After 7 successful trips into space, this SpaceX Falcon 9 booster appears to have been through a war, but is back and ready for another shot.

New photos reveal just how absolutely dirty the exterior of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 booster rocket gets after multiple trips into space. The first-stage booster rocket is a trusted member of SpaceX’s fleet, but repeated trips to the edge of space have left it looking a bit worse from wear and tear. When SpaceX overhauls a rocket, it doesn’t necessarily care what it looks like, as long as it’s in perfect working order.

SpaceX’s entire business model is based on the ability to reuse its rocket boosters over and over again. The Falcon 9 rocket’s first-stage booster, which is the part that is equipped with landing legs, has come a long way since the company began testing the platform. Once a massive achievement, SpaceX now regularly launches and lands its rockets with little fanfare, and has gotten so good at it that one of its Falcon 9 boosters recently hit the 10-launch milestone.

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Photographer Trevor Mahlmann he’s no stranger to capturing SpaceX’s high-flying hardware on film. Provide images for Ars Technica, who recently published an article comparing photos of the Falcon 9 core designated B1060 prior to its first launch and prior to its most recent mission. The core looks vibrant and perfect before your first space trip, unsurprisingly, but these days it’s more like a burnt marshmallow.

A hot rocket

What you see covering the spaceship in these images is mostly soot. Launching a rocket requires a large amount of fuel, and that fuel eventually creates clouds of sooty smoke that clings to the outside of the rocket. It may appear that the rocket has literally burned out, but that is not the case. When a Falcon 9 rocket leaves Earth, the first stage booster does not go far enough into space to have to deal with the intense heat generated by impacting Earth’s atmosphere at high speed, as is the case. when a satellite recedes. to Earth and incinerated.

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An interesting thing to note in the “after” image is the clean lines that are drawn along the sides of the rocket. SpaceX reconditions its rockets between uses, and that means it has to check all aspects of the hardware to make sure nothing is broken or imperfect. The stripes that have been cleaned on the core line up with the outer panels of the rocket, suggesting that SpaceX is cleaning them to get a good look at how it’s performing. In this case, the rocket was deemed worthy of another trip to space.

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Fountain: Trevor mahlmann

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