SpaceX ditches landing legs on next Falcon 9 flight

August 22, 2016 – 07:59 pm

SpaceX's next resupply mission to the International Space Station is set for takeoff as soon as Saturday after a rapid rebound from the company's last flight from Cape Canaveral, but the company does not plan to use the launch as another chance to practice rocket recovery procedures.

File photo of a Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon spacecraft inside SpaceX's hangar at Cape Canaveral. Credit: SpaceX
Liftoff of a 208-foot-tall Falcon 9 rocket is scheduled for Saturday at 2:16 a.m. EDT (0616 GMT), a day later than previously planned to accommodate flight preparations after SpaceX's Sept. 7 launch of the AsiaSat 6 commercial communications satellite.

If ground crews pull it off, it will bust SpaceX's record turnaround time between Falcon 9 missions as the launch company ramps up its mission cadence to accomplish a jam-packed manifest.

Before now, the fastest turnaround between SpaceX launches was 22 days between a pair of commercial Falcon 9 flights from Cape Canaveral on July 14 and Aug. 5.

The Falcon 9 booster stage set to launch Saturday will not carry landing legs, according to Hannah Post, a SpaceX spokesperson.

Correcting an earlier statement, SpaceX said Monday it will still try to guide the first stage to a controlled soft splashdown in the Atlantic Ocean - "with a low probability of success" - but the company has no plans to retrieve it.

The rocket's first stage is programmed fly back to Earth after completing its work to boost the Dragon spacecraft off the launch pad, but engineers swapped out the Falcon 9 booster with a first stage originally assigned to another flight, officials said.

The reason for the changeout was not disclosed, but it means Saturday's flight will be without landing...


Source: spaceflightnow.com

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