[ExI] SpaceX Rocket Flies 10 Times as Reusability Gets Surprisingly Routine

John Grigg possiblepaths2050 at gmail.com
Wed May 26 13:09:22 UTC 2021

"Industry pioneer SpaceX has hit a significant milestone after one of its
Falcon 9 rockets completed its 10th mission. The ability to reuse its
launch vehicles has been at the heart of the company’s recent successes,
and it seems others are starting to take note.
For decades, space rockets have been a single-use technology left to burn
up on re-entry to the atmosphere once their mission is done. While a
single-use approach might make sense for packaging material, in retrospect
it seems like a crazy proposition for a highly engineered
multi-million-dollar piece of equipment.

Trying to change that has been a core plank of SpaceX’s mission to slash
the cost of spaceflight since its earliest days. And after a few dramatic
failures, the company finally managed to land one of its rockets in 2015,
followed by the first reuse in 2017.

Since then, the landing and reuse of the Falcon 9 has become standard
practice for the company, and in 2018 founder Elon Musk set a goal of
flying each rocket 10 times before having to carry out serious maintenance.
On May 9th SpaceX <https://singularityhub.com/tag/spacex/> hit that target
for the first time when its B1051 booster landed safely
after completing its 10th flight.

That’s an impressive milestone that means the only vehicles that have made
more spaceflights than this rocket are the NASA space shuttles Discovery,
Atlantis, Columbia, and Endeavor. But it’s not just the number of launches
that’s impressive, it’s also the speed with which it has achieved them.

While Discovery still has an impressive lead with a total of 39 missions,
it built that up over 27 years. SpaceX’s booster hit 10 missions in just
26 months, and in that period it was only one launch shy of the total
number of missions flown by all rockets from its main competitor, United
Launch Alliance."

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