SpaceX achieved its 200th Falcon 9 landing on Monday, confirming yet again the viability of its reusable spaceflight system.
The company led by billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk shared footage showing the first-stage booster in the final stages of its descent before making a perfect upright landing.
This was the ninth launch and landing of this particular Falcon 9 booster, which previously supported the launch of the NROL-87, NROL-85, SARah-1, and SWOT missions, and also four Starlink missions.
After a number of mishaps where the booster toppled over and exploded shortly after touching down, SpaceX achieved its first successful landing in 2015. Since then, it’s gone from strength to strength, perfecting the landing procedure so that the booster can be refurbished and used multiple times. SpaceX also reuses its Dragon spacecraft for crew and cargo flights to and from the International Space Station, as well as the rocket’s fairing.
Using the Falcon 9’s first-stage booster for multiple missions has enabled SpaceX to cut the cost of spaceflight and also increase the frequency of launches.
In a tweet showing the increase in the pace of flights using refurbished boosters, SpaceX said that flight-proven first stages have launched up to 90% of the last 100-plus missions since the beginning of 2022.
Monday’s mission launched from Space Launch Complex 4E at Vandenberg Space Force Base in California for the Transporter-8 mission, which was SpaceX’s eighth flight for its dedicated smallsat rideshare program.
The rocket’s payload comprised 72 spacecraft, among them cubeSats, microSats, a re-entry capsule, and orbital transfer vehicles carrying spacecraft to be deployed at a later time.
The next Falcon 9 flight is set for June 18 from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
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