Falcon 9 Booster from 1st Human Launch Lowered and Transported to Cape, Fate TBD: Photos

Techs attach ring clamps to recovered Falcon 9 with 4 retracted landing legs resting atop wheeled transporter on June 4, 2020. From SpaceX Demo-2 launch May 30 on the NASA Demo-2 test flight to the ISS 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 – After successfully retracting all four landing legs flush against the Falcon 9 booster core yesterday, Wednesday, June 3, while standing upright atop the OCISLY droneship upon which it landed after the historic achievement of launching the first humans to space ever on a commercial SpaceX rocket and the first Americans from US soil in 9 years, SpaceX technicians completed their tasks by craning it off and lowering the 1st stage horizontally onto a wheeled transporter.

This morning, Thursday, June 4, they secured the 16 story tall booster firmly onto the transporter as crane crews attached a series of upper ring clamp segments at the front and back – see our photos – after removing the hoisting cap and attaching a protective hood at North Cargo Pier 6.

Techs attach ring clamps to recovered Falcon 9 with 4 retracted landing legs resting atop wheeled transporter on June 4, 2020. From SpaceX Demo-2 launch May 30 on the NASA Demo-2 test flight to the ISS from Space Launch Complex-39A on NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, FL. Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com/spaceupclose.com

After the technicians completed all that work they finally drove it away from the cargo berthing spot just before 1 p.m. EDT and back to the Cape for a fate that remains TBD at this time.

This recovered 16 story tall SpaceX Falcon 9 first stage that landed atop the ‘Of Course I Still Love You’ (OCISLY) droneship some eight and a half minutes after launching at 3:22 p.m. ET Saturday May 30 sailed into the mouth of Port Canaveral past Jetty Park Pier two days agon on Tuesday, June 2 at around 2 p.m. to the cheers of a few media and spectators gathered for the momentous occasion.

Enjoy our eyewitness Space UpClose photo gallery of the ring clamp and booster work and departure for the Cape as well as the leg retraction and Port arrival earlier this week of the launched and landed Falcon 9 booster 1058.1 standing both vertical and resting horizonal throughout this week of the SpaceX crane crew efforts ongoing at Port Canaveral.

Check back as the gallery grows.

Techs attach ring clamps to recovered Falcon 9 with 4 retracted landing legs resting atop wheeled transporter on June 4, 2020. From SpaceX Demo-2 launch May 30 on the NASA Demo-2 test flight to the ISS from Space Launch Complex-39A on NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, FL. Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com/spaceupclose.com

Two potential fates exist for the history making 1st stage.

The fate of historic booster B1058.1 is either to be recycled to some other launch or to be saved for a museum display somewhere.

Personally I hope B1058.1 is permanently donated to the National Air and Space Museum.

But its fate ultimately lies in the hands of SpaceX billionaire founder and CEO Elon Musk to decide.

The Pelicans and the Booster: Pelican flock observes as 1st SpaceX Falcon 9 to launch humans to space rests horizontally at Port Canaveral with 4 landing legs retracted as crews clamp down/prepare booster for transport back to Cape. From SpaceX Demo-2 launch May 30 on the NASA Demo-2 test flight to the ISS from Space Launch Complex-39A on NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, FL. Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com/spaceupclose.com
The Pelicans and the Booster: Pelican flock observes as 1st SpaceX Falcon 9 to launch humans to space rests horizontally at Port Canaveral with 4 landing legs retracted as crews clamp down/prepare booster for transport back to Cape. From SpaceX Demo-2 launch May 30 on the NASA Demo-2 test flight to the ISS from Space Launch Complex-39A on NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, FL. Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com/spaceupclose.com

Meanwhile the Pelican Navy was on guard as well for some wonderful photobombing.

And in another remarkable first for a mission already full of stunning firsts all four landing legs were retracted yesterday while still on the droneship upon which the commercial SpaceX Falcon 9 1st stage landed at sea following its first ever launch of humans to space just days ago on May 30 – marking a major advance in rocket reusability.

Techs attach ring clamps to recovered Falcon 9 with 4 retracted landing legs resting atop wheeled transporter on June 4, 2020. From SpaceX Demo-2 launch May 30 on the NASA Demo-2 test flight to the ISS from Space Launch Complex-39A on NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, FL. Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com/spaceupclose.com

This new advance in leg retraction marks another huge milestone on the road to rocket reusability pioneered by SpaceX and CEO Elon Musk – in order to slash launch costs drastically and thereby enable more satellite, science and exploration mission launches.

This Block 5 Falcon 5 is the most advanced version. Musk hope to recycles the 1st stage boosters 10 times before major refurbishment. So far he has achieved 5 launches with the same booster.

