Block 5 Falcon 9 first stage returns to port

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SpaceX’s first Block 5 first stage for its Falcon 9 rocket, designed to fly a minimum of ten times, has returned to port after its first flight last week.

This is the most interesting detail revealed:

While not visible, the most significant improvements are likely to be found at the base of the first stage’s octaweb – now assembled with bolts instead of welds – in the form of a dramatically improved heat shield around its nine Merlin 1D engines (also upgraded, of course). One of the Falcon recovery technicians showed some exceptional interest in the shield and Merlins, likely documenting their condition in extreme detail to inform engineering reviews of the pathfinder rocket after its first flight test.

The pictures show those bolts quite clearly.



  • geoffc

    They used the rebuilt Xoomba/Octa-Grabber again (third or fourth time now) to hold it down in transit.

    They removed the legs, they did NOT self retract them this time. Curious to find out why.

  • wodun

    They removed the legs, they did NOT self retract them this time.

    The first pic shows the legs still attached, did they remove them after arriving in port? It could just be they wanted to inspect them closely.

  • Edward

    From the article: “SpaceX means to do an extremely thorough disassembly and analysis of B1046 in order to (hopefully) validate many thousands of hours of design, engineering, modeling, and testing.

    Removing the legs is likely part of this disassembly and analysis process.

  • pzatchok

    Can not find the pics of the legs off the rocket.

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