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SpaceX by the end of 2020, made it very clear that they have solved the first stage reflight problem. Two cores have flown 7 times. Several are over 4 flights. At the beginning of 2021 they have about 8 active flown cores.

Thus the question I am trying to ask revolves around the ordering of reuse of cores. Are they simply using the cores in order as they finish refurbishment?

Obviously this is a bit tricky, as some customers require (demand?) a new core for missions, so every so often a new core is introduced into the fleet. Every so often a core is lost on landing (twice in 2020 I believe).

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Collecting the core list from 2019-Jan 2021, we get 38 flights. Eight new cores are introduced (Ignoring Heavy launches) and three cores are lost/expended.

  • Jan 2019 - 1049.2
  • Feb 2019 - 1048.3
  • Mar 2019 - 1051.1 (new core)
  • May 2019 - 1056.1 (new core)
  • May 2019 - 1049.3
  • Jun 2019 - 1051.2
  • Jul 2019 - 1056.2
  • Aug 2019 - 1047.3 - lost
  • Nov 2019 - 1048.4
  • Dec 2019 - 1059.1 (new core)
  • Dec 2019 - 1056.3
  • Jan 2020 - 1049.4
  • Jan 2020 - 1046.4 - lost
  • Jan 2020 - 1051.3
  • Feb 2020 - 1056.4 - lost
  • Mar 2020 - 1059.2
  • Mar 2020 - 1048.5
  • Apr 2020 - 1051.4
  • May 2020 - 1058.1 (new core)
  • Jun 2020 - 1049.5
  • Jun 2020 - 1059.3
  • Jun 2020 - 1060.1 (new core)
  • Jul 2020 - 1058.2
  • Aug 2020 - 1051.5
  • Aug 2020 - 1049.6
  • Aug 2020 - 1059.4
  • Sep 2020 - 1060.2
  • Oct 2020 - 1058.3
  • Oct 2020 - 1051.6
  • Oct 2020 - 1060.3
  • Nov 2020 - 1062.1 (new core)
  • Nov 2020 - 1061.1 (new core)
  • Nov 2020 - 1063.1 (new core)
  • Nov 2020 - 1049.7
  • Dec 2020 - 1058.4
  • Dec 2020 - 1051.7
  • Dec 2020 - 1059.4
  • Jan 2021 - 1060.4

It looks like the pattern is to basically use them in order for the most part, as new cores come in and old cores are lost. It is not a perfect order as there are exceptions.

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    $\begingroup$ We can expect some further irregularities this year, as it is believed that B1063 will stay at VAFB and fly all of the missions there instead of getting trucked back and forth across the US. Also, while NASA, NRO, DoD, and USSF seem to be getting comfortable with flight-proven boosters, they prefer to have dedicated ones, i.e. the same one they already inspected every time. Especially for the crewed missions. Crew-2 will launch on B1061 like Crew-1 did, and nothing else will launch on that booster in between. If I had to guess, Crew-3 will use the same booster again. $\endgroup$ – Jörg W Mittag Jan 10 at 17:37
  • $\begingroup$ Another source of reordering could be that SpaceX seems to be reserving the fleet leaders for internal launches. I.e. the first 5 times they flew a booster for a 4th time were 4 Starlink missions and the Crew Dragon In-Flight Abort Test, the first 3 5th flights, both 6th flights and the first 7th flight were Starlink missions. The second 7th flight was SXM-7 which is a bit of an outlier, but probably caused by the fact that SiriusXM is practically broke. The first 8th flight will be Transporter-1, which is technically not an internal mission but a smallsat ride share. $\endgroup$ – Jörg W Mittag Jan 10 at 21:34

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