SpaceX will conduct its first NASA-ordered mission in 2017, with the company set to launch astronauts from U.S. soil.
If all goes according to plan, SpaceX will land the rocket back on solid ground. In fact, SpaceX is going to attempt such a landing sometime this month.
So far, SpaceX has only managed to land its Falcon 9 rocket, the same one to be used in 2017, on ships out at sea, however, ultimately, the company wants to save even more money by bringing it right back to a land-based spaceport. If the landing is successful, it will be one giant leap toward making the Falcon 9 a reusable rocket, saving millions of dollars.
SpaceX is still working to recover from a Falcon 9 rocket launch failure back in June, and the company is targeting a launch for later this month. This launch will bring 12 Orbcomm OG2 satellites with it, and the launch will be conducted from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.
It was originally expected that the launch would include another attempt at landing the rocket on the autonomous spaceport drone that was deployed into the Atlantic Ocean. However, in February, SpaceX leased a former launch facility at Cape Canaveral to create the first "landing pad" for rockets. If the landing is successful, another landing pad will be built at the Kennedy Space Center.
SpaceX has tried to land its Falcon 9 rocket out at sea twice, however, both attempts so far failed in the last few seconds, with the result being the booster hitting the platform and exploding.
The landing of the Falcon 9 would be a massive first step toward reusable rockets, however, it won't be the first time that a rocket has landed vertically after taking off. Last week, Blue Origin announced that it had landed the New Shepard booster after sending it to sub-orbital space. Despite this, the Falcon 9 landing is a little more complex because the rocket is going much faster and flying at much higher altitudes.
Via: The Verge