An Unusual First Stage Photo

falcon9firststage

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk released this photo yesterday of the first stage of the Falcon 9 rocket that will launch the SpaceX-3 mission to the International Space Station. The unusual feature is the landing legs on the side of the rocket. According to Musk, they are 60 feet in diameter. He said the booster will still land in the ocean, but will attempt what’s known as a soft landing instead of simply plummeting as such stages have done until now. The exception is the space shuttle’s solid rocket boosters which parachuted into the water and were recovered for reuse. Musk has said before that his goal is to bring the spent first stage back to land on land so the booster and its 9 engines can be used again. Musk ended his posts saying the company needs to prove precision control of the stage throughout the deceleration from hypersonic to subsonic speeds.

 

1 thought on “An Unusual First Stage Photo”

  1. Watching the development of SpaceX brings back the same excitement I had as a child watching the Gemini and Apollo programs. I’m excited by their continued successes and look forward to each new development especially recovery and reuse of the first stage.

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