For SpaceUpClose.com & RocketSTEM
PORT CANAVERAL, FL – After apparently taking the weekend off following last Friday’s sunrise return to Port Canaveral of the 1st ever 6x flown Falcon 9 booster and working on other projects related to the octagrabber booster grappling device on Monday Aug. 24, SpaceX workers resumed processing the blackened, veteran and sooty 1st stage on Tuesday, Aug. 25 – from the 11th Starlink mission.
Starting soon after sunrise SpaceX crane crews at the North Cargo pier got going and worked methodically to successfully retract all four landing legs on the 6x recovered launched & landed Falcon 9 booster B1049.6 positioned atop the ground pedestal after craning off the OCISLY droneship last Friday using the giant Liebherr crane.
Crews attached a pair of cables to a lifting bracket sequentially attached to the end of each leg that was then hoisted with the Liebherr crane from Germany.
They easily raised the first landing leg on the left side at 8:30 a.m. ET Tuesday, Aug. 25.
The right leg followed as the second one and was raised by 9:30 am. ET.
Next the team moved to the right landing leg.
But here they encountered some difficulties and had to raise it in fits and starts, variously compressing and opening the leg pistons several times as the crane crew intervened – hoisted on jig lifts.
Finally the hard work paid off and the 3rd leg was fully retracted by 10:45 a.m.
The rear leg was the last to rise – with relative ease – and the crew completed retracting the fourth leg by 11:30 a.m. ET.
With all the leg retraction accomplished, the crew continued apace and move on to their next objective.
Using two cranes they tilted and lowered the booster horizontally in a carefully choreographed maneuver by 1 p.m. and place it gently on top of the white wheeled transporter.
See our Space UpClose gallery of imagery detailing the landing leg retraction work and booster tiling horizontal.
Check back as the gallery grows.
Interestingly the 1st stage engines had not yet been covered with cushions – so they were easily visible.
After a short break the team detached the hoisting cap by 3 p.m., attached the ring clamps to restrain the booster onto the transporter and covered the top with a black hoodie to conclude a busy Tuesday.
The booster was transported back to the Cape on Wednesday morning, Aug. 26 , as we witnessed it driving past us during our media remote cameras setup at historic Launch Complex-34.
Liftoff of the veteran, record setting SpaceX Falcon 9 booster B1049.6 took place right on time Tuesday, Aug. 18 at 10:31 a.m. EDT on its eleventh Starlink mission from Space Launch Complex 40 (SLC-40) at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.
Watch my Aug. 25 commentary at WKMG CBS 6 TV News Orlando as the retraction work was completed and talking about 3 upcoming launches this weekend.
Video Caption: It’s going to be a busy three days on the Space Coast with three rocket launches scheduled for a history-making line up but to make this triple-header happen, the weather and rocketry must align. James Sparvero/CBS 6
Watch my Aug. 14 guest host and Aug 3 interview appearances at ‘Stay Curious’ show at the American Space Museum about successful Mars Perseverance launch, successful splashdown SpaceX Crew Dragon on Demo-2 1st commercial mission as well as upcoming Crew-1, Artemis Moon mission, SpaceX Starlink and more:
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 Space 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