Non-Stop Action as Record Setting SpaceX Falcon 9 1st 8th Flown Landed Booster Returns Port Canaveral Hours After Transporter-1 Launch: Photos

Non-Stop Action:  Record Setting SpaceX Falcon 9 1st 8th  Flown Landed Booster Returns Port Canaveral Hours After Transporter-1 Launch: Photos
Thrilled crowd of eager spectators enjoy return of record setting 1st SpaceX Falcon 9 1st stage to launch and land 8 times – towed past Jetty Park Pier at Port Canaveral, Florida at 4 p.m. ET Jan. 24 atop JRTI droneship upon which it soft-landed – following 17th Starlink mission launch Jan. 20, 2021 delivering 60 broadband internet satellites to LEO from Launch Complex 39A (LC-39A) at Kennedy Space Center, Florida. Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com/spaceupclose.com

For SpaceUpClose.com & RocketSTEM

PORT CANAVERAL/KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, FL – Sunday Jan. 24 was a day of non-stop exhilarating action at Florida’s Space Coast that began with the successful inaugural Transporter-1 SmallSat mission launch at 10 a.m. from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center and culminated six hours later as the record setting 1st SpaceX Falcon 9 1st stage to fly eight times to space and back from the 17th Starlink mission launch and successful landing on a sea going droneship returned to Port Canaveral around 4 p.m. EST – thus completing its recovery to eventually attempt another incredible go around.

The 15 story tall booster from the history making 1st 8th flown SpaceX Falcon 9 booster arrived Sunday afternoon at the mouth of Port Canaveral, Florida standing firmly upright on deck of the ‘Just Read the Instructions’ droneship.

The booster was firmly grasped and held in place at the base between the legs by the hi-tech  octagrabber device– see our photos.

Return of record setting 1st SpaceX Falcon 9 1st stage to launch and land 8 times – towed by tiug Hawk past Jetty Park Pier at Port Canaveral, Florida at 4 p.m. ET Jan. 24 atop JRTI droneship upon which it soft-landed – following 17th Starlink mission launch Jan. 20, 2021 delivering 60 broadband internet satellites to LEO from Launch Complex 39A (LC-39A) at Kennedy Space Center, Florida. Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com/spaceupclose.com

After 8 roundtrips to space and back it appeared to be in rather good shape with roughly the normal expected increased amount of soot on the core exterior.

Beachcombers crowd of eager spectators enjoy return of record setting 1st SpaceX Falcon 9 1st stage to launch and land 8 times – towed into Jetty Park Pier at Port Canaveral, Florida at 4 p.m. ET Jan. 24 atop JRTI droneship upon which it soft-landed – following 17th Starlink mission launch Jan. 20, 2021 delivering 60 broadband internet satellites to LEO from Launch Complex 39A (LC-39A) at Kennedy Space Center, Florida. Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com/spaceupclose.com

The booster was towed by tug Hawk into Port under beautiful sunny skies just six hours after launch another record setting Falcon 9 on the Transporter-1 mission from pad 40 on Cape Canaveral.

Return of record setting 1st SpaceX Falcon 9 1st stage to launch and land 8 times – towed by tiug Hawk past Jetty Park Pier at Port Canaveral, Florida at 4 p.m. ET Jan. 24 atop JRTI droneship upon which it soft-landed – following 17th Starlink mission launch Jan. 20, 2021 delivering 60 broadband internet satellites to LEO from Launch Complex 39A (LC-39A) at Kennedy Space Center, Florida. Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com/spaceupclose.com

Following liftoff, the 156 foot tall booster accomplished a precision guided soft landing atop JRTI some 400 miles (640 km) northeast of the Cape off the coast of the Carolina’s.

The 15 story tall first stage booster arrived into Port four days after it launched.

Thrilled crowd of eager spectators enjoy return of record setting 1st SpaceX Falcon 9 1st stage to launch and land 8 times – towed past Jetty Park Pier at Port Canaveral, Florida at 4 p.m. ET Jan. 24 atop JRTI droneship upon which it soft-landed – following 17th Starlink mission launch Jan. 20, 2021 delivering 60 broadband internet satellites to LEO from Launch Complex 39A (LC-39A) at Kennedy Space Center, Florida. Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com/spaceupclose.com

Coincidentally the spectacular liftoff of the 17th Starlink mission took place on Inauguration Day 2021 just 4 hours before Joe Biden took the oath of office as 46th President of the United States in Washington, D.C.

Furthermore Jan. 20 was the final day in office for NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine.

Enjoy our eyewitness photos of the Falcon 9 launch and Port Canaveral return from the team of Ken Kremer and Jean Wright at Space UpClose.

Check back as the gallery grows!

