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Home / Technology / Elon Musk plans to capture SpaceX’s most powerful rocket instead of landing it

Elon Musk plans to capture SpaceX’s most powerful rocket instead of landing it



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A rendition of Starship and Super Heavy.

SpaceX

One day in the not too distant future, Elon Musk envisions exploding from Earth and sending the next generation of Starships on their way to the moon, Mars or just the other side of the world. Several minutes later, the first stage used for the liftoff takes the road back to the launch tower, where it is “captured”

; by a specially designed arm and prepared for a new launch in one hour.

The SpaceX boss hinted at this plan in a series of tweets on Wednesday.

“We will try to capture the Super Heavy Booster with the launch tower arm, using the lattice 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 which is 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 recording

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

The current SpaceX workhorse, Falcon 9, which was used to launch satellites and missions to the International Space Station, returns to Earth and lands using retractable landing gear. For Super Heavy, which will compete with the largest and most powerful rockets ever built, Musk sees benefits in eliminating these bones.

“Saves mass and cost for legs and enables immediate repositioning of booster on launch assembly – ready to move in under an hour,” he tweeted.

The move redirects the stress from a landing on the grille fins, which is located near the top of the booster and which is mainly used to control the rocket during the flight, and on a kind of device on the launch tower on which the grille fins will rest.

Musk said there is still an option to use legs to land the Super Heavy.

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

When we see all this in action is not clear. SpaceX works with Super Heavy in Texas, but expect several more test flights of solo starship prototypes without the big booster before we see some of these possible innovations in real life.




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