Recovered SpaceX Falcon 9 Starlink 1st Stage Sails into Port Canaveral: Photos

Recovered SpaceX Falcon 9 Starlink 1st Stage Sails into Port Canaveral
Falcon 9 1st stage booster landed atop “Of Course I Still Love You” (OCISLY) droneship is towed by tug Finn Falgout and SpaceX fleet into Port Canaveral channel early morning Apr. 26, 2020 as pleasure boats sail by – 4 days after SpaceX Starlink 6 launch Apr. 22 from Space Launch Complex-39A on NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, FL. Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com/spaceupclose.com

For SpaceUpClose.com & RocketSTEM

PORT CANAVERAL, FL – Under hazy Space Coast skies the quadruply launched and landed recovered Falcon 9 1st stage booster triumphantly sailed into Port Canaveral atop the OCISLY droneship Sunday morning April 26, at the channel entrance past Jetty Park Pier – nearly four days after the spectacular launch of their next batch of their 60 Starlink satellites into sunny Florida skies on Wednesday afternoon, Apr. 22.

The 16 story tall booster arrival also came two days after the special SpaceX naval fleet team was able to successfully recover both halves of the payload fairing and sail them back into Port Canaveral on Friday, Apr. 24 just two days after liftoff.

However both the booster arrival and beautiful launch known as Starlink-6 came amidst the ongoing coronavirus pandemic that has forced closures of public places, schools and travel hubs all across the US and the world – but not forced a rocket cancellation for this mission.

With the beaches and Jetty Park closed we could not watch directly from the Atlantic Ocean as usual – and only a small group on media and spectators were on hand.

Nevertheless it was as exciting as always for those of us fortunate to be on hand to witness this still remarkable arrival and what amounts to a thin stick landed atop as small platform in the open seas.

The 156 foot tall Falcon 9 booster landed on the “Of Course I Still Love You” (OCISLY) droneship arrived at 8 a.m. this morning Apr 26 towed by tugboat Finn Falgout in the Atlantic Ocean and accompanied by the SpaceX naval fleet just offshore of the beach.

The booster appeared to have a very slight tilt and was sitting lower and closer to the deck with the landing legs positioned a bit flatter than normal – perhaps indicating a harder landing and usage of the crush core.

Up Close view of landing legs and 9 Merlin 1D engines as the 4x launched/landed Falcon 9 1st stage booster is towed into Port Canaveral channel early morning Apr. 26, 2020 clamped atop OCISLY droneship with octagrabber – 4 days after SpaceX Starlink 6 launch Apr. 22 from Space Launch Complex-39A on NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, FL. Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com/spaceupclose.com

Enjoy our Space UpClose photo gallery of the arrival and docking of the somewhat sooty Falcon 9 booster 1051.4 at the droneships normal northside berthing port at Nort Cargo Pier 6.

Check back as our booster arrival gallery grows.

Falcon 9 1st stage booster landed atop “Of Course I Still Love You” (OCISLY) droneship is towed by tug Finn Falgout and SpaceX fleet into Port Canaveral channel early morning Apr. 26, 2020 as pleasure boats sail by – 4 days after SpaceX Starlink 6 launch Apr. 22 from Space Launch Complex-39A on NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, FL. Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com/spaceupclose.com

Picture perfect liftoff of the 7th Starlink commercial mission took place Wednesday at 3:31 EDT, (1930:30 GMT), April 22 from seaside Launch Complex-39A (LC-39A) on NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, FL.

Small group on spectators witness arrival of Falcon 9 1st stage booster landed atop “Of Course I Still Love You” (OCISLY) droneship as it towed by tug Finn Falgout and SpaceX fleet into Port Canaveral channel early morning Apr. 26, 2020 – 4 days after SpaceX Starlink 6 launch Apr. 22 from Space Launch Complex-39A on NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, FL. Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com/spaceupclose.com

This recycled Falcon 9 first stage B1051 launched for the fourth time with recycled payload fairings as well.

Rocket recycling is a major tenant of SpaceX CEO and founder Elon Musk as the driver for radically slashing launch costs.

