Falcon 9 booster B1029

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Falcon 9 booster B1029
Iridium-1 Landed (32394688095).jpg
B1029 landed on a drone ship in the Pacific Ocean after helping lift ten Iridium NEXT communication satellites to orbit on 14 January 2017
Role First stage of orbital rocket
National origin United States
Type Falcon 9 first-stage booster
Manufacturer SpaceX
Construction number B1029
First flight 14 January 2017 (Iridium NEXT 1–10)
Last flight 23 June 2017 (BulgariaSat-1)
Flights 2
Status Retired

Falcon 9 booster B1029 is a first-stage reusable rocket booster for the Falcon 9 orbital launch vehicle manufactured by SpaceX. B1029 was the second orbital-class booster in the history of rocketry to be flown again after a vertical landing. It was also the first to land without damage on an autonomous spaceport drone ship in the Pacific Ocean[1] and to be launched from both coasts of the United States.[2]


Falcon 9 booster B1029 was designed and produced primarily at the SpaceX Hawthorne production facility[3] before undergoing testing at the company's rocket development and test facility in McGregor, Texas.[4] It was then transported to Vandenberg Air Force Base in California to prepare for its first mission.

First launch[edit]

B1029 was first launched on 14 January 2017 from Vandenberg pad SLC-4E for the 29th Falcon 9 mission carrying ten Iridium NEXT communication satellites to a 780-kilometre (480 mi) altitude low Earth orbit.[5] It was designated B1029.1 for the first launch. After separating from the second stage, it performed a boost-back burn of three engines to reduce its horizontal velocity and re-entered the atmosphere guided by its software and grid fins.[6] Nine minutes into the flight, it performed a final engine burn to land smoothly on SpaceX's drone ship Just Read the Instructions stationed in the Pacific Ocean a few hundred miles off the Baja California coast.[7] A continuous video stream shows the deployment of grid fins in space, the protective engine burn for atmospheric entry, controlled gliding during ballistic flight and final maneuvers to land on the drone ship.[6]

Second launch[edit]

After recovery, inspections and refurbishing, this first stage was delivered to Kennedy Space Center in Florida on 3 June 2017, and subjected to a mock countdown and static test fire on 15 June on historic launch pad LC-39A.[8] It was launched for the second time as B1029.2 on 23 June 2017, on the 36th Falcon 9 mission, helping lift the BulgariaSat-1 communications satellite into geostationary transfer orbit (GTO). The stage performed the same boost-back and re-entry maneuvers, and was safely recovered on the Of Course I Still Love You drone ship positioned in the Atlantic Ocean. During the recovery sequence, the stage reached a maximum velocity of Mach 7.9, the highest for a successfully recovered booster thus far.[9] This event further reinforced the viability of the SpaceX reusable launch system development program to accelerate launch cadence and reduce costs of access to space.[2]


B1029 was retired after the mission due to Block 4 boosters being unable to be reused multiple times, especially after the stress of atmospheric re-entry from a GTO mission. SpaceX founder Elon Musk described the state of the rocket as "extra toasty" upon landing.[10] B1029 was retired following its final landing. The previous first stage re-flown in similar conditions, B1021, was retired from service and will be donated to the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station for public display.[11]

Flight history[edit]

Flight № Launch date,
time (UTC)
Mission №, payload,
mass, orbit
Liftoff Landing Spaceport,
launch pad
Landing location
1 14 January 2017
17:54 UTC
Falcon 9 flight 29
Iridium NEXT 1–10
9,600 kg (21,200 lb) to LEO
altitude 780 km (480 mi)
Iridium-1 Launch (32312421135).jpg
Iridium-1 Landing (31579784413).jpg
Drone ship
Just Read the Instructions,
Pacific Ocean
Return to flight for Falcon 9 after the Amos-6 accident.[2] First successful landing on Just Read the Instructions in the Pacific Ocean.[12] A continuous video stream of the landing maneuvers is available.[6] (more pictures)
2 23 June 2017
19:10 UTC
Falcon 9 flight 36
3,669 kg (8,089 lb) to GTO
altitude 35,786 km (22,236 mi)
BulgariaSat-1 Mission (35496026065).jpg
The Return of BulgariaSat1 by SpaceX (34808558763).jpg
Drone ship
Of Course I Still Love You,
Atlantic Ocean
Second reflight of an orbital-class booster rocket in history; first booster to launch and land on both coasts of the United States.[2] (more pictures)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Clark, Stephen (17 January 2017). "Falcon 9 booster, first recovered off West Coast, back in port". Spaceflight Now. Retrieved 25 June 2017.
  2. ^ a b c d Graham, William (23 June 2017). "SpaceX Falcon 9 success with second flight involving BulgariaSat-1 mission". NASASpaceFlight.com. Retrieved 25 June 2017.
  3. ^ "Production at SpaceX". SpaceX. 24 September 2013.
  4. ^ "Inside SpaceX's Texas Rocket-Testing Facility". Wired. 10 October 2012.
  5. ^ "Iridium NEXT". eoPortal Directory. European Space Agency. Retrieved 25 June 2017.
  6. ^ a b c SpaceX (14 January 2017). Iridium-1 Hosted Webcast. Retrieved 25 June 2017.
  7. ^ Clark, Stephen (14 January 2017). "SpaceX resumes flights with on-target launch for Iridium". Spaceflight Now. Retrieved 25 June 2017.
  8. ^ Clark, Stephen (15 June 2017). "Falcon 9 launch scheduled for Monday after hold-down engine firing". Spaceflight Now. Retrieved 27 June 2017.
  9. ^ Elon Musk [@elonmusk] (25 August 2017). "Max recovered booster velocity was Mach 7.9 (BulgarianSat [sic]). Energy is velocity squared, so this is a bigger difference than it appears" (Tweet). Retrieved 28 August 2017 – via Twitter.
  10. ^ Elon Musk [@elonmusk] (23 June 2017). "Rocket is extra toasty and hit the deck hard (used almost all of the emergency crush core), but otherwise good" (Tweet). Retrieved 25 June 2017 – via Twitter.
  11. ^ Dunn, Marcia (5 April 2017). "Reused rocket back in port after satellite launch by SpaceX". Associated Press. Retrieved 9 July 2017.
  12. ^ Ansari, Azadeh; Wattles, Jackie (14 January 2017). "SpaceX returns to flight, nails rocket landing". CNN.

External links[edit]