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SpaceX Puts Its Third Booster in a Barn, the Result is Dazzling

The company now must test these landed boosters to see when they can fly again.

© by SpaceX

SpaceX puts its third booster in a barn

  • SpaceX first stage boosters
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    SpaceX has now successfully landed three first stage boosters.
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  • SpaceX Boosters
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    This weekend, the company moved the third booster, landed early on the morning of May 6, into Hangar 39A.
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  • SpaceX Boosters
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    The company is removing the engines from each booster for testing to determine their flight readiness.
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  • SpaceX
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    The first rocket landed, in a ground-based landing zone, will be returned to the company's California-based headquarters to serve as a monument.
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  • SpaceX Boosters
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    Elon Musk has quipped on Twitter that he's going to need a bigger hangar with all the successful landings.
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  • Space X Boosters
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    The Falcon that landed on May 6 is shown here being towed back to a hangar on its drone ship.
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  • SpaceX Booster
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    Here's an up-close shot of the rocket a few days after it landed.
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  • SpaceX Booster
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    Standing tall.
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  • SpaceX
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    The rocket that landed this month did so smoothly, even though seas were fairly rough, and it returned "hot and fast."
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SpaceX has now successfully landed three rockets from space—one by land and two by sea. That has given the company quite a collection of boosters in its Hangar 39A at Cape Canaveral in Florida.

This weekend, the rocket company released some photos of the three boosters together after the Falcon 9, which delivered a Japanese communications satellite transfer orbit some 35,786km above the Earth earlier this month, was towed back to the Florida coast and brought into the hangar. This success led Musk to muse on Twitter: “May need to increase size of rocket storage hangar.”

Although landing three Falcon 9 first stages has unquestionably garnered the most attention, SpaceX must now show that it can refurbish these rockets and their engines quickly and cost effectively for new flights. Initially, SpaceX plans to reduce the cost of a Falcon 9 rocket with a reused booster to $43 million per flight, a savings of 30 percent. The first flight of a flown booster could come some time this summer.

Eventually, Musk wants to make nearly all of the Falcon 9 launch system reusable, and he wants to make launches and landings routine. “Rapid and complete reusability is really important to make a rocket cost effective, like an airplane,” he said in April. “We’ve got to ultimately get rockets to that point.” A Falcon 9 might fly as many as 100 times before retirement, he added.

Listing image by SpaceX

Source: Ars Technica

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