The Falcon 9 booster that launched four astronauts toward orbit last weekend arrived back on Florida’s Space Coast Thursday aboard a SpaceX drone ship, sailing into Port Canaveral with a lean but otherwise in seemingly good shape after it apparently slid across the ship’s deck in high winds and rough seas. Assuming post-flight inspections reveal no major issues, SpaceX aims to reuse the booster to launch the next Crew Dragon mission in 2021.
The U.S. Space Force says it will launch two GPS navigation satellites on reused Falcon 9 boosters next year through a restructured contract with SpaceX that saved taxpayers $52 million, the first time the military has agreed to fly operational national security payloads on previously-flown rockets.
SpaceX scrubbed a Falcon 9 launch attempt Thursday, citing an issue associated with the planned recovery of the rocket’s first stage or payload fairing in the Atlantic Ocean. Officials later said the mission would be grounded to await improved weather in downrange recovery area in the Atlantic Ocean.