After flying 4 astronauts into orbit, SpaceX makes its one hundred and first straight touchdown

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The Falcon 9 rocket carrying the Crew-6 mission streaks into orbit on Thursday morning.
Enlarge / The Falcon 9 rocket carrying the Crew-6 mission streaks into orbit on Thursday morning.

Trevor Mahlmann

A Falcon 9 rocket blasted into the starry sky above Florida early on Thursday morning, sending 4 astronauts safely on their manner into low-Earth orbit.

This mission, flown by SpaceX for NASA, will ship the astronauts to the Worldwide House Station after a 24.5-hour flight to synch up with the orbiting laboratory. Throughout this time, below nominal operations, Dragon will fly completely autonomously.

SpaceX is conducting its sixth operational human spaceflight for NASA, and accordingly this mission is called Crew-6. The Falcon 9 rocket’s first stage, shiny and clear on the launch pad, was truly flying its very first mission, however the Dragon spacecraft is making its fourth general flight, probably the most instances that any Crew Dragon automobile has flown into house. Beforehand this Dragon, named Endeavour, flew NASA’s Demo-2 and Crew-2 missions, in addition to Axiom House’s Ax-1 personal spaceflight to and from the Worldwide House Station.

The image excellent liftoff got here after the launch of this rocket was scrubbed two days earlier, on February 27, with solely about two minutes left within the countdown as a consequence of a problem with the ignition system. NASA and SpaceX traced the issue to clogged filter within the floor techniques that assist the rocket up till the second of launch. On account of this problematic filter, the right quantity of TEA-TEB, a fluid used to ignite the rocket’s Merlin 1D engines, was not reaching the primary stage of the automobile. SpaceX changed the filter and reset the countdown.

Thursday morning’s flight carried NASA astronauts Stephen Bowen, the mission commander, and Warren “Woody” Hoburg, its pilot, together with United Arab Emirates astronaut Sultan Alneyadi and Roscosmos cosmonaut Andrey Fedyaev, each mission specialists.

Simply previous to launch, Bowen provided these phrases to the SpaceX launch crew: “As soon as extra unto the breach, expensive associates. Crew-6 is prepared for launch.” Bowen was quoting from Shakespeare’s play “Henry V.”

After the Falcon 9 rocket separated—with the second stage and Dragon motoring towards orbit—the primary stage burned again towards Earth. A couple of minutes later it made a bullseye touchdown on the Simply Learn The Directions drone ship.

Upon reaching orbit, Hoburg was clearly pumped in regards to the heart-pounding expertise he had simply gone by means of. “As a rookie flier, that was one heck of a trip, thanks,” he radioed again to SpaceX’s flight management middle. “I’d say that is an absolute miracle of engineering and I simply really feel so fortunate that I get to fly on this wonderful machine.”

Slightly greater than seven years have handed for the reason that Falcon 9 rocket made its first profitable touchdown again on Earth. That was simply SpaceX’s twentieth launch of the Falcon 9 rocket. Monday morning’s launch was the 207th general flight of the rocket. For a time, after that first touchdown, SpaceX had a number of misses because it continued to experiment with touchdown on a drone ship, in addition to enduring a couple of mishaps.

Nonetheless, since a drone ship touchdown failure in February 2021, SpaceX had reeled off 100 consecutive profitable booster landings. Monday morning’s return made for fortunate no. 101.