SpaceX and the company’s drone ship Of Course I Still Love You (OCISLY) have successfully wrapped up their second Falcon 9 recovery in less than two weeks, bringing booster B1051 back to Port Canaveral to be broken over and refurbished for a second launch.
Following its support of Crew Dragon’s thus far flawless launch debut, the booster will likely be exceptionally easy to turn around for its next flight. That second launch could occur as early as late April for Cargo Dragon’s 17th mission, a consequence of NASA’s desire to keep its SpaceX missions on boosters that are ‘in
Although B1051’s reentry profile was relatively slow and gentle with main engine cut-off (MECO) and booster separation occurring at ~1.9 km/s (4250 mph) and 85 km (53 mi), its recovery was made intriguingly difficult by high seas at drone ship OCISLY’s Atlantic Ocean station. These bad conditions were readily visible at several points during SpaceX’s DM-1
Robin's clutch screencap shows this perfectly, plus a few screenshots. OCISLY was heeling a solid 5+ degrees in just the few seconds before touchdown.https://t.co/eV5CIokPb5 pic.twitter.com/cz4LBqJR3N— Eric Ralph (@13ericralph31) March 2, 2019
This issue of boosters sliding about and generally being difficult to deal with is actually one of the leading motivations that lead to SpaceX developing
It’s actually unclear whether
Regardless, future Commercial Crew launches – aside, perhaps, from SpaceX’s second demonstration launch (DM-2) later this year – will likely be able
SpaceX’s successful recovery of B1051 marks the company’s third launch and landing of 2019, thus far averaging a relatively slow one mission per month. While schedules can change, it currently appears that Crew Dragon’s DM-1 orbital debut will be the only SpaceX launch in March, barring Falcon Heavy’s own commercial debut occurring in the last few days of the month. According to a SpaceX representative speaking earlier this year, the company is actually aiming to equal or even surpass its 2018 record – 21 launches – in 2019, requiring a minimum average of two launches per month for the remainder of the year.
Numbers aside, SpaceX’s 2019 calendar will undoubtedly aim to surpass the number of major company milestones in a single year, a hard act to follow after 2017 and 2018. Ranging from the first operational Starlink satellite launches and the first SpaceX launch with astronauts aboard to major flight test and developmental milestones for the company’s next-gen Starship spaceship and Super Heavy booster, there are an incredible wealth of events to look forward to.
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