SpaceX aces 57th Falcon 9 landing after deploying South Korean satellite

by Evelyn Arevalo July 20, 2020

SpaceX aces 57th Falcon 9 landing after deploying South Korean satellite

Featured Image Source: SpaceX

Today, July 20, SpaceX successfully launched the ANASIS-II satellite for the Republic of South Korea. ANASIS-II launched at approximately 5:30 p.m. EDT. atop a previously-flown Falcon 9 rocket from Space Launch Complex 40 at the United States Air Force Station in Cape Canaveral, Florida. The Falcon 9 rocket’s first-stage booster, production number B1058, previously propelled NASA astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley aboard the Crew Dragon spacecraft to orbit just 51 days ago, on May 30th. The rocket features atmospheric reentry scorch marks and NASA’s retro logo; It broke the turnaround flight record between space reflights, in comparison to NASA’s Space Shuttle Atlantis flight of 1985 which turnaround record was 54 days – “Still long way to go. Reuse only matters to degree that it’s rapid & complete,” the founder of SpaceX Elon Musk said regarding the rocket turnaround record. He hopes to eventually launch, land, and re-launch a Falcon 9 booster twice within a 24-hour period. Reusing rockets is a huge achievement by the company that aims to reuse a particular first-stage rocket booster at least 10 times. So far, the company has achieved reusing a particular first-stage booster 5 times.



About eight and a half minutes after liftoff, the Falcon 9 rocket’s first-stage landed on the Just Read The Instructions [JRTI] autonomous drone ship situated around 645-kilometers downrange Florida’s coastline. The successful recovery marked SpaceX’s 57th orbital-class booster landing – a first in the history of rocketry. No other aerospace company has achieved recovering orbital-class rockets routinely. Now, SpaceX can refly the historic booster a third time on a future mission.

Falcon 9 is capable of being 85% reusable; SpaceX aims to develop a rocket that could one day be fully reusable, and Falcon 9’s recovery system paves the way towards accomplishing that goal. Booking a flight aboard a new Falcon 9 rocket costs approximately $62 million. The first-stage booster that SpaceX recovers makes up about 60% of the total cost of the rocket, around $30 million. Recovering a Falcon 9’s first-stage manufacturing and operation costs are significantly decreased.



Today, SpaceX also recovered the rocket’s payload fairing halves -"Both fairing halves caught from space by SpaceX ships!" Musk announced via Twitter. The fairing halves are cached by two twin ships called 'Ms. Chief' and 'Ms. Tree', which are equipped with huge nets attached to four metal arms. As the fairing free falls from space, it conducts a parachute-assisted landing atop the ships' net, or the ocean if the ships fail to catch. To date, SpaceX has rescued a couple of fairings, according to Musk, recovering and refurbishing fairings can save the company around $6 million per flight.




The company confirmed a successful deployment of ANASIS-II, into a geostationary transfer orbit. ANASIS- II will use its integrated propulsion system to reach an altitude of around 42,000 kilometers over the equator, where it will operate to provide coverage to the Korean Peninsula over a 6,000-kilometer radius. The ANASIS-II satellite will be the first military communications satellite deployed by the country. The satellite was manufactured by Airbus Defense and Space in France, and it will be operated by South Korea's Agency for Defense Development.



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