Thrilled crowd of eager spectators enjoy return of record setting 1st SpaceX Falcon 9 1st stage to launch and land 8 times – towed past Jetty Park Pier at Port Canaveral, Florida at 4 p.m. ET Jan. 24 atop JRTI droneship upon which it soft-landed – following 17th Starlink mission launch Jan. 20, 2021 delivering 60 broadband internet satellites to LEO from Launch Complex 39A (LC-39A) at Kennedy Space Center, Florida. Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com/spaceupclose.com

The booster designated as B1051.8 accomplished its eighth trip to space and back by nailing the soft landing on the sea going droneship ‘Just Read the Instructions’ (JRTI) in the Atlantic Ocean – thereby setting up a ninth launch in the not too distant future.

 

Liftoff of the new ‘fleet leader’ flight-proven Falcon 9 on the seventeenth Starlink mission took place during the instantaneous window at 8:02 a.m. EST, or 13:02 GMT from Launch Complex 39A (LC-39A) at Kennedy Space Center.

Pelican observes as SpaceX Falcon 9 1st stage sets record as 1st to launch 8 times during blastoff at 8:02 a.m. ET Jan. 20, 2021 on 17th Starlink mission delivering 60 broadband internet satellites to LEO from Launch Complex 39A (LC-39A) at Kennedy Space Center, Florida. Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com/spaceupclose.com

The turnaround time between liftoffs of a recycled Falcon 9 first stage was also slashed to just 38 days – since it last blasted off on the SiriusXM satellite SXM-7 mission on 13 December 2020 also from pad 40.

Falcon 9 and JRTI berthed at the normal parking spot at North Cargo Pier 6 roughly 45 minutes after arrived at the mouth of Port Canaveral channel.

Thrilled crowd of eager spectators enjoy return of record setting 1st SpaceX Falcon 9 1st stage to launch and land 8 times – berthing at North Cargo Pier 6 at Port Canaveral, Florida, Jan. 24 atop JRTI droneship upon which it soft-landed – following 17th Starlink mission launch Jan. 20, 2021 delivering 60 broadband internet satellites to LEO from Launch Complex 39A (LC-39A) at Kennedy Space Center, Florida. Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com/spaceupclose.com

The next steps are to hoist the booster off JRTI onto land and retract all four landing legs, lowering horizontal onto the booster  transporter and final shipment back to the Cape for some refurbishment and inspection before relaunching on a 9th flight.

Pelicans greet arrival of record setting 1st SpaceX Falcon 9 1st stage to launch and land 8 times – berthing at North Cargo Pier 6 at Port Canaveral, Florida, Jan. 24 atop JRTI droneship upon which it soft-landed – following 17th Starlink mission launch Jan. 20, 2021 delivering 60 broadband internet satellites to LEO from Launch Complex 39A (LC-39A) at Kennedy Space Center, Florida. Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com/spaceupclose.com

The Falcon 9 first stage rocket booster supporting this mission previously flew on seven other missions: most recently the SXM-7 mission in December 2020, as well as launch of the RADARSAT Constellation Mission in June 2019, launch of Crew Dragon’s first demonstration mission in March 2019, and four Starlink missions.

Following stage separation, SpaceX landed Falcon 9’s first stage on the “Just Read the Instructions” droneship, which was located in the Atlantic Ocean.

Both payload fairing halves are recycled.

One half of Falcon 9’s fairing previously supported a Starlink mission and the other previously supported two.

The next launch by SpaceX is the next batch of Starlink internet satellites on the 18th Starlink mission tentatively slated for Jan. 30 at roughly 7:24 a.m. ET.

Thrilled crowd of eager spectators enjoy return of record setting 1st SpaceX Falcon 9 1st stage to launch and land 8 times – towed past Jetty Park Pier at Port Canaveral, Florida at 4 p.m. ET Jan. 24 atop JRTI droneship upon which it soft-landed – following 17th Starlink mission launch Jan. 20, 2021 delivering 60 broadband internet satellites to LEO from Launch Complex 39A (LC-39A) at Kennedy Space Center, Florida. Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com/spaceupclose.com

Watch Ken’s continuing reports about Starlink, NASA missions and Artemis, Mars Perseverance and Curiosity rovers, SpaceX, Commercial Crew and ISS and onsite for live reporting of upcoming and recent SpaceX and ULA launches including Crew 1 & 2, Demo-2 and Starliner, X-37B, Solar Orbiter, NRO spysats 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.
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Return of record setting 1st SpaceX Falcon 9 1st stage to launch and land 8 times – towed by tiug Hawk past Jetty Park Pier at Port Canaveral, Florida at 4 p.m. ET Jan. 24 atop JRTI droneship upon which it soft-landed – following 17th Starlink mission launch Jan. 20, 2021 delivering 60 broadband internet satellites to LEO from Launch Complex 39A (LC-39A) at Kennedy Space Center, Florida. Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com/spaceupclose.com
SpaceX Falcon 9 roars past US Flag at 8:02 a.m. ET on Inauguration Day Jan. 20, 2021 on 17th Starlink mission delivering 60 broadband internet satellites to LEO from Launch Complex 39A (LC-39A) at Kennedy Space Center, Florida Credit: Jean Wright/spaceupclose.com

 

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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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