SpaceX’s first Falcon 9 landing of 2019 foreshadows rapid rocket fleet growth - Teslarati
Teslarati.com - Sat 12 Jan 03:36 GMT

SpaceX’s first Falcon 9 landing of 2019 foreshadows rapid rocket fleet growth - Teslarati

Despite an unplanned landing anomaly that foiled SpaceX’s last Falcon 9 recovery attempt, the company’s engineers and technicians have pulled off another successful launch and landing of Falcon 9 – the 33rd for the rocket family – and the first of the new yea…

  As of now, all but one of SpaceX’s flight-ready Falcon 9 boosters have now performed two or three orbital-class launches and are quickly becoming a truly reusable fleet of rockets.

  Including new boosters that have arrived at their launch pads but have yet to launch, SpaceX’s skilled production and testing team managed to ship, test, and deliver an impressive 1 to 1.5 Falcon 9 boosters, 1-2 upper stages, and 3-4 payload fairing halves on average each month.

  Just for Falcon Heavy’s second and third launches (NET March and April), SpaceX will deliver another two boosters (one side and one center) to Florida within the next ~6 weeks and will likely ship, test, and deliver another two or three new Falcon 9 boosters in the first half of 2019 for commercial missions and two crewed Crew Dragon launches scheduled for the second half of the year.

  Although Falcon Heavy’s new side boosters will likely remain side boosters for both of the rocket’s next missions, that should mean that they will be free enter the single-stick Falcon 9 fleet sometime in H2 2019, as will the three new boosters assigned to Crew Dragon this year.

  Regardless, this ultimately means that SpaceX’s reusable Falcon fleet could feature as many as 12-15 boosters capable of something like 5-10 additional launches each by the second half of fourth quarter of 2019.