A new Falcon booster has been installed on the test stand at SpaceX’s Rocket Development and Test Facility in McGregor, Texas. Based on the logos and hardware on the exterior of the booster, the stage has been identified as a Falcon Heavy side booster, slated to support the next flight of SpaceX’s heavy lift rocket early next year.
(Lead Photo via Gary Blair for NSF/L2, from his plane at 4,000 feet AGL)
Normally, the type of Falcon core is obvious based on either a nosecone for a Falcon Heavy side booster, a white interstage for a Falcon Heavy center core, or a black interstage for a Falcon 9 stage. However, the newest booster, presumed to be B1064, arrived with a previously flown interstage from a non-Block 5 Falcon 9 booster. The Falcon 9 logo is visible in photos, and the discoloration from its previous flight is apparent compared to the new, clean booster.
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This is not the first time that a booster has arrived at McGregor in a strange configuration, and likely points to some special testing that will be conducted using this booster before it is configured ...