Next Falcon 9 Rocket to Attempt Water Landing

by
in space on (#3EN)
story imageThe wonderful nasaspaceflight.com reports that the next flight of the Falcon 9 rocket will attempt a soft water landing. The goal is to test the newly installed legs and confirm that the rocket can touch down in a controlled manner before future attempts at a landing on solid ground. The flights main mission is to resupply the ISS using the Dragon spacecraft. If all goes according to schedule, which it rarely does in the launch industry, liftoff will happen on March 16th.

Re: Reusability is really, really hard. (Score: 2, Informative)

by foobarbazbot@pipedot.org on 2014-02-22 05:42 (#4F)

At this point, they're going for landing the 1st stage, with an eye to eventually reusing it. Full reusability (i.e. including the 2nd stage), probably is waiting till the next generation.

Of course it's all a bit experimental at this point -- nobody's ever soft-landed their heavy-lift liquid-fuel boosters (though the SSMEs are close, in a way), so what sort of damage they receive and what economical refurbishing practices will look like is not really known... depending on how many (and which) components turn out to be cheaper to replace every flight than to overbuild and maintain for repeated uses, "full" reuse may never happen.
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