Elon Musk wants SpaceX to catch rockets returning from outer space rather than have them land

Elon Musk wants SpaceX to catch rockets returning from outer space rather than have them land
SpaceX founder and CEO Elon MuskIANS

  • Billionaire Elon Musk has 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.
Billionaire Elon Musk’s space company, SpaceX, has been lauded for its efforts in creating reusable rockets. But Musk wants to take it a step further. He wants to catch boosters returning from outer space rather than have them make a controlled landing.

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.

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.


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.

The goal for Super Heavy and Starship — capable of carrying humans and 100 tons of cargo — is to create a line of launch vehicles that are even more reusable than the Falcon 9.

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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