Falcon 9 Sets New Record
The Falcon 9, SpaceX’s flagship launch vehicle, just keep setting new records and hitting new milestones! The company announced on June 4 via Twitter that the rocket has become the most flown operational rocket in the United States, completing 85 missions to date, the last one being last Wednesday for the Starlink project.
The numbers are staggering:
According to SpaceX, the reusable two-stage rocket has also performed 46 landings in total, and some of its components were reflown 32 times, hence its efficiency in terms of carrying meaningful payloads and successfully completing missions. Suffice to say the Falcon 9 has performed admirably well during the initial minutes of the Demo-2 mission.
Reusability, reusability, and then some more reusability:
Perhaps the most important feature of the Falcon 9 is its reusability. According to Inverse, the average cost of a flight carried by a Falcon 9 rocket is estimated at $62 million.
The ability to retrieve the first stage, and in some cases, the second stage of the rocket, allows SpaceX to recoup approximately $46.5 million, which also fulfills one of SpaceX’s main objectives in driving down the cost of space access.
A stepping stone to something bigger:
As impressive as the Falcon is, it is only SpaceX’s flagship rocket until a bigger whale steps in: the Starship. According to the company’s website, the rocket will be designed to become a quote-unquote, “fully reusable transportation system designed to carry both crew and cargo to Earth orbit, the Moon, Mars and beyond”.
Regarding SpaceX, Elon Musk has now set his sights firmly on completing the development of Starship. According to CNBC, Musk urged his employees to accelerate said development “dramatically and immediately”, and to consider it a “top SpaceX priority”.
In light of this news, we can confidently say: Deep Space here we come!