SpaceX Successfully Has Third Launch for the Same Booster and Can Reuse the Fairings

SpaceX Launched the same block 5 first stage rocket booster for the third time. The launch was a success and the booster landed and can be reused a fourth time. The two halves of the fairing were almost caught by the Mr. Stevens boat. However, the water landing was so soft that the fairings were not damaged and can be reused.

Waterproofing and Cleaning Fairings

International company RUAG builds payload fairings and other parts for both United Launch Alliance and Arianespace. RUAG had a study that the best way to reuse fairings is to make them waterproof and clean them after soft ocean landings.

64 Satellites Launched in this Mission

19 thoughts on “SpaceX Successfully Has Third Launch for the Same Booster and Can Reuse the Fairings”

  1. Not anymore. On a recent NASA-published update for the Commercial Crew program, it was specified the IFA test will use a Block 5 booster equipped with the new COPV’s and will count towards the 5 Load-n-go trials to qualify the crew-boarding-then-fast densified propellant loading procedure for the manned DM-2 Crew Dragon mission.

    The 5 load-n-go tests are: 1) DM-1 wet dress rehearsal/static fire, 2) DM-1 launch, 3) IFA WDR/static fire, 4) IFA launch, and 5) DM-2 WDR/static fire. If the load-n-go procedure is demonstrated safely all 5 times, NASA will allow SpaceX to do load-n-go on the first manned Crew Dragon launch.

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  2. Not anymore. On a recent NASA-published update for the Commercial Crew program, it was specified the IFA test will use a Block 5 booster equipped with the new COPV’s and will count towards the 5 Load-n-go trials to qualify the crew-boarding-then-fast densified propellant loading procedure for the manned DM-2 Crew Dragon mission.

    The 5 load-n-go tests are: 1) DM-1 wet dress rehearsal/static fire, 2) DM-1 launch, 3) IFA WDR/static fire, 4) IFA launch, and 5) DM-2 WDR/static fire. If the load-n-go procedure is demonstrated safely all 5 times, NASA will allow SpaceX to do load-n-go on the first manned Crew Dragon launch.

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  3. Yeah BO was able to do its IFA test in Van Horn TX because New Shepard was a straight up-and-down launch and it’s about as tall as the landing leg on a Falcon 9 (New Shepard is tiny).

    The IFA test requires the Falcon 9 to launch on the same azimuth and trajectory as a launch to the ISS so it can only be done on a controlled range out of Cape Canaveral.

    If the SpaceX IFA test was a straight up-and-down launch, it probably could have been done in McGregor TX.. If McGregor hasn’t passed an ordnance banning that kind of test flight after the F9R Dev1 test vehicle had its in-flight RUD. (doh) Oh well. 🙂

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  4. Think that the real issue with a salt water landing of the fairings is salt water in that fairing contaminating the electronics of the next payload.

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  5. We have landed rovers on Mars with airbags, no reason to me why we can’t make airbags that keep the fairing halves from interacting with salt water.

    The parasail capture sounds great but seems to not quite be working. In the end this will all be negated by successful BFS/BFB development so it is just about saving a few hundred million until the long term plans are ready.

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  6. Because if they are in the water for too long they are exposed to fairly corrosive salt water.
    These are salvageable because they landed relatively close and were hoisted out pretty quickly.

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  7. Yeah, I never understood why they just didn’t go ahead an reuse the fairings after a landing in the water from the beginning. They seemed to float like a cork, ready to be smacked back on the next rocket.

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  8. Am I mistaken, or was that the most perfect bulls-eye landing so far? The rocket seemed to have landed right on center. I would love to see a direct overheard shot to see how centered it is. It seems they are getting better at that, which would be handy if they want to land right on the launch pad as some of the animations and comments from SpaceX seem to suggest.

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  9. A bit weird they did not hold back some of the block 4 for this but they might have an lack of rockets.
    With more reuse rockets used will go down so you can launch more.
    And yes its weird

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  10. It’s a range safety issue. After doing the simulations the U.S. Air Force nixed the idea of trying to recover the booster due to:

    • tons of RP-1 and LOX still in the booster stage tanks as well as the upper stage, which will be fully fueled. There is no way to get rid of the fuel safely to get the booster to its proper landing weight.
    • aerodynamics of the blunt rocket once the Crew Dragon is ejected will likely cause the rocket to go off course, which will automatically trigger the AFTS and blow it up.

    So out of necessity the IFA booster will need to be sacrificed.

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  11. I think Hans Koenigsmann had mentioned a few months ago that the Block-5 booster they will be expending for the Crew Dragon In-Flight Abort test will be one that has already flown before, so at least they aren’t trashing a brand-new Block-5… Like they have to do in a couple weeks for the first USAF GPS-III launch. That particular new Block-5 booster, no. B1054, will be sacrificed on its first and only flight!

    It’s awesome that in just a couple years it now feels crazy to expend a brand-new booster.

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