10 F9 Lauches

By Dale Skran

On May 9th at 2:42 AM a Falcon 9 roared skyward lofting another 60 Starlink satellites to orbit. Ho-hum! That’s the 11th Starlink launch on a Falcon 9 in 2021 so far, so what’s the big deal? SpaceX has been re-using F9 first stages for a long time.

Take a look at this number:  4-8-5-5-6-8-6-9-6-7-2-7-9-10

This shows the F9 booster reuse number of every F9 launch so far in 2021. The first launch was on a booster being used for the 4th time, second launch was on a booster being used for the 8th time, and so on.

Which brings us to the present moment – the 10th launch of Booster 1051. Booster 1051 flew for the 8th time January 20, 2021, and for the 9th on March 14, 2021, in both cases launching Starlink satellites. Flying a F9 booster 10 times before a major refurbishment has long been the stated reuse goal for SpaceX, although recently Elon Musk has been sounding more optimistic on what the ultimate reuse limit might be.

In addition to hitting a key reuse milestone, here are some other points to consider:

  • Every single Falcon 9 flight in 2021, all 14 of them so far, has been on a “flight proven” booster.
  • SpaceX has also made fairing reuse routine; today’s launch used “flight proven” fairings.
  • The first flight of Booster 1051 launched the first Dragon 2 uncrewed mission, Demo 1, on March 2, 2019.
  • In Q1 of 2021, SpaceX launched the F9 nine times. If this pace continues, and so far it seems like it can, SpaceX will set a new annual launch record of 36 F9 launches.
  • B1051 now has more successful missions than the Space Shuttle Challenger.
  • Just a few hours before this launch, Elon Musk appeared on Saturday Night Live.
  • Perhaps most significantly, the site nasaspaceflight.com has locked the forum dedicated to a discussion of “customer views of reuse” as it relates to SpaceX since all SpaceX customers are now using or planning to use “flight proven” first stages; hence there is nothing more to discuss!

Before I forget, B1051 nailed the landing on drone ship “Just Read the Instructions.” Not bad for a vehicle that some now-long-silent Internet Trolls decried as a “hobby rocket.”

© 2021 Dale Skran


Picture of National Space Society

National Space Society

Leave a Comment

future 1

Don't Miss a Beat!

Be the first to know when new articles are posted!

Follow Us On Social Media


Give The Gift Of Space: Membership For Friends and Family

Book Review


ISDC 2024:

International Space Development Conference May 23rd-26th, 2024


Image of Kalpana One space settlement courtesy Bryan Versteeg, spacehabs.com $32,000 in Cash Awards Given for Best Space-Related Business Plans — Deadline March 1, 2024

Category: Nonfiction Reviewed by: John J. Vester Title: Nuclear Rockets: To the Moon and Mars Author: Manfred “Dutch” von Ehrenfried Format: Paperback/Kindle Pages: 270 Publisher:

Partially Successful Flight Reached Space and Demonstrated New “Hot Staging” System The National Space Society congratulates SpaceX on the second test of its Starship/Super Heavy

Ad Astra, the NSS quarterly print, digital, and audio magazine, has won a 2023 MARCOM Gold Award. The awards are given yearly for “Excellence in

By Jennifer Muntz, NSS Member Coordinator On October 10th, an inspiring breakfast event took flight at the Center for Space Education at the Kennedy Space

By Grant Henriksen NSS Policy Committee Benefit sharing is a concept that refers to the distribution of benefits derived from the exploration and use of

People residing and working in space, space settlements, or on long-duration space flights will need to produce infrastructures and food to maintain healthy lifestyles. The

Image: Artist’s concept of the Blue Moon lander. Credit: Blue Origin. Second Human Landing System Contract Encourages Competition and Innovation The National Space Society congratulates