December 12, 2018

Photos: Twice-flown Falcon 9 rocket prepared for third mission


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SpaceX is readying a Falcon 9 rocket booster for launch Monday at Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, on a record-setting mission with 64 smallsats on-board that will also mark the launch provider’s first use of the same first stage for a third flight.

The 229-foot-tall (70-meter) rocket is set for liftoff at 10:31:47 a.m. PST (1:31:47 p.m. EST; 1831:47 GMT) from Space Launch Complex 4-East at Vandenberg, and the first stage will return to a drone ship landing in the Pacific Ocean around 30 miles (50 kilometers) offshore from the military-run spaceport.

The Falcon 9’s first stage set to launch on Monday’s rideshare multi-payload mission has launched two previous times — on May 11 from the Kennedy Space Center with Bangladesh’s Bangabandhu 1 communications satellite, and on Aug. 7 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station with the Indonesian Merah Putih comsat. The booster will have launched from all three of SpaceX’s active launch pads with Monday’s flight.

SpaceX rolled out the rocket, exhibiting soot and scars from its two previous fiery flights to the edge of space and back, to the launch pad over the weekend in preparation for liftoff.

Read our earlier story for details on the mission.

Credit: SpaceX
Credit: SpaceX
Credit: SpaceX
Credit: SpaceX

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Follow Stephen Clark on Twitter: @StephenClark1.


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