Wednesday, October 24, 2018

SpaceX official says company about to launch a Falcon 9 for the third time

SpaceX flew the Block 5 variant of its Falcon 9 rocket for the first time on May 11, 2018.

Enlarge / SpaceX flew the Block 5 variant of its Falcon 9 rocket for the first time on May 11, 2018. (credit: SpaceX)

SpaceX has re-used its Falcon 9 rocket 16 times, but the company has never flown a single first stage more than twice. However, in May of this year the company debuted a newer version of its Falcon 9 rocket, dubbed Block 5, that is specifically optimized for reusability across multiple flights.

SpaceX has since flown a handful of Block 5 rockets twice, but it has not taken the step of flying one of these rockets for the third time. However, that may happen quite soon, according to Lars Hoffman, senior director of government sales for the California-based rocket company.

"We've launched Falcon 9 over 60 times," Hoffman said at the Wernher von Braun Memorial Symposium on Wednesday afternoon. "We've landed our first stage booster 30 times now. And relaunched 16 times. We're about to relaunch a booster for the third time. So we're turning this into routine access to space. High-reliability, higher-performance, lower-cost access to space; that opens it up to everybody."

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