The Pelicans and the Booster: Pelican flock observes as 1st SpaceX Falcon 9 to launch humans to space rests horizontally at Port Canaveral with 4 landing legs retracted as crews clamp down/prepare booster for transport back to Cape. From SpaceX Demo-2 launch May 30 on the NASA Demo-2 test flight to the ISS from Space Launch Complex-39A on NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, FL. Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com/spaceupclose.com

The NASA SpaceX Demo-2 test flight mission marks the resumption and restoration of US Human spaceflight capability on American rockets in American spaceships from American soil for the first time since the forced retired of NASA’s space shuttles in 2011.

Techs attach ring clamps to recovered Falcon 9 with 4 retracted landing legs resting atop wheeled transporter on June 4, 2020. From SpaceX Demo-2 launch May 30 on the NASA Demo-2 test flight to the ISS from Space Launch Complex-39A on NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, FL. Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com/spaceupclose.com
Falcon 9 clamped down horizontally on wheeled transporter starts move back to Cape facilities on June 4, 2020. From SpaceX Demo-2 launch May 30 on the NASA Demo-2 test flight to the ISS from Space Launch Complex-39A on NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, FL. Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com/spaceupclose.com

The beautiful and flawless blastoff of the Crew Dragon spacecraft carrying NASA veteran astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley lifted off on the historic test flight at 3:22 p.m. EDT Saturday, May 30, on the company’s Falcon 9 rocket from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida bound for the International Space Station (ISS) – to the cheers of tens of thousands of spectators gathered from around America and three days after dismal weather forced a scrub of the first attempt on Wednesday.

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying the company’s Crew Dragon spacecraft is launched from Launch Complex 39A on NASA’s SpaceX Demo-2 mission to the International Space Station with NASA astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley onboard, Saturday, May 30, 2020 at 3:22 p.m. EDT, at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The Demo-2 mission is the first launch with astronauts of the SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft and Falcon 9 rocket to the International Space Station as part of the agency’s Commercial Crew Program. As seen from the Indian River lagoon, Titusville, FL. Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com/spaceupclose.com

Behnken and Hurley flying aboard the commercial Space Crew Dragon Endeavour safely docked at the ISS Sunday morning, May 31, just 19 hours after the first human launch from US soil for the first time in nine years on a history making and flawless blastoff from the Florida Space Coast.

 

1st Falcon 9 1st stage booster that launched humans and landed atop “Of Course I Still Love You” (OCISLY) droneship from historic NASA Demo-2 test flight mission is towed by tug Hawk and SpaceX fleet past Jetty Park Pier into Port Canaveral channel Tuesday afternoon June 2, 2020 – 3 days after SpaceX launch May 30 from Space Launch Complex-39A on NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, FL. Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com/spaceupclose.com

Both the SpaceX Crew Dragon and competing Boeing Starliner commercial spacecraft were developed to restore US human spaceflight and fly our astronauts to low earth orbit and the ISS with funding under the auspices of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program.

Meanwhile the next recovered Falcon 9 from 8th Starlink launch is expected at Port Canaveral as soon as Sunday.

Falcon 9 clamped down horizontally on wheeled transporter starts move back to Cape facilities on June 4, 2020. From SpaceX Demo-2 launch May 30 on the NASA Demo-2 test flight to the ISS from Space Launch Complex-39A on NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, FL. Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com/spaceupclose.com

Watch my commentary at Wesh 2 NBC TV News Orlando on June 2 about the booster arrival in Port and its fate and meaning:
https://www.wesh.com/article/historic-falcon-9-rocket-astronauts-back-in-brevard-county/32746787

Watch my live Jun 1 interview on TRT about the launch and successful arrival and docking:

Watch my live SpaceX Demo-2 launch commentary from the 1st attempt with CBS 12 here for a full hour May 27:

Watch my prelaunch commentary at CBS 6 TV News Orlando here:
https://www.clickorlando.com/news/local/2020/05/25/the-mission-nasa-astronauts-will-be-first-to-fly-in-spacex-spacecraft/

Watch my prelaunch commentary at Newsmax here:

Watch Ken’s continuing reports about Commercial Crew and Artemis and onsite for live reporting of upcoming and recent SpaceX and ULA launches including Demo-2, Starlink, X-37B, Solar Orbiter, 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.
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Ken’s photos are for sale and he is available for lectures and outreach events

 

Recovered SpaceX Falcon 9 1st stage booster with all 4 landing legs retracted is held vertically in place atop OCISLY droneship – with no stabilizing crane – at Port Canaveral on June 3, 2020 in a remarkable first for the firms rocket recycling efforts. This 16 story tall booster is also the 1st Falcon 9 to launch NASA astronauts to orbit on May 30, 2020 on the NASA Demo-2 test flight to the ISS from Space Launch Complex-39A on NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, FL. Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com/spaceupclose.com

 

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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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