AUG 11, 2019 5:48 AM PDT

Just How Reusable is SpaceX's Falcon 9 Rocket?

WRITTEN BY: Anthony Bouchard

SpaceX originally designed its acclaimed Falcon 9 rocket to be a reusable rocket platform. With literally dozens of Falcon 9 rocket launches and landings in just the past three years, it’d be an understatement to say that SpaceX has exceeded this momentous goal, but for the most part, SpaceX limits the number of times that a Falcon 9 rocket can fly.

The highest number of times that any Falcon 9 rocket booster has flown is three, and three separate rocket boosters have achieved this feat, including B1046, B1048, and B1049. After the third launch, SpaceX seems to retire the rocket booster, instead opting to launch a newer one, presumably on the grounds of safety and reliability concerns.

The latest iteration of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket, dubbed ‘Block 5’ is designed to be the most reusable Falcon 9 rocket yet. It’s intended to make refurbishing the rocket easier and to reduce the amount of time needed to make it flight-ready again. The average turnaround time for rocket booster refurbishment is approximately 107 days.

Theoretically, a SpaceX Falcon 9’s Merlin engine should be capable of at least one-thousand maintenance-free flights, but there are several other components of a rocket to take into consideration besides the engine, such as the fuel tank, the landing gear, and the payload vehicle, among other things. Each of these systems must work flawlessly to ensure a safe and reliable flight.

In the future, SpaceX may phase out the Falcon 9 rocket in place of larger and more advanced rocket systems, such as the upcoming Starhopper starship, which could double as a transportation system in low-Earth orbit and for deep space missions to Mars and the Moon.

About the Author
  • Fascinated by scientific discoveries and media, Anthony found his way here at LabRoots, where he would be able to dabble in the two. Anthony is a technology junkie that has vast experience in computer systems and automobile mechanics, as opposite as those sound.
You May Also Like
OCT 10, 2020
Chemistry & Physics
Imagining the sunspots of other solar systems
OCT 10, 2020
Imagining the sunspots of other solar systems
A recent study published in the Astrophysical Journal takes a new look at sunspots in order to understand stellar activi ...
NOV 04, 2020
Space & Astronomy
Missing Link Between Fast Radio Bursts & Magnetars Found in Our Galaxy
NOV 04, 2020
Missing Link Between Fast Radio Bursts & Magnetars Found in Our Galaxy
A neutron star is born when a massive star dies out in a supernova, leaving its collapsed and incredibly dense core rema ...
NOV 14, 2020
Space & Astronomy
Bacteria Make Space Mining 400% More Effective
NOV 14, 2020
Bacteria Make Space Mining 400% More Effective
Researchers aboard the International Space Station (ISS) have shown that bacteria can increase space mining efficiency b ...
NOV 20, 2020
Chemistry & Physics
The Passing of a Neutrino Hunting Pioneer
NOV 20, 2020
The Passing of a Neutrino Hunting Pioneer
Masatoshi Koshiba, a revered Japanese physicist known for his groundbreaking work on cosmic neutrino detection, passed a ...
DEC 06, 2020
Space & Astronomy
Watching a Nebula Fade
DEC 06, 2020
Watching a Nebula Fade
Nebulas are vast clouds of dust and gas that are remnants of exploded stars or in other cases, nurseries for where stars ...
JAN 27, 2021
Space & Astronomy
Astronomers Find Rocky Planet Created Just After the Big Bang
JAN 27, 2021
Astronomers Find Rocky Planet Created Just After the Big Bang
Researchers have discovered a ten billion-year-old planetary system. While two of its planets are gaseous, as would be e ...
Loading Comments...