SpaceX moving quickly towards fly-back first stage
March 28 2013 06:03:11 PM |
During the NASA/SpaceX teleconference on the CRS-2 mission, Elon Musk confirmed the rumors that they will do a propulsive return test on the upcoming flight of the new Falcon V1.1. He expanded on this to say they will continue doing such tests until they can do a return to the launch site and a powered landing.
For the upcoming flight, after stage separation the first stage booster will do a burn to slow it down and then a second burn just before it reaches the water.
In subsequent flights they will continue these over-water tests. He repeatedly emphasized that he expects several failures before they learn how to do it right.
If all goes well with the over-water tests, they will fly back to launch site and land propulsively. He expects this could happen by mid-2014. Since they don't know how many tests they will need, they don't know exactly which flight this would be.
This is a very accelerated schedule from what most people expected. If they succeed at flying back and landing the first stage, that would be a real revolution in space transport.
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