A previously used Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon space capsule lifted four astronauts to the ISS.
4/23/21 – Science Alert – In a Huge First, SpaceX Just Launched Astronauts to the ISS on a Recycled Rocket – In their third flight to the International Space Station, SpaceX used a Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon capsule that had both previously been used. This is a big deal in terms of reducing the cost of space travel.
Along with the two previous flights this ends the American reliance on Russian lift vehicles to get crew to the space station.
SpaceX successfully recovered the booster. Again. They sent out a tweet saying this is the 80th recovery of a rocket. Very cool.
With these four astronauts (one from France and one from Japan) on board, there will be 11 people on ISS, which is a record. Another crew will return on the Dragon in a few days.
Notice how roomy the capsule interior is? Think back to pictures of the Apollo, or Gemini, or Mercury capsules.
4/28/21 – Space.com – SpaceX launches 4 astronauts to space station, nails rocket landing – A few more fascinating details from the launch…
SpaceX has put 10 astronauts into space in less than 12 months. Astounding.
This is the first NASA launch with two international astronauts.
This Dragon capsule has been to ISS before with one of the astronauts on that flight, Bob Behnken, being the husband of one of the astronauts on this flight, Megan McArthur.
In 2020, SpaceX watched 26 missions with 21 of the rockets recycled and only 5 being brand-new.
Docking with ISS is scheduled for Saturday, 4/24/21. The crew will be in orbit for six months.
4/27/21 – C/Net – SpaceX Starlink’s first launching in a while to blast off Wednesday – It is amusing to note that a launch tonight of another 60 Starlink satellites is only the second set of such satellites sent up this month. Only!
Article points out there was almost a weekly launch during March but this is ONLY the second one this month.
SpaceX will put another 60 into orbit tonight, bringing the total close to 1500.
To show the amazing long-term thinking, article says proceeds from the Starlink system are scheduled to provide financing for exploration of Mars. Amazingly cool.
The Starlink Internet system has been in beta operation since October 2020. Current cost is $99 a month plus an additional $499 for a user terminal to connect into the satellites.