It's the last and most powerful version of the Falcon 9 that SpaceX plans to make, as the company switches its focus to developing a new giant rocket and spaceship combo, the BFR. "It has taken us since, man, since 2002".
The vehicle, aiming to bring astronauts to the International Space Station in the future, came with many design changes to improve its reusability and reliability.
So far, the first-stage boosters have been recycled once, for a total of two flights apiece.
The video below is a replay of the launch webcast. "They are quite extensive". SpaceX intends to use it in combination with the Dragon capsule in order to execute commercial contracts with NASA for delivery of astronauts on Board the worldwide space station.
According to NASA's current estimates, Boeing could conduct its first crewed test flight in November, and SpaceX should notch its first crewed test mission in December. That's where the heat from both the engines and from the friction from entering the atmosphere for landing has the greatest effect.
The updated rocket also has a distinctive new look, with a black interstage section that sets it apart from earlier versions. And this boost was achieved without an increase in mass, Musk added. To date, SpaceX has re-flown previously landed boosters 11 times. The rocket's recoverable booster is created to be reused at least 10 times.
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Musk says he hopes to produce 30 to 50 Block 5s for the Falcon 9. And given this precious cargo, Musk noted that the team had to be especially particular about this spacecraft."There are thousands and thousands and thousands of requirements", Musk said of the rocket.
Launch photographer Tom Cross is planning to be there in person for OCISLY and B1046's arrival in Port, and will hopefully be able to document the historic recovery and the booster's (fingers crossed) resilience, as well as the first use of Octagrabber with a Block 5 Falcon 9. He's stated that his goal is always to launch exactly the identical booster twice within just 24 hours. "Literally no actions taken, just like an aircraft", Musk said.
The first stage later successfully landed on an autonomous barge in the Atlantic ocean. Over time, he expects the aerospace industry's preference for used boosters to increase as the technology proves itself.
The United States has not flown humans to space since 2011. The nine Merlin engines in the rocket's first stage and the single "vacuum Merlin" in the second stage boast about 8 percent and 5 percent more thrust, respectively, than their counterparts in the Falcon 9 Block 4. "Second stage and satellite now in coast phase".
Inside Falcon 9's interstage before stage separation.