SpaceX Retracts Falcon 9 Landing Leg 1st Time on Sea Landed ‘Flight-Proven’ Booster, Achieving Milestone for Faster Turnaround: Photo/Video Gallery



Falcon
9 first stage landing leg is retracted for the first time ever in a post landing
operation against the side of the recovered core on July 27, 2018 using hoisting
2 cables pulled from the top of the newly utilized square shaped cap apparatus bolted
on top of the booster.  As observed from
Port Canaveral, FL. Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com/spaceupclose.com
Ken Kremer 
  
SpaceUpClose.com     27 July 2018



PORT CANAVERAL, FL – SpaceX
technicians have retracted the first rocket landing leg today, Friday, July 27,
from a Falcon 9 booster for the first time after recovering the now ‘Flight-Proven’
first stage from this weeks launch of the Telstar 19V telecommunications
satellite via a precision guided soft landing at sea – thereby achieving a
major milestone towards faster rocket turnaround with the newly upgraded Block
5 version of the firms workhorse launch vehicle.  



Check out my Space UpClose eyewitness
photos and video gallery documenting the entire exciting leg raising operation as
seen from my perspective observing from a short distance away across the
channel at Port Canaveral at the Florida Space Coast.  



Note: Story is being updated with
further details and imagery.



Falcon
9 first stage landing leg is retracted for the first time ever in a post landing
operation against the side of the recovered core on July 27, 2018 using hoisting
2 cables pulled from the top of the newly utilized square shaped cap apparatus bolted
on top of the booster.  As observed from
Port Canaveral, FL. Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com/spaceupclose.com

The used boosters leg erection came two
full days after the 15-story tall first stage booster arrived in port at
sunrise Wednesday Morning. 


Read my story and imagery of the
arrival as the rocket assisted landed booster was standing fully upright atop
the OCISLY drone ship upon which it touched down- and was towed into the mouth
of Port Canaveral at Jetty Park Pier at 7 a.m. July 25.  




Falcon
9 first stage landing leg is retracted for the first time ever in a post landing
operation against the side of the recovered core on July 27, 2018 using hoisting
2 cables pulled from the top of the newly utilized square shaped cap apparatus bolted
on top of the booster.  As observed from
Port Canaveral, FL. Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com/spaceupclose.com

The leg retraction and folding process
began at about 2 p.m. EDT July 27 as the leg side leg (from my viewing
location) was slowly hoisted using a pair of cables and pulleys strung down from
the new type and newfangled booster cap bolted on top of the first stage and attached
to the tip of the leg.








The retraction and refurling appeared
to be a manually carried out operation.






In fact the leg retraction looked
exactly like the leg landing deployment – but fully in reverse but with the
addition of hoisting cables atop the core.




Falcon
9 first stage landing leg is retracted for the first time ever in a post landing
operation against the side of the recovered core on July 27, 2018 using hoisting
2 cables pulled from the top of the newly utilized square shaped cap apparatus bolted
on top of the booster.  As observed from
Port Canaveral, FL. Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com/spaceupclose.com



There were almost no cranes or
cherry pickers with technicians visibly at work, until the end when the leg was
pointing skyward about 80 degrees upright.





In all previous instances, each of
the four landing legs from landed Falcon 9 first stages were painstakingly
removed one by one from the core via a labor intensive process lasting many
hours and even days at first with many cranes and techs moving about in a choreographed
sequence.



Falcon
9 first stage landing leg is retracted for the first time ever in a post landing
operation against the side of the recovered core on July 27, 2018 using hoisting
2 cables pulled from the top of the newly utilized square shaped cap apparatus bolted
on top of the booster.  As observed from
Port Canaveral, FL. Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com/spaceupclose.com
Overall the single leg retraction
took some 40 minutes until the leg was flush tight and upright against the
booster’s.




That prior leg removal process looked
like the dissection of an insect as each of the struts and landing pads were
unbolted from the side of the core

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk stated that the
starting with the Block 5 version of Falcon 9 the legs would be retracted back against
the core rather then been disassembled off.







