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A SpaceX rocket just aced its seventh launch and landing for the first time


For the first time ever, a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket booster has successfully completed seven orbital-class launches and landings, leaving the business as few as three flights apart from attaining its longstanding reusability goal.

Ending two weeks of “mission assurance” and weather-related delays, Falcon 9 booster B1049.6, a fresh expendable upper stage (S2), 2 flight-proven fairing pliers, and 60 Starlink v1.0 satellites raised off at 9:13 pm EST on November 24th. As usual, the enemy seemed to carry out perfectly, sailing through primary engine cut-off (MECO), second stage beginning (SES), also initial stage reentry and landing. Falcon 9 successfully touched down on drone ship Of Course I Still Love You (OCISLY) around 8.5 minutes following liftoff, formally making booster B1049 the first to finish (and endure ) seven orbital-class begins.

For SpaceX, the success means the business now has a new rocket booster “fleet pioneer,” talking about the simple fact that B1049.7 will serve as a reference point and treasure trove of information for other SpaceX rockets pushing towards precisely the identical reusability milestone. Reuse record apart, SpaceX’s perfect Starlink-15 launch also pushed the firm handed an arguably evenly – or even more – important operational milestone.

Falcon 9 is swaying in the wind really a lot. Really cool to watch stream! pic.twitter.com/8pAWmnlGrL

— Brady Kenniston (@TheFavoritist) November 25, 2020

A Falcon 9 booster has finished seven orbital-class slips and landings for the first time in history, leaving SpaceX 70% of the way to its challenging ten-flight reusability goal. (SpaceX)

Some extreme winds only minutes before launch thankfully subsided and didn’t prevent Falcon 9 from completing its Starlink-15 mission. (SpaceX)

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Especially, November 2020 is now SpaceX’s four-launch month ever, handing Falcon 9 an achievement that just a couple rockets in background can lay claim to. Crucially, extrapolated into a complete calendar year, attaining four orbital launches in one month straight suggests that SpaceX is within reach of an yearly cadence of 40 launches or more.

We’ll need to create lots of improvements to really have a prospect of completing 48 launches next year!

— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) October 3, 2020

Coming just ~6 weeks following CEO Elon Musk revealed an ambitious goal of 48 launches in 2021, SpaceX has certainly delivered its first four-launch month in the best possible moment. Even if four-launch weeks are not instantly sustainable, the achievement brings significant assurance that SpaceX is going to be able to conquer its record-breaking 2020 launch cadence next calendar year.

Falcon 9 B1049.6, a new upper stage, also 60 Starlink-15 satellites stand vertical at SpaceX’s CCAFS LC-40 launch pad on November 20th. (Richard Angle)

Four days afterwards, B1049.6 appeared towards orbit on its own orbital-class launch. (Richard Angle)

Technically, Starlink-15’s conclusion means that SpaceX has actually managed 4 launches at 19 days and 7 launches in the last ~50 days, representing a mean of one launch every 4.75-7 days. Extrapolated over a complete calendar year, SpaceX has effectively revealed its Falcon 9 infrastructure is currently capable of achieving an yearly cadence of 50-75 launches even if a few technical bugs or climate storms appear every month.

Reusability is as crucial as ever for SpaceX’s extremely ambitious launch cadence targets. The debut of 3 new Falcon 9 boosters in only the last few weeks will almost certainly offer some aid into SpaceX’s hard-working aircraft fleet while at the same time offering much more capacity to attempt towards an yearly average of four or more launches each month. B1049 efficiently opening a new tier of reusability and taking SpaceX just 3 steps away from the initial ten-flight reusability goal also serves as a force multiplier for your fleet, including at least the next seven launches of capacity.

Since this graphic was made in late-September, SpaceX has established another four Starlink missions for a total of 16. (SpaceX/Richard Angle)

Presently eight boosters powerful, SpaceX’s flight-proven Falcon 9 fleet could theoretically support a tough average of one launch each week, though the flight rate of 3 boosters (B1061, B1062, along with B1063) will probably be somewhat handicapped because of their recent assignments to several leading NASA and US army launches. Ultimately, although SpaceX has a plenty of work left in front of this, the business is well on its way to becoming the planet ’s most prolific and skilled launch provider with a healthy margin.

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