AI News, SpaceX Drone Platform Landing Scrubbed

SpaceX Drone Platform Landing Scrubbed

Update, 12 February: The Falcon 9 rocket’sfirst stage pulled off a nice water splashdowndespite the rough weather.“Rocket soft landed in the ocean within 10m of target

Originally, the Falcon 9 rocket’s first stage would have tried for a pinpoint landing on the drone ship using rocket burns, guidance fins and four landing legs.But the extreme weather, coupled with just three of the drone ship’s four engines working, made that scenario impossible.The backup plan for the test of the Falcon 9 rocket’s return to Earth involved trying for a “soft landing” in rough seas, according to a SpaceX announcement—an action with very little probability of survival for the rocket.

The 14-story tall rocket stage uses hypersonic grid fins and three rocket burns to stabilize itself as it reenters the Earth’s atmosphere—a process that SpaceXhas described as “trying to balance a rubber broomstick on your hand in the middle of a wind storm.”If all goes well, the rocket stage uses four landing legsto touch down upon the drone ship that serves as SpaceX’soceangoing landing pad.

For instance, a$65million Falcon 9launchtranslates into roughly $2,240 per pound of payload for launches to low Earth orbit.A 100-fold drop in cost could mean Falcon 9 delivering payloads to low Earth orbit at a cost of just $22 per pound.

(SpaceX’s even bigger Falcon Heavy rocket could theoretically drop the cost to just $10 per pound with a high enough flight rate, according to Popular Mechanics.) Cheaper space launchescould pave the way for much cheaper space missions supporting Earth-centric projects such as SpaceX’s plans to provide global Internet access through a network of satellites.

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