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Singed and sooty, SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket still looked brilliant Monday

SpaceX launched the same Falcon 9 rocket first leg for the third time on Monday. SpaceX Clear skies at Vandenberg…

A first stage of the Falcon 9 rocket flew into space for the third time on Monday and rare clear clouds at the Vandenberg Air Force Base in California gave a nice view of the booster.

This marked the first time an orbital racket had ever pulled vertically and landed vertically, for a third time. In addition, with this 32nd landing in the first place, SpaceX has now landed half of the Falcon 9 rockets ever launched. Soon, the company delivers its promise of reusable spacecraft with its new Block 5 variant of the Falcon 9 rocket.

The burned nature of the first phase is striking in the pictures above, all the more because of the clean black interstage, which contrasts with the untouched white top scene and payload on top of the rocket. SpaceX has given up laundry or re-painting of its first rockets between flights, as it sees such cosmetic changes as an unnecessary expense of time and cost. (Gritty rocket also reinforces the idea that SpaceX is a company that gets things to do in launch).

Despite its appearance, the black interstage area is a composite structure that connects the first and second steps and holds the mechanism that releases and separates the two steps safely – is not painted. Rather, a new, proprietary heat-resistant coating covers the interstage, and it requires no color. This black material gives a contrast between the two steps and reminiscent of the appearance of the company’s first rocket, Falcon 1.

“Of course, aesthetics are a minor factor in rocket design,” said space magician Elon Musk in May during the virgin launch of the Block 5 variant of the Falcon 9 rocket. “But I still think we’ve returned for nostalgic reasons to have a black interstage.”

We also do.

Listing image by SpaceX

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