Falcon 9 booster B1050

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Falcon 9 booster B1050
CRS-16 Mission (45473446114).jpg
B1050 lifting off for the first time on CRS-16 mission
Role First stage of orbital rocket
National origin United States
Type Falcon 9 first-stage booster
Manufacturer SpaceX
Construction number B1050
First flight December 5, 2018 (CRS-16)
Flights 1
Status In Port Canaveral

Falcon 9 booster B1050 is a reusable first-stage booster for the orbital-class Falcon 9 vehicle manufactured by SpaceX. It launched for the first time on December 5, 2018.[1][2] The booster experienced a malfunction during reentry, resulting in the booster missing its landing at the ground pad as intended; instead performing a soft landing just offshore.[1][3][2] The booster may be used in future SpaceX internal missions.[1][2]

First flight[edit]

B1050 became the 5th new Falcon 9 Block 5 booster when it first flew on CRS-16 mission carrying multiple experiments including the Global Ecosystem Dynamics Investigation lidar (GEDI) as an external payload.[4] She was expected to fly on December 4 but was delayed one day due to mouldy rodent food for one of the experiments on the Space Station.[5] Two and a half minutes after liftoff, B1050 separated from the upper stage and Dragon Spacecraft which continued safely to orbit.[2] Following the boost back burn and re-entry burn, B1050 was expected to descend and propulsively land on LZ-1. However, the grid fins experienced a hydraulic pump stall causing the fins to hard over and the booster to lose control. During entry the rocket aims its ballistic trajectory just offshore of the landing pad, then navigates to the pad using the grid fins; this is a safety feature so that in the event of an issue such as the one that occurred, there is no risk of safety to ground crew. Due to the lack of control of the grid fins, the booster began the landing burn over water and could not divert towards LZ-1. B1050 managed to regain control and stop the spin mere seconds from landing and achieve a soft, upright landing in the water. The booster tipped over and landed in the water intact and continued to transmit data for hours after landing, with recovery boats sent to retrieve it.[6][7][8][9]

Recovery and possible reuse[edit]

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk said shortly after the launch it could be re-used for future internal SpaceX launches.[10] Subsequent photos taken of the booster revealed severe damage to the interstage section, raising questions as to whether it could be refurbished.[11]

Divers from Logan Diving and Salvage were utilized to secure a tow line to the booster on December 6. One landing leg was removed at sea and recovered by the support vessel. The grid fins and remaining landing legs were tethered to airbags prior to towing. Due to other traffic at the port, the B1050 booster was towed engines-first into Port Canaveral on December 7, 2018 by the Eagle tug, and raised out of the water horizontally.

Past missions[edit]

Flight # Launch date (UTC) Mission # Payload Launch Picture Landing Pictures Launch pad Landing location Notes
1 December 5, 2018 65 CRS-16 CRS-16 Mission (45473446114).jpg B1050 skinny dip.jpg CCAFS SLC-40 Intended landing at a ground pad at LZ-1, instead performed a soft landing in the ocean just offshore. Was the first failed landing intended to land on a ground pad. [3] Upper stage for this mission was the second to use upgraded COPV tanks.

Future launches[edit]

No future flights for B1050 have been confirmed. Should the booster be repaired and assigned to a launch, it will be placed here.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "SpaceX landing mishap won't affect upcoming launches". SpaceNews.com. 2018-12-05. Retrieved 2018-12-06.
  2. ^ a b c d "Falcon 9 successfully lofts CRS-16 Dragon enroute to ISS – Booster spins out but soft lands in water – NASASpaceFlight.com". Retrieved 2018-12-06.
  3. ^ a b Grush, Loren (2018-12-05). "For the first time ever, a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket fails to stick a ground landing". The Verge. Retrieved 2018-12-06.
  4. ^ Krebs, Gunter. "GEDI". Gunter's Space Page. Retrieved August 22, 2018.
  5. ^ Wall, Mike; December 4, Space com Senior Writer; ET, 2018 06:45am. "Moldy Mouse Chow Delays SpaceX Dragon Launch to Space Station". Space.com. Retrieved 2018-12-06.
  6. ^ Elon Musk [@elonmusk] (December 5, 2018). "Grid fin hydraulic pump stalled, so Falcon landed just out to sea. Appears to be undamaged & is transmitting data. Recovery ship dispatched" (Tweet). Retrieved December 5, 2018 – via Twitter.
  7. ^ Elon Musk [@elonmusk] (December 5, 2018). "We may use it for an internal SpaceX mission" (Tweet). Retrieved December 5, 2018 – via Twitter.
  8. ^ O'Callaghan, Jonathan (December 5, 2018). "SpaceX Launches Its 20th Rocket Of The Year, But Doesn't Quite Make The Landing". Forbes. Retrieved December 5, 2018.
  9. ^ Watch This SpaceX Rocket Splash Down During Failed Landing Attempt - By Mike Wall, Space.com | December 5, 2018 05:33pm ET
  10. ^ Musk, Elon (2018-12-05). "We may use it for an internal SpaceX mission". @elonmusk. Retrieved 2018-12-07.
  11. ^ Ralph, Eric (2018-12-07). "SpaceX's first Falcon 9 Block 5 booster casualty battered but still intact in aerial photos". TESLARATI.com. Retrieved 2018-12-07.