1st Quadruply Launched/Landed SpaceX 1st Stage Booster Craned off Droneship onto Land using new Mobile Harbor Crane: Photos

1st Quadruply Launched/Landed SpaceX 1st Stage Booster Craned off Droneship onto Land using new Mobile Harbor Crane: Photos
Recovered Starlink Falcon 9 1st stage craned off SpaceX recovery ship OCISLY around 3 PM EST Nov. 15, 2019 using Liebherr Mobile Harbor Crane 1st time – around six hours after sunrise arrival atop OCISLY into Port Canaveral. Note: 9 Merlin 1D engines fully exposed. From Nov. 11 SpaceX Starlink launch. Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com/spaceupclose.com

17 November 2019

For SpaceUpClose.com & RocketSTEM

PORT CANAVERAL, FL – The first ever quadruply launched & landed SpaceX Falcon 9 first stage booster was craned off the “Of Course I Still Love You” (OCISLY) droneship Friday afternoon, Nov. 15 in a craning operation that utilized the new German-built Liebherr Mobile Harbor Crane for the first time by crane crews at Port Canaveral.

The hoisting of the 156 foot tall recovered Falcon 9 first stage took place starting at about 3 p.m. EST docked at the droneships normal northside berthing port – some six hours after the booster arrived safely and proudly into Port Canaveral at sunrise towed by tug Hawk and guided by the SpaceX Naval fleet into the channel past Jetty Park Pier at around 7:30 a.m. EST.

Up Close look at 4 landing legs and Merlin 1D engines at base of recovered Starlink Falcon 9 1st stage craned off SpaceX recovery ship OCISLY around 3 PM EST Nov. 15, 2019 using Liebherr Mobile Harbor Crane 1st time – around six hours after sunrise arrival atop OCISLY into Port Canaveral. Note: 9 Merlin 1D engines fully exposed. From Nov. 11 SpaceX Starlink launch. Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com/spaceupclose.com

In the meantime the crane crew had attached the hi tech hoisting device to the top of the 16 story tall booster with 4 deployed landing legs at Noon – setting the stage for the craning.

Enjoy our Space UpClose photo gallery of the hoisting cap attachment and craning from sea to land of Falcon 9 booster 1048.4.

Check back as our gallery grows.

Recovered Starlink Falcon 9 1st stage craned off SpaceX recovery ship OCISLY around 3 PM EST Nov. 15, 2019 using Liebherr Mobile Harbor Crane 1st time – around six hours after sunrise arrival atop OCISLY into Port Canaveral. Note: 9 Merlin 1D engines fully exposed. From Nov. 11 SpaceX Starlink launch. Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com/spaceupclose.com

We unofficially nickname the hoisting cap as the BLLRD or Booster Lift and Leg Retraction Device – which is bolted on top of the core standing on OCISLY by the SpaceX crane work crew.

Recovered Starlink Falcon 9 1st stage craned off SpaceX recovery ship OCISLY around 3 PM EST Nov. 15, 2019 using Liebherr Mobile Harbor Crane 1st time – around six hours after sunrise arrival atop OCISLY into Port Canaveral.  From Nov. 11 SpaceX Starlink launch. Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com/spaceupclose.com

A small crowd of onlookers and space media friends eagerly awaited the rockets craning after the triumphant arrival into port past the channels entryway at Jetty Park Pier.

Recovered Starlink Falcon 9 1st stage craned off SpaceX recovery ship OCISLY around 3 PM EST Nov. 15, 2019 using Liebherr Mobile Harbor Crane 1st time – around six hours after sunrise arrival atop OCISLY into Port Canaveral. Note: 9 Merlin 1D engines fully exposed. From Nov. 11 SpaceX Starlink launch. Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com/spaceupclose.com

See also our earlier Port Canaveral arrival story and photos.

Up Close look at 4 landing legs and Merlin 1D engines at base of recovered Starlink Falcon 9 1st stage craned off SpaceX recovery ship OCISLY around 3 PM EST Nov. 15, 2019 using Liebherr Mobile Harbor Crane 1st time – around six hours after sunrise arrival atop OCISLY into Port Canaveral. Note: 9 Merlin 1D engines fully exposed. From Nov. 11 SpaceX Starlink launch. Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com/spaceupclose.com

The craning off OCISLY away from the clutches of the octograbber and onto the regular land pedestal still took about 30 minutes overall-about the same length of time as with the old yellow crane.

