SpaceX is working hard to make space missions less expensive. This notably involves being able to recover the rockets …
To be able to lower the bill for aircraft launches in Space , there are several options. One of them is to recover the rockets after their mission is completed. This is the path that SpaceX set out on, and it is doing quite well today. So much so that Elon Musk’s company today dreams of being able to recover the first stage of its future Starship rocket …
SpaceX wants to “catch” the first stage of its Starship rocket
SpaceX might not use “feet” to land its next generation of rockets. Elon Musk revealed on Twitter that his company will attempt to “catch” the Super Heavy first stage of his Starship rocket using the launch tower arm, with the grid fins – which are used to control descent – to manage the load. As TechCrunch explains, this process would aim to immobilize the rocket using the tower arm before it even touches the ground.
before it hits the ground
This requires extremely precise positioning. And there is still a lot of work. The Super Heavy / Starship rocket’s first test flight shouldn’t take place for several months at best. Still, if this method of recovery is successful, it could save SpaceX from having to add massive feet to its rocket. Such a precise maneuvering system could also reduce delays, allowing SpaceX to relaunch the rocket without having to move it to its launch position (since it would already be there).
All of this could be crucial in enabling SpaceX to achieve its goals. Elon Musk, and SpaceX as a whole, dreams of having a more reusable rocket system than what is currently being done with the Falcons. This would allow the Starship rocket to speed up its availability for a whole host of extremely diverse and promising missions, including trips to the Moon and Mars. A booster that needs almost nothing other than a full tank of fuel to take off again would be a huge advantage.
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) December 30, 2020