SpaceX launched its 27th Starlink mission earlier, putting another 60 Starlink satellites into orbit. However, today’s protagonist is not the Starlink satellite, but the B1051 lower-level rocket that is responsible for the propulsion underneath-this is the 10th launch and landing of the B1051, a quite remarkable milestone.
As early as when Falcon 9 was still in development, Musk said that the goal of Falcon 9 was to conduct routine inspections and small refurbishment after each flight, and to conduct a major overhaul after every 10 flights. Finally, I hope to use it. More than 100 times. At that time, even 10 flights seemed an unattainable dream, but what was unexpected is that since SpaceX first reused rockets in 2017, Falcon 9 rockets have reached their goals in just 4 years. In addition to the Falcon 9’s own credit, a large number of Starlink satellite launch needs are also indispensable, which has kept the Falcon 9 rocket in a busy state in the near future.
The first appearance of B1051 itself was the Demo-1 mission in March 2019, launching the Crew Dragon unmanned capsule to the International Space Station. Only two of the next nine missions were commercial satellites, and the remaining seven were Starlink missions. There are currently 7 Falcon 9 rockets in SpaceX’s “fleet”. In addition to the B1051, the B1049 also completed its ninth mission just 4 days ago, closely following. The next B1058 and B1060 each flew 7 times, while the latest B1063 only flew once. These five rockets appear to be members of the “commercial” rocket in the fleet. The remaining two rockets are the B1061 rockets for “manned use” and the B1062, which appears to be dedicated to the US military. In addition to being responsible for NASA’s Crew-1 and Crew-2 missions, the former is also scheduled to launch 9’s Inspiration-4 commercial manned mission; while the latter is responsible for GPS III global positioning satellites. Manned missions have higher requirements for safety, and GPS satellites are government missions with a high unit price. Therefore, the refurbishment and inspection of these two rockets should be more stringent.
B1051 What will happen next, SpaceX did not explain in the live broadcast, but if there are no special problems, it should continue to fly.