SpaceX’s Final Upgrade to its Falcon 9 Rocket isn’t Quite Final


[H]F Junkie
Apr 25, 2001
Earlier this month SpaceX launched its new Block 5 Falcon 9 and this new rocket is supposed to fly 10 times each with minimal refurb in between. Further, the rocket is supposed to be crew capable, but the recent launch didn't include crucial changes required to gain certification. The back story is that in 2016 a Falcon 9 blew up on the pad and the cause was traced back to the ultra cooled liquid oxygen and the fuel tanks of the rocket. They not only changed fueling procedures, but redesigned the fuel tanks as well. SpaceX is going to have to include the tank fixes and launch with them at least seven times before they get the needed certification. Lets cross our fingers that the fix works and SpaceX begins crew launches to the ISS in the near future.

While the data derived from the May 11 launch will be used to demonstrate the vehicle’s capabilities and safety to NASA, SpaceX will still need to fly the rocket seven more times with the new tanks integrated and in “crew configuration” before the agency will certify it to carry astronauts.
Interesting that NASA is requiring SpaceX to have 7 successful launches of the new tank/rocket combo but was seriously considering making the first launch of SLS manned. Wonder how many SLS launches it will take before NASA grants man rating to the SLS?
When did they put that policy in place? The space shuttle carried a crew for it's 1st flights.

I do think caution is good, don't get me wrong.