SpaceX Falcon 9 Will Attempt “Improbable” Landing

Science / Tech

We’re big fans of Elon Musk and SpaceX here at Techaeris.  We’ve followed the progress of their Falcon 9 reusable first stage rocket for quite some time.  From the addition of individually controlled fins to their soft launch in the Atlantic Ocean, the SpaceX Falcon 9 has truly been an engineering marvel.  SpaceX is looking to add another feather to their cap with a landing that they themselves consider improbable:  A precision landing on an unanchored ocean platform.

SpaceX acknowledges that this isn’t going to be easy.  In fact, they’ve only put their probability of success at around 50%.  Undeterred, they realize that even in failure, the data they gather from the attempt will be invaluable for future missions and landing attempts.

The entire source article is a really great read, and I recommend you click over and check it out, but there are a few points that I really like.  When discussing the difficulties in bringing the first stage rocket back down to Earth, SpaceX described it thusly:

…stabilizing the Falcon 9 first stage for reentry is like trying to balance a rubber broomstick on your hand in the middle of a wind storm.

Easy enough!  When does it get challenging?

During previous attempts, we could only expect a landing accuracy of within 10km. For this attempt, we’re targeting a landing accuracy of within 10 meters.

For a completely made up real-world comparison of what they’re attempting – try hitting the bulls eye on a dartboard that’s roughly a mile and half away, with a dart made out of cooked spaghetti, in a wind tunnel.  Yeah, pretty impressive stuff.

Falcon 9 Parking Only - Land Here

Falcon 9 Parking Only – Land Here

A truly reusable rocket has always been a dream, but this is the closest it’s ever come to being a reality.  SpaceX hopes that within the next year, they’ll have a Falcon 9 first stage rocket that can be launched, landed, refueled, and launched again. Truly amazing stuff.  For the complete rundown of what SpaceX will attempt, head to the source link below.

Do you love space?  Want to just nerd-out over SpaceX stuff for awhile?  Go ahead and do that in the comments below, or on Google+, Facebook, or Twitter!

  Source: SpaceX
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