• Andrew Tubbiolo

    I’m probably the only person who’s saddened that they painted the booster. I understand that for some reason the rest of the world thinks that corporations should have a more fake and polished public image than the Soviet Union put forward. For some reason it makes investors feel safe with their money? Oh well.

  • Aerospike

    Look again. That booster was definitely not repainted!
    A few small areas look like they’ve got a splash of fresh paint, but most of the body looks way to “used” for a fresh coat of paint.
    I guess they just cleaned off all that soot.

  • Jeff2Space

    From what I heard they pressure washed (most? all?) the stage.

  • Andrew Tubbiolo

    So by Jeff2Space below, was it just pressure washed? It looks to me like a substantial re-paint, however you are right, they did not make it look brand new. But you have to admit it does not look like a booster that has experienced a re-entry. It’s really nothing, just my subjective sense of taste being tickled in the wrong way. I hope one is laid down next to Discovery at Udvar Hazy, but keep that one just as it came down from the sky.

  • Michael Vaicaitis

    The soot would be weathered over time in any case. You could paint it to simulate soot?, or try to varnish over the soot?, or freeze it in carbonite?.

  • Hug Doug

    They washed off some of the soot, but it’s still quite dirty. A few parts were replaced, like the grid fins, but I don’t see anything that was repainted. Maybe the SpaceX logo was?

  • Eric Thiel

    So the rockets land in the Atlantic Ocean, do they ship them back by train or sea?

  • Hug Doug

    Neither. After landing on the ASDS, both boat and rocket return to Port Canaveral where the rocket is offloaded and the legs are removed. The Falcon 9 is then lowered onto a (very large) truck for transportation, it has always been transported by road.

  • Andrew Tubbiolo

    Is that soot or stripped paint? It looked to me to be bare metal with soot. So it’s your understanding that it’s just an upper layer of sooted paint? I admit, that it looks like bare metal to me, so I assumed it was. I’m ready to be wrong.

  • Michael Vaicaitis

    That what Gwynne Shotwell told me recently….when asked about “scorching” of returned stages.

  • Jeff2Space

    Transportation on roads is one reason Falcon 9 is cheaper than the competition. Shipping by barge or by oversized cargo aircraft is more expensive.

  • Hug Doug

    SpaceX paints the bodies of their rockets white. Here’s a production picture, the rectangular building that half the rocket on the right is in is the painting booth, you can make out that it says “Falcon 9 Spray Booth” on it. There are unpainted barrel sections standing upright next to it.


    And some more info here:


  • ThomasLMatula

    I hope they preserve the first booster that landed on the barge. Maybe outside their facility in Florida or Waco? That one is even more historic as it is the only rocket to successful land on a vessel at sea, unless you count some of the tests with the old flying rocket belts.

  • Andrew Tubbiolo

    I don’t understand your point. Were you under the impression that I did not think Space X paints their rockets? I was under the impression, and still am, that a lot of that paint gets thermally stripped off the rocket on reentry.

  • Saturn13

    Perhaps a 30 million $ monument? In the advertising budget? My local science museum had or did have a Titan-2 I think it was. That came from the USAF though. Chop them up or give them away. They must have plenty of money or plenty of used rockets and don’t need this one. I guess I am just a penny pincher. Might make up the cost in orders when somebody sees it. Shrug. Not too much rain there, so it should last awhile. If at the cape it would probably corrode in a hundred years or so. I hope they put it inside before that happens.

  • Hug Doug

    Hmm. I think I have misunderstood your comment. My apologies.

    There are a couple close-up pictures of the stage here:

    In particular, this picture may be of interest:

    And I don’t see anywhere that looks like it has been touched-up, except perhaps the Falcon 9 logo and the US flag. It’s still pretty dang dirty compared to a freshly painted interstage, though.


    Some of the recovered stages definitely do have paint burned off, so you’re right that those would need to be repainted or repaired.


    Aha. Here we go, a post-recovery picture of the Orbcomm OG2 interstage, I think the same side as the picture from the spaceflightnow article:


  • jimmycrackcorn

    Very cool. Blue Origin should do the same thing with their rocket.

    Oh wait, they’ve been flying the same one since last year……

    I keed, I keed…sub orbital, orbital, yadda yadda