50th successful recovery of a SpaceX Falcon 9 booster

Starlink Mission on 1/6/20 by Official SpaceX Photos is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0  – A carefully observation will show the payload fairing reveals this not a Dragon capsule, but the photo provides a superb nighttime view.

Overnight SpaceX successfully launched a Falcon 9 booster with fully loaded Dragon capsule on a Commercial Resupply Service mission (CRS-20), lifting supplies to the International Space Station.

This specific capsule already has been to ISS twice. This will make its third trip up and third recovery.

Successful recovery of this specific Falcon 9 booster back at Cape Canaveral marked the 50th time that SpaceX has recovered a booster. Astounding.

This launch was at 10 minutes before midnight, resulting in quite different visuals than a daytime launch. You can watch the launch, recovery of the booster, deployment of the capsule, and deployment of the solar panels here:

[youtube=https://youtu.be/1MkcWK2PnsU]

 

Liftoff is about 19 minutes into the video and recovery of the booster at about 29 minutes.

Just a few of the fun differences from a nighttime recovery at Cape Canaveral.

The light from the flames, both on launch and landing of the booster, produced reflections off the smoke surrounding the booster. Camera at the top of the first stage used to capture the separation provided a fun view of the second stage Merlin engine as it ignited.

Landing at Cape Canaveral meant there was a solid video connection for the entire dissent. This allowed for a cool view of the landing pad as the booster approached and a simultaneous view from the booster as it approached the ground.

If you’ve watched some of the daylight launches you’ll quite enjoy the video of a nighttime mission.

3/6/20 – CBS News – SpaceX Dragon bound for space station with tons of cargo

This is the last resupply flight on SpaceX’s 20 mission contract with NASA. There is another contract in place for another six flights to the space station.

Under the first contract, SpaceX delivered over 94,000 pounds of supplies with a cost of about $3 billion. That is a cost of about $32,000 per pound ($3,000,000,000 / 94,000 = $31,915). Cost per flight is about $150 million ($3.0B / 20 =  $150M).

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