Please consider donating to Behind the Black, by giving either a one-time contribution or a regular subscription, as outlined in the tip jar to the right. Your support will allow me to continue covering science and culture as I have for the past twenty years, independent and free from any outside influence.
The competition heats up: The recovered first stage from last week’s Falcon 9 launch has been hoisted from the barge where it landed and is being prepared for testing prior to reuse.
The crane maneuvered the first stage on to a cradle, where ground crews were expected to complete procedures to “safe” the rocket — a process which includes draining the vehicle of its toxic igniter fluid, disarming of its pyrotechnic destruct system, and removal of propellants and high-pressure gases. Some of the safing procedures were accomplished at sea before the rocket booster, which also includes the “interstage” adapter to connect with the Falcon 9’s upper stage, arrived back on Florida’s Space Coast.
The rocket’s four landing legs will be removed or retracted, and then the booster will be rotated horizontal and loaded on a trailer for transport to a nearby SpaceX facility for inspections and a series of “static fire” engine tests.
The link has some good pictures of the operation and the stage.