Capitalism in space: The planned launch on June 29th of Dragon to ISS will set a new turnaround record for a used first stage, just over two months.
This first stage is not a Block 5 first stage, it is the last older Block 4. What this quick turnaround means for the upcoming Block 5 launches however is important.
Although CRS-15 will likely see its venerable Block 4 Falcon 9 booster expended in the ocean without a recovery attempt, the speed of Falcon 9 B1045’s refurbishment is thrilling for another, more abstract reason: if the design functions largely as intended, a Falcon 9 Block 5 booster should be able to handily crush that already impressive record with ease, and one will perhaps do just that within a handful of months of this launch.
Currently scheduled for no earlier than (NET) July 19 and late July to early August, the Telstar 19V and 18V communications satellites will require their own Block 5 launches roughly a month from today, and July 20’s Iridium NEXT-7 mission will further require its own Falcon 9 Block 5 booster for a mission from California. It remains to be seen what boosters will launch those three missions, as well as an additional two SpaceX missions tentatively scheduled for August and September.
In other words, there is a very strong likelihood that SpaceX will be reusing its Block 5 boosters almost immediately this summer.
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