Officials from NASA stated that SpaceX will try to land its rocket on solid ground. At an event held for the media at the Kennedy Space Center, that shown NASA’s actions to promote commercial space efforts, information that they plan to land their Falcon 9 rocket first stage back will be at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.
If the landing will be a success, the recovered first stage will be used as a test for integration and validation at Launch Complex-39A, NASA’s Launchpad. Also, this recovery will be an important change for the service provider as costs for launching will be significantly reduced, engines and other vital components being reused.
After the launch in mid-December, SpaceX will try to land its rocket on solid ground, even though it is still recovering from their Falcon 9 rocket launch failure in June. That launch was also meant to include the rocket landing on an autonomous spaceport drone ship, an ocean floating platform. The company previously attempted twice this type of landing but resulted in explosion.
It is said that SpaceX plans to land its rocket on a landing pad come after their rival, Blue Origin, owned by Jeff Bezos successfully landed his reusable rocket back on Earth. The difference between their rocket and Falcon 9 though, is that Blue Origin’s rocket is suborbital whereas Falcon 9 is meant to carry passengers and payload to the orbit.
SpaceX signed a lease with NASA for LC-39A in April 2014 to use it for their launch of their rockets, Falcon Heavy and Falcon 9 in order to carry astronauts to International Space Station.
The changes that SpaceX will be done to the Launching platform were also announced. The hired a subcontractor that will help remove the RSS (Rotating Service Structure) starting January. Although the company is responsible for the removal, it has been agreed that the structure is still the NASA’s property. After the removal, the historical parts will be moved near the Kennedy Space Center, on an open field outside the Visitor Complex.
The RSS structure is scheduled to be moved during this summer, according to Carol Scott, a representative of the Technical Integration team. The works to remove the structure, that appear to have started it will not interfere with SpaceX operations.
Although Elon Musk, the CEO of SpaceX mentioned on Twitter that he thinks about ground landing, the company has yet to confirm the information.
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