Falcon 9 B1046
|Falcon 9 B1046|
B1046 thrusting for the first time to power the Falcon 9 on the Bangabandhu-1 mission in May 2018
|Type||First stage of orbital rocket|
|Class||Falcon 9 Block 5|
May 11, 2018
|Last flight||Crew Dragon In-Flight Abort Test|
January 19, 2020
|Fate||Disintegrated in the last flight due to aerodynamic forces|
Falcon 9 B1046 was a reusable Falcon 9 first-stage booster manufactured by SpaceX. It flew four times between 2018 and 2020 before breaking up during a successful abort test of the Crew Dragon. It was the first Block 5 upgrade to the Falcon 9.
In October 2016, Elon Musk announced the Falcon 9 Block 5, which featured revisions such as increased thrust, improved landing legs, and upgrades for easier reuse, including thermal protection on the side of the vehicle and a reusable heat shield at the base to protect the engines and plumbing.
After a year of delays, B1046 was completed and transported to SpaceX's McGregor facility for testing in preparation for its maiden flight.
This Falcon 9 was first launched on May 11, 2018, carrying Bangabandhu-1, Bangladesh's first geostationary communications satellite. This marked the 54th flight of the Falcon 9 and the first flight of the Falcon 9 Block 5. After completing a successful ascent, B1046 separated from the second stage and landed on the drone ship Of Course I Still Love You. This marked the 11th successful landing on OCISLY and the 25th successful landing of the Falcon 9.
After inspection and refurbishment, B1046 was launched a second time on August 7, 2018, carrying the Telkom-4 (Merah Putih) satellite. The Telkom-4 mission marked the first time an orbital-class rocket booster launched two GTO missions. This was also the first re-flight of a Block 5 booster.
Four months after the Telkom-4 mission, B1046 arrived at Vandenberg Air Force Base to support the SSO-A mission. Following delays for additional satellite checks, liftoff occurred from SLC-4E on December 3, 2018. This marked the first time that the same orbital-class booster flew three times. While the mission profile allowed for the booster to return to the launch site, it landed offshore on the drone ship Just Read The Instructions due to vibration concerns for a Delta IV Heavy and its NRO payload awaiting launch at nearby SLC-6.
Its fourth and last mission launched a Crew Dragon capsule up to the point of maximum dynamic pressure, where it separated to test its abort system in flight. As expected, the remaining rocket without Dragon broke up due to aerodynamic forces.
|Flight #||Launch date (UTC)||Mission #||Payload||Pictures||Launch pad||Landing location||Notes|
|1||May 11, 2018||54||Bangabandhu-1||KSC, LC-39A||Of Course I Still Love You (ASDS)||First flight of a Block 5 booster, launch of Bangladesh's first geostationary communications satellite|
|2||August 7, 2018||60||Merah Putih||CCAFS, SLC-40||Of Course I Still Love You (ASDS)||First reflight of a Block 5 booster|
|3||December 3, 2018||64||Spaceflight SSO-A (SmallSat Express)||VAFB, SLC-4E||Just Read The Instructions (ASDS)||First third flight of the same orbital-class booster|
|4||January 19, 2020||79||Crew Dragon C205||KSC, LC-39A||No Attempt||High-speed abort test of Crew Dragon; booster was intentionally destroyed in flight as recovery was deemed too complicated due to the unorthodox nature of the test flight.|
B1046 records and achievements
- First Block 5 booster to fly 
- Launched Bangladesh's first geostationary communications satellite 
- First re-flight of a Block 5 booster 
- First booster to fly two missions to geosynchronous transfer orbit 
- First orbital-class booster to fly three times 
- The first Falcon 9 to have launched from all three of SpaceX's active launch sites
- Largest batch of satellites launched from the United States (record subsequently broken)
- "Musk offers more details about Mars mission architecture". SpaceNews.com. 2016-10-23. Retrieved 2018-12-05.
- "Spacex Falcon 9 Block 5 targets 24 hour turnaround, no refurbishment reuse and relaunch a dozen times". NextBigFuture.com. 2017-08-29. Retrieved 2018-12-05.
- "Bangabandhu-1 sucessfully [sic] launched by first Block 5 Falcon 9 – SpaceX's goal of affordable access to space". www.nasaspaceflight.com. Retrieved 2018-11-14.
- "Falcon 9 launch timeline with Merah Putih". spaceflightnow.com. Retrieved 2018-11-14.
- "SpaceX Delays Historic Third Launch of Used Rocket (and Its Flock of Satellites)". Space.com. Retrieved 2018-12-03.
- "SpaceX official says company about to launch a Falcon 9 for the third time". Ars Technica. Retrieved 2018-11-14.
- "SpaceX's Crew Dragon spacecraft suffers an anomaly during static fire testing at Cape Canaveral". April 20, 2019. Retrieved April 21, 2019.
- "First Block 5 Falcon 9 static fires ahead of Bangabandhu-1 launch – NASASpaceFlight.com". Retrieved 2018-12-05.
- "SpaceX Falcon 9 launches Merah Putih for first Block 5 reflight – NASASpaceFlight.com". Retrieved 2018-12-05.
- "SpaceX Falcon 9 launches SSO-A multi-sat mission". www.nasaspaceflight.com. Retrieved 2018-12-04.