Hoisting cap attached to top of recovered Falcon 9 1st stage landed atop OCISLY droneship is berthed at Port Canaveral northside dock Nov 15, 2019 – 4 days after SpaceX Starlink launch Nov. 11. Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com/spaceupclose.com

The main difference was that the octograbber robotic restraining arms were not fully lowered after detaching from the core – as had been the practice in all previous port craning operations with recovered Falcon 9 boosters.

Recovered Starlink Falcon 9 1st stage craned off SpaceX recovery ship OCISLY around 3 PM EST Nov. 15, 2019 using Liebherr Mobile Harbor Crane 1st time – around six hours after sunrise arrival atop OCISLY into Port Canaveral. Note: 9 Merlin 1D engines fully exposed. From Nov. 11 SpaceX Starlink launch. Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com/spaceupclose.com

Liftoff of the Starlink mission took place at 9:56 a.m. EST (1456 GMT) during an instantaneous launch window Monday, Nov 11 from Space Launch Complex-40 (SLC-40) on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, FL.

Eight minutes later the Falcon 9 first stage successfully made a precision rocket assisted intact and upright touchdown on the ‘Of Course I Still Love You’ (OCISLY) droneship prepositioned in the Atlantic Coast off the Carolinas.

2 Jig crane crews work on retraction or removal of 4 landing legs after Starlink Falcon 9 1st stage craned off SpaceX recovery ship OCISLY around 3 PM EST Nov. 15, 2019 using Liebherr Mobile Harbor Crane 1st time – around six hours after sunrise arrival atop OCISLY into Port Canaveral. Note: 9 Merlin 1D engines fully exposed. From Nov. 11 SpaceX Starlink launch. Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com/spaceupclose.com

This Starlink mission counts as the heaviest ever payload lofted by a Falcon 9.

Hoisting cap is lowered crane onto top of recovered Falcon 9 1st stage core landed atop OCISLY droneship while berthed at Port Canaveral northside dock Nov. 15, 2019 – 4 days after SpaceX Starlink launch Nov. 11. Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com/spaceupclose.com

Over the weekend the rocket sat erect at the ground pedestal with no further ground processing landing leg work due to dismal and very windy weather at Port Canaveral.

SpaceX Go Quest vessel sails past recovered Starlink Falcon 9 1st stage on Nov. 16 after craned off SpaceX recovery ship OCISLY Nov. 15, 2019 using Liebherr Mobile Harbor Crane 1st time. From Nov. 11 SpaceX Starlink launch. Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com/spaceupclose.com

Eventually the weather improved on Monday Nov. 18 and landing legs commenced – see our follow-up story and photos.

Hoisting cap is lowered crane onto top of recovered Falcon 9 1st stage core landed atop OCISLY droneship while berthed at Port Canaveral northside dock Nov. 15, 2019 – 4 days after SpaceX Starlink launch Nov. 11. Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com/spaceupclose.com

This marks the fourth successful launch and landing for the first stage booster – thus setting the stage for a fifth mission.

These upgraded Block 5 Falcon 9 first stages are designed for 10 launches with minimal refurbishment says Musk.

Falcon 9’s first stage previously supported the Iridium-7, SAOCOM-1A, and Nusantara Satu comsat/Beresheet moon landing missions.

 

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

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.
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Ken’s photos are for sale and he is available for lectures and outreach events

Ken’s upcoming outreach events:

Nov 23, 1 PM, Titusville, FL: “50th Anniversary Apollo 12 and NASA’s Human Return to the Moon with Project Artemis” at American Space Museum, Titusville, FL. Lecture free. Open to the public.
Website: www.spacewalkoffame.org
www.spacewalkoffame.org/event/cosmic-christmas-yard-sale-and-apollo12-50th
Dec 3/4: 7 PM, Quality Inn Kennedy Space Center, Titusville, FL. “SpaceX CRS-19 Launch to ISS Dec 4.” Free. In hotel lobby

 

Arrival of fourth time launched Falcon 9 1st stage booster landed atop “Of Course I Still Love You” (OCISLY) droneship is towed by tug Hawk and SpaceX fleet into Port Canaveral at sunrise Nov 15, 2019 at Jetty Park Pier – 4 days after SpaceX Starlink launch Veteran’s Day Nov. 11. Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com/spaceupclose.com

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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