Elon Musk wants SpaceX to catch rockets returning from outer space rather than have them land
Elon Muskhas revealed a new design for the Super Heavy booster, which won’t have legs like the Falcon 9 rocket.
- Instead, the booster will be caught using a launch tower arm.
- According to Musk, the rocket will save money, trim down on mass and have the rocket ready to relaunch within 60 minutes.
Till now, the return of Falcon 9 boosters involved touching down on a boat or a launchpad using legs that were built into the rocket. The next generation of rockets that SpaceX is working on, the Super Heavy, won’t be landing on their way to Earth.
Instead, Musk wants to set up a launch tower arm to catch the booster.
@ErcXspace We’re going to try to catch the Super Heavy Booster with the launch tower arm, using the grid fins to take the load— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) 1609347688000
The rocket will be ready to relaunch within an hour
Not only will the new design save the company money and trim down on the overall mass of the rocket — it will also allow the rocket to be immediately repositioned onto the launch mount for reuse, according to Musk.
“[The booster will be] ready to refly in under an hour,” he said.
@flcnhvy @ErcXspace Saves mass & cost of legs & enables immediate repositioning of booster on to launch mount — rea… https://t.co/jwDCjArymJ— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) 1609351226000
The Super Heavy launch process will still use the engines to control to slow down the rocket as it gets closer to the planet, but it will use its ‘grid fins’ — on the main body — to correct its orientation on the way down.
The launch tower arm will then ‘catch’ the booster, which basically means that the arm will hock the rocket before it has a chance to touch the ground.
Ever since @elonmusk nonchalantly commented on our booster landing that they would "try to catch the booster with t… https://t.co/4bIqKdbpvu— smallstars (@smvllstvrs) 1609375626000
For Musk, the goal is to have the Starship making regular and frequent flights for orbital missions and even trips to the Moon and Mars.
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