The Final Launch of SpaceX’s Block 4 Falcon 9 Was Beautiful
In the early hours on Friday, SpaceX’s Block 4 Falcon 9 rocket blasted off from Cape Canaveral in Florida, carrying 5,900 pounds of supplies, including a droid named CIMON and coffee from Death Wish Coffee Company, to the International Space Station.
SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket with its Dragon capsule (which will deliver the goods to the ISS) launched at 5:42 a.m. ET amid good weather conditions and with no technical difficulties.
In case you missed it, the launch can be watched on SpaceX’s website.
NASA astronauts Ricky Arnold and Drew Feustel grab Dragon when it arrives using the space station’s Canadarm2 robotic arm, NASA said. Viewers can watch the arrival and installation live on NASA Television and NASA.com beginning at 5:30 a.m. Monday, July 2.
This will be the last ride of the full thrust, “moderately reusable,” Block 4 model of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rockets, according to Wired. Both the Stage One boosters to be used on this mission and the Dragon capsule have been used on prior missions, according to Space.com.
SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk wants to reduce the cost of space flight by making more parts of the rocket reusable — and with a quick turnaround. The Block 4 model already has first stage boosters that can be reused several times before they are retired, but the turnaround to reuse these is months. The reported retiring of the Block 4 makes way for the Block 5 model (introduced in May), which will usher SpaceX into an even more powerful and reusable rocket era.
And, as Wired points out, Musk would like to reuse even more of the rocket and speed up the turnaround. The Block 5 model’s reusable rockets will hopefully be reusable up to 10 times, according to reports, and they will have a refurbishing time of 24 hours (as opposed to several months).
SpaceX has multi-billion dollar contracts with NASA, and this will be the fifteenth SpaceX resupply mission to the ISS.