The Falcon 9 booster from the Crew-1 launch returned to Port Canaveral on Thursday aboard SpaceX’s drone ship “Just Read the Instructions.” Credit: Stephen Clark / Spaceflight Now
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 tentatively scheduled to take off March 30. It will mark the first SpaceX crew mission to fly with a reused Falcon 9 booster.
The brand new 15-story-tall booster landed on SpaceX’s drone ship around nine-and-a-half minutes after liftoff from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center on Sunday night. Live video from the landing vessel appeared to show the Falcon 9 first stage — designated B1061 — setting down squarely on the ship’s deck in the Atlantic Ocean more than 300 miles (500 kilometers) northeast of Cape Canaveral.
Falcon 9 boosters perform propulsive landings by reigniting the rocket’s center engine in a braking maneuver ...