Jul 21, 2018

Starting this weekend, SpaceX is about to land a whole lot more rockets

Posted by in categories: drones, Elon Musk, robotics/AI, space travel

The Block 5 is the only Falcon 9 the company will fly from now on.

Early Sunday morning, SpaceX is slated to launch its second Falcon 9 Block 5 rocket — the final and most powerful version of the vehicle the company plans to make. After launch, SpaceX will attempt to land the vehicle on one of its autonomous drone ships in the Atlantic. And landings should become fairly routine now, as all of SpaceX’s missions will utilize the Block 5 from now on.

The Falcon 9 Block 5 is optimized for rapid reusability, according to the company. It boasts a number of improvements that make the vehicle easier to land after launch, as well as upgrades that minimize the amount of refurbishment the rocket needs between flights. SpaceX CEO Elon Musk claims that the Block 5s won’t need any major refurbishment for the first 10 flights or so, and could potentially fly up to 100 times before being retired. The company’s ultimate goal is to turn these vehicles around in just 24 hours after landing. The fastest SpaceX has been able to manage so far is two and a half months.

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