For SpaceUpClose.com & RocketSTEM
PORT CANAVERAL, FL – A gloriously colorful Space Coast sunrise greeted Monday’s, Aug. 10, arrival of the 5x flown and landed SpaceX Falcon 9 1st stage booster atop the veteran OCISLY droneship into Port Canaveral on a ‘Dramatic Day of Action’ also involving simultaneous payload fairing processing from this mission for the SpaceX Naval Fleet – barely 3 days after Fridays beautiful post-midnight blastoff of the 10th batch of their Starlink broadband internet satellites to orbit from the Sunshine State.
The ‘Of Course I Still Love You’ droneship and the 5x recovered launched/landed booster B1051.5 at last began her final approach to Jetty Park at 7 a.m. ET towed by tugboat Finn Falgout and welcomed by a small crowd of my media colleagues and th usual mostly clueless beach goers.
The boosters dawn arrival was accompanied by a beautiful hued sky with broken clouds and fantastic Space Coast weather – warm, dry and calm compared to the torrential downpours inundating the region most of the past week.
But the entire morning was wonderfully action packed with virtually the entire SpaceX fleet of ships in motion to simultaneously handle the offloading of both nose cone halves from their fairing catcher boats that also arrived into Port Canaveral over the weekend.
Both fairing catchers Go Ms.Tree and Go Ms. Chief had to be docked and undocked due to limited berthing space at the North Cargo pier after another giant cargo ship.
Enjoy our Space UpClose photo gallery focusing on the arrival and docking of the rather sooty Falcon 9 booster B1051.1 at the droneships normal northside berthing port at North Cargo Pier 6.
Check back as the gallery grows.
I’ll post a separate gallery dealing with the fairing hoisting’s
The 16-story tall booster standing firmly upright on OCISLY sailed swiftly past the Pier and reached the northside berthing port as usual some 45 minutes after arrival.
The SpaceX team then focused on the nose cone halves.
They alternately moved Go Ms. Tree and Go Ms. Chief in and out of the lone berthing port available.
Meanwhile Crew Dragon recovery vessels Go Searcher and Go Navigator were also moving around the channel for some unknown reason.
After completing the fairing hoisting the next steps were for the SpaceX booster processing and crane crews to attach the hoisting cap to the top of the booster – which the crew tried twice and almost succeeded.
But apparently something was amiss and the cap attachment was unsatisfactory so moments later they craned the hoisting cap back off and back to the ground so the team could check out whatever was not functioning properly.
At that point at about 2 pm ET poor weather rolled in.
Finally the team succeeded after the skies cleared and attached the cap late afternoon.
Thereafter the 156-foot-tall booster was hoisted off OCISLY onto the ground work pedestal.
After some prep work for retractions the team concluded their work for the day
The mission began with the nighttime liftoff of the oft delayed 10th SpaceX Starlink mission took place at last Friday, August 7 at 1:12 a.m. EDT, 512 GMT from Launch Complex 39A (LC-39A) at Kennedy Space Center in Florida – heading on a trajectory northeast.
The Falcon 9 1st stage separated as planned two and a half minutes into flight. See our streak shot image.
Originally this Starlink mission was to blastoff on June 26, but it was called off because SpaceX needed to conduct additional unspecified checks on the launch vehicle- possibly related to the second stage as was the case with a different Falcon 9.
The 15 story tall stage then carried out a precision guided propulsive descent by reigniting a subset of the Merlin’s and successfully landed on the “Of Course I Still Love You” (OCISLY) droneship for the fifth time about eight minutes after launch.
Droneship OCISLY was waiting at its stationing position some 400 mi (640 km) north east of KSC off the coast of the Carolina’s with a football field sized platform.
The two stage Falcon 9 rocket stands 229 feet (70 meters) tall.
Enjoy our Space UpClose gallery of photos of the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launch here and earlier prelaunch photos from pad 39A.
Watch this landing video courtesy of SpaceX that set the stage for the booster return to Port Canaveral.
“Falcon 9’s first stage has landed on the Of Course I Still Love You droneship,” SpaceX tweeted.
Falcon 9’s first stage has landed on the Of Course I Still Love You droneship pic.twitter.com/szO3thMxqa
— SpaceX (@SpaceX) August 7, 2020
The mission designated Starlink 9 is comprised of 57 Starlink satellites as well as a pair of commercial Earth observation satellites for Seattle-based BlackSky Global for what counts as SpaceX’s second rideshare mission.
Rideshares are a very low cost alternative for small satellite payload launches that don’t need the full rocket to get to space.
Altogether the Starlink constellation now totals 595 satellites since May 2019.
SpaceX is thus the top satellite operator in the world.
The Starlink satellites will now gradually raise their orbits over the next few week to about 340 miles (550 km) altitude via the krypton ion propulsion system.
The flat panel satellites weigh about 500 pounds each and are manufactured by SpaceX in Redmond, Washington.
Falcon 9’s first stage previously supported Crew Dragon’s first demonstration mission to the International Space Station on March 2, 2019, launch of the RADARSAT Constellation Mission on June 12, 2019, and the fourth and seventh Starlink missions on Jan. 29 and April 22 respectively this year.
Overall the Starlink constellation could eventually number over 12,000 satellites.
SpaceX plans to launch 1 or 2 Starlink missions per month for the foreseeable future.
The goal according to SpaceX CEO Elon Musk is to provide cost competitive internet services around the globe – especially for remote and underserved areas
Initial beta test service in North America is expected later this year.
The pricing information for the Starlink service or terminal has not been announced.
Musk has said previously that the pizza-sized receiver dishes will be simple to operate – basically just point to the sky.
SpaceX CEO Elon Musk has made rocket recycling a top priority in order to slash launch costs.
Musk says that the fairings cost approximately $6 million or roughly 10% of the approximate cost of $60 million for a new Falcon 9 rocket.
Overall this counts as the 90th flight of a Falcon 9 rocket since 2010 and the 13th Falcon 9 launch of 2020.
To date SpaceX has recovered the Falcon 9 first stage booster 57 times by land and by sea.
Watch my Aug 3 interview at ‘Stay Curious’ show American Space Museum about successful Mars Perseverance launch, successful splashdown SpaceX Crew Dragon on Demo-2 1st commercial mission, Artemis Moon mission and more:
Watch my commentary about the 1st SpaceX Starlink launch attempt for this mission at WFTV ABC 9 Orlando TV News on Jun 25
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