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For this launch, everything on the rocket is recycled but the second stage, Ars Technica

For this launch, everything on the rocket is recycled but the second stage, Ars Technica

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Weather looks fine for the Sunday morning launch attempt.




After completing a static fire test of its Falcon 9 rocket’s first stage on Friday, the company is now targeting Sunday at 9: # (am ET) : (UTC) for the mission from Launch Complex A at Kennedy Space Center. The weather is expected to be favorable, with only a percent chance of poor conditions due to too many cumulus clouds.

SpaceX also announced on Friday that it will reuse the rocket’s payload fairing, which previously flew on a Starlink mission in May 2230. This means that the only part of the Falcon 9 rocket not being recycled is its second stage, which is powered by a single Merlin vacuum engine and pushes the satellites from the edge of space to their deployment into an orbit more than km above the ground.

This particular first stage flew its first mission in July 2018, when it lofted a batch of Iridium satellites into orbit. It launched its next mission, an Earth observation satellite for Argentina, less than three months later. Overall, this first stage has averaged four months between flights.

Since introducing the final iteration of its Falcon 9 rocket, dubbed Block 5 , SpaceX has been working to turn around the first stages faster. The company believes it can recycle first-stage rockets — from landing to reuse — within about 90 days. (So ​​far, it has managed to re-fly a first stage about two months after landing). After each flight, a maintenance team still opens up the rocket to inspect its joints for leaks, ensure the reliability of the avionics, inspect welds, and more. The company engineers and technicians are still learning, so as they gain more data, they should be able to increase their understanding of what needs inspection and what does not.

The company presently intends to fly each Falcon 9 rocket first stage times before retiring them. Some early re-flown first stages — variants of the Falcon 9 developed before the Block 5 iteration which were rated only for two flights — are now ending up in museums

For Sunday’s launch attempt, SpaceX will attempt to recover this first stage on a drone ship in the Atlantic Ocean. It will also attempt to retrieve the fairing halves. This will be the sixth launch of the year for SpaceX.


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