SpaceX Plans to Fly a Single Rocket 5 Times by the End of the Year

Space.com | 7/1/2019 | Mike Wall
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SpaceX wants to ramp up its rocket reuse, and soon.

The company commonly lands and reflies the first stages of its Falcon Heavy and Falcon 9 rockets, as a way to reduce the cost of spaceflight. Indeed, three Falcon 9 boosters already have three missions under their belts.

Stages - Times - Year - Everything - Plan

And one or more of those veteran first stages could fly at least two more times this year, if everything goes according to plan. At a conference in Indonesia on Wednesday (June 26), Jonathan Hofeller, SpaceX’s vice president of commercial sales, said the company aims to fly a single first stage five times by the end of the year, SpaceNews reported Friday (June 28).

Even that achievement would just be scratching the surface of the rocket's reuse potential. SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk has said that the first stage of the current iteration of the Falcon 9, known as the Block 5, should be able to fly at least 10 times with only inspections between flights, and 100 times with some refurbishment involved.

Reuse - Rates - Falcon - Heavy - Falcon

Similar reuse rates should apply to the Falcon Heavy, which is composed of three modified Falcon 9 first stages, with a second stage sitting atop the central booster.

Hofeller broke some more news at the conference Wednesday. He announced that SpaceX is targeting 2021 for the first commercial launch of its next-generation spacecraft, known as Starship.

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