However after the first Blcok 5
launched and landed in May with the Bangabandhu-1 satellite, all 4 legs were
again unbolted and removed piece by piece.


The adventure began three days
earlier with the magnificent post-midnight
liftoff of the massive 7.8 ton
Telstar 19 VANTAGE (or Telstar 19v)
Canadian
commercial telecommunications satellite atop the upgraded Falcon 9 taking
place right
at the opening of the lengthy launch window at 1:50 a.m. EDT (0550 GMT) Sunday,
July 22 from seaside
Space launch Complex-40
on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, FL. 

The launch used the
newly upgraded Block 5 version of the Falcon 9 first stage – that launched on
Sunday for only the second time.

The Block 5 Falcon 9 will be cheaper to produce and much easier
to turnaround with minimal maintenance, says SpaceX CEO Elon Musk. His goal is
to relaunch a recovered Block 5 a second time within 24 hours by sometime next
year.

Overall Musk’s goal is to radically slash the cost of
building and launching rockets and enabling much cheaper access to space – with
airline like efficiencies for science, commercial enterprises and people.

Musk want to make flying rockets as routine as flying
airplanes.

SpaceX successfully recovered this new Block 5 version of
the Falcon 9 booster which replaces the older, now discontinued Block 4.

The last Block 4 launched in late June for NASA on the
Dragon CRS-15 resupply mission to the ISS.

This
was SpaceX’s 13th launch of the year.

And as I reported on Tuesday, July
24, a large broken off mangled piece of the payload fairing was hauled into
Port Canaveral on the GO Pursuit vessel.  

Check out my booster arrival, fairing
arrival and launch articles and photos that accompany this story. 

The newly built two stage 229-foot tall (70-meter) SpaceX Falcon
9 rocket successfully delivered the
Telstar 19 VANTAGE comsat to a
geostationary transfer orbit (GTO) for for Telesat, one of the world’s leading
commercial satellite operators. 

Watch for Ken’s continuing onsite coverage of NASA, SpaceX, ULA,
Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Orbital ATK and more space and mission reports direct
from the Kennedy Space Center, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida and
Wallops Flight Facility, Virginia.

Stay tuned here for Ken’s continuing Earth and Planetary science and human spaceflight
news: www.kenkremer.com
–www.spaceupclose.com – twitter @ken_kremer – email: ken at kenkremer.com

………….

Ken’s upcoming outreach events/photos for sale:

Learn more about the upcoming upcoming/recent
SpaceX Merah Putih & Telstar 19 launches, NASA/ULA
Parker Solar Probe, SpaceX Falcon 9/CRS-15 launch to ISS,  SES-12 comsat
launch, Falcon Heavy, TESS, GOES-S, Bangabandhu-1,
NASA missions, ULA Atlas & Delta launches, SpySats and more at Ken’s
upcoming outreach events at Kennedy Space Center Quality Inn, Titusville, FL,
evenings:

Aug
4-6
: “SpaceX Telstar 19 &
Merah Putih Launches, NASA/ULA Parker Solar Probe SpaceX Dragon CRS-15 resupply
launch to ISS, SpaceX Falcon Heavy & Falcon 9 launches, SpaceX SES-12
comsat. ULA Atlas USAF SBIRS GEO 4 missile warning satellite, SpaceX GovSat-1,
CRS-14 resupply launches to the ISS, NRO & USAF Spysats, SLS, Orion, Boeing
and SpaceX Commercial crew capsules, OSIRIS-Rex, Juno at Jupiter, InSight Mars
lander, Curiosity and Opportunity explore Mars, NH at Pluto and more,” Kennedy
Space Center Quality Inn, Titusville, FL, evenings.
Photos for sale


Ken Kremer

Ken Kremer

Watch for Ken’s continuing onsite coverage of NASA, SpaceX, ULA, Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and more space and mission reports direct from Kennedy Space Center and Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida and Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. Stay tuned here for Ken's continuing Earth and Planetary science and human spaceflight news. Dr. Kremer is a research scientist and journalist based in the KSC area, active in outreach and interviewed regularly on TV and radio about space topics. Ken’s photos are for sale and he is available for lectures and outreach events.

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