SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket completes historic third launch and landing

03 December, 2018, 21:59 | Author: Tara Reeves
  • Watch SpaceX launch a twice-used rocket tomorrow at 1:31PM ET

Sunday's planned launch of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Vandenberg Air Force Base in Lompoc has been delayed 24 hours.

Sunday morning's launch attempt was postponed to allow for additional inspections of the rocket's second stage. Going into Monday's flight, SpaceX's record stood at 19 successful drone ship recoveries, 11 at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida and one at Vandenberg Air Force Base northwest of Los Angeles. It's possible that the average 3-4 months Block 5 boosters now spend between launches is filled exclusively with inspections, nondestructive testing, and perhaps some mild cleaning in certain areas, but it's certainly not as probable as the need for some mildly to moderately significant repairs or part replacements. Another delay was caused by bad weather.

The Falcon 9 will carry to orbit 64 spacecraft, in particular 15 Micro satellites and 49 cubesats, for 35 customers from 17 countries. That will make it the largest single collection of spacecraft to launch from the US.

Some of the satellites are aiming to build an internet network that could support smart devices.

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SpaceX founder Elon Musk says the new "block 5" stages are designed fly dozens of times with minimal refurbishment between launchings, a key element in the company's drive to lower launch costs by recovering and re-flying the Falcon 9's first stage.

"Most of the start-ups are planning to eventually have constellations of between 60 and 100 satellites", Wired reported.

A Falcon 9 launches to orbit for an unprecedented third time. No SpaceX rocket has ever flown more than twice.

That means that the same Falcon 9 booster could conduct two launches in the same day.

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