Twenty returns from space: A new Falcon 9 record

On April 13, the next launch of the Falcon 9 rocket took place from the Cape Canaveral cosmodrome. It successfully launched a new batch of Starlink spacecraft into orbit. The mission turned out to be notable for setting a new record. For the first stage of the Falcon 9 with the tail number B1062, this flight into space has already become the twentieth.

A long-exposure photo showing the launch of the Falcon 9 and the trace of the landing of the first stage B1062. Source: SpaceX

After separating from the rocket, B1062 returned to the Earth’s atmosphere and successfully landed on a barge in the Atlantic Ocean. In the near future, it will be delivered to the SpaceX base, after which it will be inspected and prepared for a new launch.

The B1062 stage made its first flight into space in November 2020. During its operation, it has launched two Crew Dragon manned spacecraft into orbit (Inspiration 4 and Axiom-1 missions), as well as over 500 satellites. The total mass of the payload delivered by B1062 into space is 261 tons, the average time between its flights is 63 days.

It is worth noting that initially the first stages of the Falcon 9 (in the Block 5 modification) were certified for ten flights. Since then, SpaceX has raised this limit several times — first to fifteen, and then to twenty missions. What is the real limit of the use of the first stages of the Falcon 9 at the moment is unknown.

In general, during the entire operation of the Falcon 9, 297 of the 308 (96.4%) landings of its first stages were successful. For the Block 5 modification, this figure is 272 out of 276 (98.6%). It also holds the title of the most successful rocket in history. All 303 launches of the Falcon 9 Block 5 were completely successful.

Earlier, we told you that a strange intermittent ray of light in the image of the night sky turned out to be a trace from the second stage of the Falcon 9.

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