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SpaceX Will Try to Land Falcon 9 Rocket on Floating Platform Next Week

spacex-falcon9-rocket

Space.com Senior Writer Mike Wall, reports: SpaceX will apparently attempt something truly epic during next week’s cargo launch to the International Space Station.

During the Dec. 16 launch from Florida’s Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, which will send SpaceX’s robotic Dragon capsule toward the orbiting lab, the California-based company will try to bring the first stage of its Falcon 9 rocket back to Earth for a controlled landing on a floating platform in the Atlantic Ocean.

“There are a lot of launches that will occur over the next year. I think it’s quite likely that [on] one of those flights, we’ll be able to land and refly, so I think we’re quite close.”

— Elon Musk

The bold maneuver marks a big step forward in SpaceX’s development of reusable-rocket technology, which the company’s billionaire founder, Elon Musk, says could eventually cut the cost of spaceflight by a factor of 100 and perhaps make Mars colonization economically feasible. [SpaceX’s Quest For Rocketry’s Holy Grail: Exclusive Video]

A photo of the "autonomous spaceport drone ship" on which SpaceX will attempt  Credit: Elon Musk/SpaceX

A photo of the “autonomous spaceport drone ship” on which SpaceX will attempt
Credit: Elon Musk/SpaceX

Musk shared photos of the Falcon 9 and landing platform via Twitter late last month, ratcheting up interest in the cargo mission, the fifth of 12 unmanned resupply flights SpaceX will make to the space station for NASA under a $1.6 billion contract. Read the rest of this entry »

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