster was instrumental in launching a South Korean military satellite, multiple satellite ride-share missions, and a series of Starlink missions.
Throughout three and a half years, it lifted an impressive 260 metric tons of cargo into space.
The recent incident, where the booster tipped into the ocean, is a rare occurrence for SpaceX.
The company attributed it to adverse weather conditions, emphasizing changes to the mechanical design of the Falcon 9’s legs to prevent similar mishaps in the future.
Despite the setback, there is optimism regarding salvaging the booster from the ocean. SpaceX’s VP of Launch shared insights on the incident, and footage from the drone ship revealed the extent of the loss.