In the early hours of the 6th local time, U.S. space exploration technology company SpaceX successfully launched the Cargo Dragon spacecraft, as agreed to carry out the 19th space station resupply mission, It also marks a new recovery record for the Falcon 9 rocket booster: the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket ignited nine new Merlin 1D engines and lifted off from SpaceX’s LC-40 launch pad at Cape Canaveral to begin the journey of the Cargo Dragon spacecraft into near-Earth orbit (LEO). The ship is supported by the new Falcon 9 rocket booster B1059, the first time the booster has carried out a mission.
Figure 1: SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket B1059 booster is launching for the first time with the Cargo Dragon spacecraft for the 19th space station resupply mission
In April 2016, the Falcon 9 rocket booster was first launched and recycled at sea, the first successful recovery by SpaceX after several failed attempts. About a year later, in March 2017, the Falcon 9 rocket booster B1021 became the world’s first reusable liquid-fueled rocket booster, a key milestone that laid the foundation for SpaceX’s success in the years that followed.
Figure 2: In March 2017, the Falcon 9 rocket B1021 became the world’s first successfully recovered orbital-class booster twice
For about 33 months since SpaceX first launched the world’s first reusable liquid rocket booster, the company has been committed to achieving its goal of becoming one of the world’s most prolific launch service providers and to continually reduce rocket launch costs and enhance capabilities.
Since the successful launch, SpaceX has successfully recovered 46 boosters, including the Falcon 9 rocket booster 39 times and the Three Falcon Heavy Rocket boosters seven times.
Because of the cargo Dragon’s relatively low mass and low target orbit, which provides a relatively easy launch and recovery exercise for the Falcon 9 rocket, the Falcon 9 booster B1059 could be quickly reused in the near future, perhaps supporting SpaceX’s planned Starlink satellite launch in 2020.