SpaceX to land Falcon 9 on barge?
Blogger Rand Simberg has tweeted that during a conversation he had with Space Exploration Technologies’ (SpaceX ) Chief Operating Officer and President Gwynne Shotwell, that the Hawthorne, California-based company will conduct their next landing attempt on a barge. Unconfirmed reports have it that the next few flights of the uprated Falcon 9 v1.1 would fly without the landing gear that the rocket has used during the April 18 and July 14 2014 flights.
Reports have been presented to SpaceFlight Insider that the next mission that SpaceX flies for NASA under the Commercial Resupply Services (CRS ) program might not include these legs, as well as possibly upcoming missions that the company is conducting on behalf of private firms. The rationale for the lack of this new system on these flights has been suggested to be due to the request of the payload’s customer.
SpaceX has stated that it plans to have the Falcon 9’s first stage conduct a return to the launch site. If the company can get this system to work – it would mean that the cost to launch to orbit would plummet and that the booster cores produced by SpaceX could be reused. Given the prices charged to launch payloads, this could serve to be a game-changer in terms of how missions are conducted.
Jason Rhian spent several years honing his skills with internships at NASA, the National Space Society and other organizations. He has provided content for outlets such as: Aviation Week & Space Technology, Space.com, The Mars Society and Universe Today.