SpaceX launches commercial satellite with first used Block 5 first stage

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Capitalism in space: Last night SpaceX successfully placed a commercial communications satellite into orbit using a previously flown Block 5 first stage.

The turnaround for this first stage was only a little over two months. It successfully landed on the drone ship in the Atlantic, and they plan to fly it a third time later this year. You can watch the launch here.

The leaders in the 2018 launch race:

22 China
15 SpaceX
8 Russia
4 Japan
4 Europe

China still leads the U.S. 22 to 21 in the national rankings.



  • Mike

    It would be interesting to track the count of launches vs boosters used as this will begin to widen significantly once SpaceX starts re-flying boosters many more times.

  • Dick Eagleson

    The post-Shuttle record for actual reuses of reusable space hardware is held by the now-retired #2 version of Blue Origin’s New Shepard. It flew five times. Could be that this now-once-reused Block 5 stage will surpass that record sometime next year. By that time, though, Blue may have upped its own record using the #3 version of New Shepard.

    The least-flown Shuttle was the ill-fated Challenger. It flew 10 times, the last time to its destruction. It made it to space 9 times. The most-flown Shuttle was Discovery. It flew 39 times. A Falcon 9 Block 5 stage has a reasonable shot at surpassing the Challenger’s reuse mark. After three or four refurbs, a Block 5 stage could even exceed Discovery’s record sometime in the early 2020’s. BFR and BFS vehicles, though, seem likely to take over the reuse record book after that.

  • wodun

    Whether or not this specific F9 wins any records is tough to say but when they actually finish the Block Five and stop fiddling with it, we should see a high number of reuses. Will be interesting to see how big their fleet is.

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