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Elon Musk plans to catch SpaceX’s most powerful rocket rather than land it


A rendering of #Starship and #Super #Heavy.

#SpaceX

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#One day in the not-too-distant future, #Elon #Musk envisions blasting off from #Earth and sending his next-generation #Starship on its way to the moon, #Mars or just the other side of the world. #Several minutes later, the first stage booster used for liftoff makes its way back to the launch tower, where it is “caught” by a specially designed arm and readied for another launch in as soon as an hour.

The #SpaceX chief hinted at this plan in a series of tweets #Wednesday.

“#We’re going to try to catch the #Super #Heavy #Booster with the launch tower arm, using the grid fins to take the load,” he wrote in response to another #Twitter user.

#Super #Heavy is the next-generation booster designed to be paired with the #SpaceX #Starship now under development at the company’s facility in #Texas. #You may have seen the first successful high-altitude test flight of an early #Starship prototype earlier this month, which ended with a big bang of a hard landing.

A #Starship prototype comes in for an explosive landing.

#SpaceX video capture

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#Musk’s vision is that #Starship will eventually carry up to 100 passengers out into the solar system and on super quick transcontinental flights via space.

The current #SpaceX workhorse rocket, the #Falcon 9 used to launch satellites and missions to the #International #Space #Station, returns to #Earth and lands using retractable landing legs. #For #Super #Heavy, which will rival the largest and most powerful rockets ever built, #Musk sees advantages in eliminating those legs.

“#Saves mass & cost of legs & enables immediate repositioning of booster on to launch mount — ready to refly in under an hour,” he tweeted.

The move redirects the stress of a landing onto the grid fins, which are located near the top of the booster and are essentially used to steer the rocket during flight, and onto some sort of apparatus on the launch tower that the grid fins will come to rest on.

#Musk said using legs to land #Super #Heavy is still an option as well.

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“#Legs would certainly work, but best part is no part, best step is no step,” he wrote.

#When we will see all of this in action isn’t clear. #SpaceX is working on #Super #Heavy in #Texas, but expect several more test flights of solo #Starship prototypes without the big booster before we see any of these possible innovations in real life.





[ source link ]
https://www.cnet.com/news/elon-musk-plans-to-catch-spacexs-most-powerful-rocket-rather-than-land-it/

##Elon ##Musk #plans #catch ##SpaceXs #powerful #rocket #land

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