SpaceX has demonstrated it’s Falcon 9 rocket's first stage is capable of being reused multiple times. The company is a leader in the aerospace industry, it is the only that has recovered 103 orbital-class rockets and performed 81 reflights of recovered boosters. The most a particular Falcon 9 first-stage booster has flown is 11 times. For the first time SpaceX will reuse a thrice-flown Falcon 9 booster to launch NASA astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS) under the Commercial Crew Program (CCP).
According to NASA Commercial Crew Manager Steve Stich, the agency plans to launch SpaceX’s Crew-4 using first-stage booster B1067, which previously launched the company’s 22nd cargo Commercial Resupply Services mission to the orbiting laboratory (CRS-22) in June 2021, then it launched Crew-3 astronauts to the ISS in November 2021, and it deployed Turkey’s Turksat-5B satellite in December 2021. Now, the previously-flown booster will launch the Crew-4 astronauts aboard a brand-new Dragon spacecraft in Spring this year. Stitch also shared with reporters that the agency is “working on an evolutionary path to fly a booster up to five times” for crewed flights.
NASA's Steve Stich notes that the SpaceX Crew-4 mission, scheduled for April 15, will reuse a Falcon 9 booster for a 4th launch for the first time with crew.— Michael Sheetz (@thesheetztweetz) January 19, 2022
"We're working on an evolutionary path to fly a booster up to five times." pic.twitter.com/voLYevA8uD
The astronauts assigned for SpaceX’s Crew-4 mission are: NASA astronauts Kjell Lindgren, who will serve as commander; Bob Hines, will serve as Dragon pilot; and Jessica Watkins will serve as mission specialist for their six-month-long mission. They will be joined by European Space Agency (ESA) astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti from Italy. Crew-4 will liftoff from the NASA Kennedy Space Center Launch Pad-39A in Florida. The agency currently plans to conduct this spaceflight to the Space Station no earlier than (NET) April 15 this year.
NASA commercial crew manager Steve Stich says the Crew-4 flight will be the first commercial crew mission using a booster on its fourth flight (B1067, which also launched Crew-3). New Dragon spacecraft. Launch scheduled for no earlier than April 15.— Jeff Foust (@jeff_foust) January 19, 2022
Featured Image Source: NASA & SpaceX