Spaceflight Insider

Booster B1051 in port following Starlink-6 flight

Falcon 9 first stage booster B1051 returned to the Florida coast on April 26, 2020, following the Starlink-6 launch and being recovered aboard ‘Of Course I Still Love You”. Credit: Theresa Cross

Booster B1051.4 returned to Port Canaveral on April 26, sailing into port slightly delayed relative to previous returns but looking good on the deck of the autonomous drone ship, Of Course I Still Love You (OCISLY). In addition to recovering the Falcon 9 first stage, SpaceX also retrieved both sides of the fairing used for Starlink-6, arriving in port earlier aboard GO Ms. Tree and GO Ms. Chief (or, as some affectionately call them, Mystery and Mischief). Starlink-6 was the fourth mission for this first stage, launching at 3:30pm EDT on April 22.

GO Ms. Tree can be seen in the background as spectator boats navigate the waters of Port Canaveral, during the April 26, 2020 return of Falcon 9 booster B1051. Credit: Theresa Cross, SpaceFlight Insider

The first mission for B1051 was to loft an unmanned Crew Dragon (one of two variants of the Dragon 2 spacecraft) for that vehicle’s first demonstration flight (Demo-1), on March 5, 2019. That test flight demonstrated the spacecraft’s ability to both carry a crew safely to orbit and return them to earth, completing mission specific directives for the Commercial Crew Development Program developed by NASA.  Following the successful test of the Crew Dragon’s integrated launch abort system on January 19, 2020, Demo-2 (DM-2) has now been scheduled to fly on May 27, 2020. This will be the first commercial spacecraft to carry humans to the International Space Station (ISS), and will also be the first launch of American astronauts from American soil since STS-135, the last shuttle mission, in July 2011.

MDA, a Maxar company contracted with SpaceX to launch the Canadian Space Agency’s RADARSAT Constellation Mission on June 12, 2019, which became B1051’s second mission, this time taking flight from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. B1051 landed at SpaceX’s Landing Zone 4, just a short distance away from the launch pad SLC-4E – it was the second Falcon 9 landing at the coastal California site.

Starlink-3 was the third mission for B1051, launching from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida on January 29 of this year. As is standard for all Starlink launches going forward, Starlink-3 saw 60 additional Starlink satellites get deployed into lower earth orbit, with booster B1051 being successfully recovered aboard OCISLY.

60 satellites launched atop a Falcon 9 rocket, the fourth batch for SpaceX's Starlink broadband network. Mission designated Starlink3. Booster 1051.3 completes its third mission and now has launched from all SpaceX pads. Image Credit: Theresa Cross / SpaceFlight Insider

60 satellites were launched atop Falcon 9 booster B1051.3 in January 2020, during SpaceX’s Starlink-3 mission. Of interesting note, Booster 1051 has launched from all 3 current SpaceX launch pads. Credit: Theresa Cross / SpaceFlight Insider


Theresa Cross grew up on the Space Coast. It’s only natural that she would develop a passion for anything “Space” and its exploration. During these formative years, she also discovered that she possessed a talent and love for defining the unique quirks and intricacies that exist in mankind, nature, and machines. Hailing from a family of photographers—including her father and her son, Theresa herself started documenting her world through pictures at a very early age. As an adult, she now exhibits an innate photographic ability to combine what appeals to her heart and her love of technology to deliver a diversified approach to her work and artistic presentations. Theresa has a background in water chemistry, fluid dynamics, and industrial utility.

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