They name launches, usually after the payload, or just launch number, like "Falcon 9 flight 20, also known as Orbcomm OG2 M2"

They named their drone ships some very fancy names.

Still, are there some kind of identifiers, or other names, that are assigned to individual rockets/boosters? Since they are reusable, the individual launch identifier doesn't apply quite the same as in the case of non-reusable rockets.


As of the 38th launch, they do not name boosters cores, but they started numbering the cores, and printing that number just around where the legs attach at the base of the booster core.

The cores have serial numbers, four digits, so the first reflown booster was 1021 used on CRS-8 then SES-10. The Bulgariasat booster set to be reflown was first flown as Iridium-1 and is serial number 1029. 1026 is the Thaicomm-8 mission booster and is being used as a Falcon Heavy side core.

The first reused Dragon (CRS-11 after flying CRS-4) had an ISS 'kill' logo painted on it. (Much as fighter jets will have logos of various kills marked under the cockpit).

As of this writing only one core has reflown, second due in 10 days, and no signs of "kill" markings from previous flights on cores, yet.

A neat infographic of launches trying to visually capture as much info as possible is nice to add in here as well.

Infographic of SpaceX Launches

  • $\begingroup$ Maybe "mission markings" would be a better term than "kill markings". $\endgroup$ – Fred Larson Jun 9 '17 at 16:39
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    $\begingroup$ @FredLarson "Kill marking" is a recognized term. "Mission marking" is not. Yes, in this instance it doesn't actually indicate a "kill", but it is important to communicate what type of marking this is. $\endgroup$ – called2voyage Jun 9 '17 at 17:11
  • $\begingroup$ Actually, I think "mission marking" is quite common. For example, see history.blogs.delaware.gov/2015/09/03/… $\endgroup$ – Fred Larson Jun 9 '17 at 17:37
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    $\begingroup$ Ok, I could live with mission marking, but the ASDS needs a kill marking for each booster it shot down on landing attempts. :) That would be kind cool. $\endgroup$ – geoffc Jun 9 '17 at 17:38
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    $\begingroup$ @called2voyage Isn't it almost exactly the opposite, that a specific attribute of mission success was specifically not to kill the ISS? Maybe the are didn't-kill markings... $\endgroup$ – user20008 Jun 9 '17 at 20:20

Wikipedia has "construction numbers" for most of the F9 boosters since they started using the "Full Thrust" variant -- the model that's been pulling off successful landings. Given that the first to successfully land was numbered B1019 and was the 20th F9 launched, one could extrapolate backwards and theorize that the earlier ones were B1000 - B1018.


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