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SpaceX just successfully landed its most powerful rocket yet
16 May 2018, 02:32 | Joann Bryant
Falcon 9 | SpaceX
The Block 5 is created to be capable of 10 or more flights with very limited refurbishment as SpaceX continues to strive for rapid reusability and extremely high reliability. The leading engineering minds at SpaceX have actually struggled over this ... This April 2 liftoff, which sent SpaceX's robotic Dragon cargo capsule toward the International Space Station (ISS) on a resupply run for NASA, used a "Block 4" Falcon 9 booster whose maiden flight occurred in August 2017. The Merlin motors on this very first version had 95,000 lbs of thrust for every first-stage motor and 92,500 lbs of thrust to the second-stage engine optimization.
Hopefully, as time goes on, we see the Block 5 Falcon 9 pick up more and more speed in terms of relaunches - bringing SpaceX closer and closer to a 24 hour turnaround for their launches.
The cost of the launch of the new Falcon 9 starts with 62 million dollars, previously used in the first stage, from 50 million. Originally scheduled to launch on Thursday, May 10th at 5:47 PM EST, the newest iteration of SpaceX's venerable Falcon 9 rocket has had its launch scrubbed due to a pad anomaly.
But until that milestone is reached, Musk said last Friday SpaceX plans to relaunch the Stage 5 for three or four more times by the end of the year. SpaceX has also received a unanimous approval from the Los Angeles Board of Harbour commissioners for building the Big Falcon Rocket (BFR) Mars rocket.
With some fix, a Block 5 first stage ought to have the ability to release 100 times, Musk stated. "The only thing that has to alter is to refill propellant and fly once again".
Musk said the Falcon 9's octaweb structure, supports all nine first stage engines and provides compartmentalization in case one or more fails, is now much stronger. The octaweb is made with bolted instead of bonded aluminum and has higher thermal security to prevent melting, he stated.
According to Musk, the huge new rocket would be almost 350 feet tall and span 30 feet in diameter. Placed between the first and second stages of the rocket, which are painted white, the jet-black carbon fiber interstage harkens back to SpaceX's first rocket, the Falcon 1.
SpaceX put lock systems on the Falcon 9's landing legs so the auto does not need to depend on external clamps for steadying on ocean-platform landings, Musk stated.
These upgrades include advanced "grid fins" on the first stage made of titanium (as opposed to aluminum); these help the booster steer itself back down to Earth for pinpoint vertical touchdowns.
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