The Falcon 9 rocket used last week to launch the all-civilian Inspiration4 crew into space has returned to a SpaceX hangar at Kennedy Space Center for refurbishment ahead of a future mission.
On Thursday, the 156-foot booster rode SpaceX’s rocket transporter from Port Canaveral through Cape Canaveral Space Force Station and Kennedy Space Center toward Hangar X, the company’s new processing facility a few miles south of NASA’s Vehicle Assembly Building.
SpaceX’s drone ship “Just Read The Instructions” returned the rocket to port Sunday from an offshore landing zone in the Atlantic Ocean northeast of Cape Canaveral. The reusable booster, designated B1062 in SpaceX’s inventory, landed on the football field-sized drone ship less than 10 minutes after liftoff Sept. 15 from Kennedy, while the Falcon 9’s expendable upper stage continued into orbit with the Inspiration4 mission.
The four-person Inspiration4 crew spent three days in orbit on SpaceX’s Crew Dragon Resilience spacecraft before re-entering the atmosphere and safely splashing down in the Atlantic on Sept. 18.
The Inspiration4 mission was the first privately-funded, non-government human spaceflight to low Earth orbit.
SpaceX’s Falcon 9 booster from the Inspiration4 mission stands at Port Canaveral on Sunday after returning from the landing zone in the Atlantic Ocean. Credit: Stephen Clark / Spaceflight Now
The B1062 booster has now flown to space and back three times, with soot and scorch marks blanketing the rocket, which was bright white when it left SpaceX’s factory in California.
The rocket’s previous missions took off in November 2020 and in June of this year, each carrying GPS navigation satellites for the U.S. Space Force.
Its next assignment has not been announced by SpaceX.