As SpaceX kicks off a halsey year, today is the fifth anniversary of the first Falcon Booster landing and the company is celebrating with record-breaking success.
SpaceX completed its last launch and landing on December 19, delivering a mysterious American spy satellite to low Earth orbit (LEO), while Falcon 9 booster B1059 for its fifth successful recovery in 12 months, Landing Zone 1 (LZ) -1) returned. Known as NROL-108, Mission SpaceX was the 26th of the year, crushing its previous record of 21 launches by 25%.
To make the 2020 Falcon 9 the world’s most-launched rocket and to demonstrate in a full quarter that SpaceX has an annual pool of 40+ launches well within reach, NROL-108 also spent nearly five years. The latter marked an impressive booster landing milestone. First success.
As the NROL-108, SpaceX has now launched 20 consecutive Falcon boosters without fail, breaking the previous record of 19. Incredibly, the company set that record in 2020 despite the fact that the last Falcon booster landing failure occurred in March. Of this year. In other words, SpaceX has successfully launched 20 boosters in a row over eight months.
After an impeccable year of landing in 2017, SpaceX has faced one or a few failed booster landings each year – including two in 2020. SpaceX continues to demonstrate that Falcon boosters are indeed capable of meeting their design goal of no less than 10 launches. Each, failed landing (and thus the loss of the booster) is an increasingly undesirable result. With any luck, 20 back-to-back landings suggest SpaceX has found its progress and overruled most of the technical and organizational issues allowing for many failures in recent years.
As NOL-108, the SpaceX Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy Booster have completed 70 successful landings (of 80 attempts) over the past five years. In other words, of the Falcon family’s 105 successful launches, approximately two-thirds (67) involve one or more successful booster landings.
Finally, SpaceX is just getting started and CEO Elon Musk has recently revealed a target of 48 launches in 2021 – nearly double its already record-breaking pace in 2020. The spendable Falcon launches with an increasingly endangered species, it’s safe to say. very More booster landings next year.