Small group on spectators witness arrival of Falcon 9 1st stage booster landed atop “Of Course I Still Love You” (OCISLY) droneship as tugboats push it towards normal northside berthing port at North Cargo Pier 6 after arrival into Port Canaveral channel early morning Apr. 26, 2020 – 4 days after SpaceX Starlink 6 launch Apr. 22 from Space Launch Complex-39A on NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, FL. Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com/spaceupclose.com

Overall it took roughly an hour from Port arrival to docking of OCISLY at its normal berthing port at north cargo pier 6.

Everything appeared to go very well.

Tugboats push Falcon 9 1st stage booster landed atop “Of Course I Still Love You” (OCISLY) towards normal northside berthing port at North Cargo Pier 6 with fairing catcher boat in background – after arrival into Port Canaveral channel early morning Apr. 26, 2020 – 4 days after SpaceX Starlink 6 launch Apr. 22 from Space Launch Complex-39A on NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, FL. Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com/spaceupclose.com

The next step is to attach the hi tech booster lifting cap and hoist the recovered 1st stage off OCISLY using the giant Liebherr crane and place it onto land on a ground pedestal for retraction or removal of the four landing legs.

 

Up Close view of landing legs and 9 Merlin 1D engines as the 4x launched/landed Falcon 9 1st stage booster is towed into Port Canaveral channel early morning Apr. 26, 2020 clamped atop OCISLY droneship with octagrabber – 4 days after SpaceX Starlink 6 launch Apr. 22 from Space Launch Complex-39A on NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, FL. Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com/spaceupclose.com

The Falcon 9 was previously used to launch Crew Dragon’s first flight to the ISS, launch of the RADARSAT Constellation Mission, and the fourth Starlink mission in Jan 2020.

This booster B1051 last entered the port on Feb. 1 atop OCISLY. See our prior articles/photos.

The recycled payload fairings were previously used for the Israeli AMOS-17 mission launched and recovered in August 2019.

 

 

4x recycled SpaceX Falcon 9 blasts off on 7th Starlink mission to orbit from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, FL at 3:31 p.m. April 22, 2020 – as seen from Indian River lagoon in Titusville, FL. Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com/spaceupclose.com

Eight minutes after liftoff the first stage successfully made a pinpoint soft landing on the ‘Of Course I Still Love You’ droneship station some 400 mi (640 km) north east of KSC

The SpaceX naval fleet also recovered the recycled payload fairing halves.

This 4x recycled first stage counts as being the 2nd Starlink launch from pad 39A.

The payload comprises the seventh batch of 60 SpaceX built and owned Starlink broadband satellites launching to LEO with an overall mass of about 7.7 tons.

Up Close view of landing legs and 9 Merlin 1D engines as the 4x launched/landed Falcon 9 1st stage booster is towed into Port Canaveral channel early morning Apr. 26, 2020 clamped atop OCISLY droneship with octagrabber – 4 days after SpaceX Starlink 6 launch Apr. 22 from Space Launch Complex-39A on NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, FL. Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com/spaceupclose.com

SpaceX is currently the owner of the largest fleet of Earth orbiting satellites – already numbering 360 Starlink satellites delivered to orbit earlier – and now 420 following the Apr 22 successful deployment of 60 more after all went well.

 

Watch Ken’s continuing reports about onsite for live reporting of upcoming and recent SpaceX and ULA launches including Starlink, Solar Orbiter, In-Flight Abort, Mars 2020 and more at the Kennedy Space Center and Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

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

Up Close view of landing legs and 9 Merlin 1D engines as the 4x launched/landed Falcon 9 1st stage booster is towed into Port Canaveral channel early morning Apr. 26, 2020 clamped atop OCISLY droneship with octagrabber – 4 days after SpaceX Starlink 6 launch Apr. 22 from Space Launch Complex-39A on NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, FL. Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com/spaceupclose.com

 

 

SpaceX Falcon stunning liftoff on 7th Starlink mission from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, FL at 3:31 p.m. April 22, 2020 – from pad 39A remote camera. Credit: Jean Wright/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.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.