Multimillionaire and tech entrepreneur Elon Musk has officially announced that the next SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launch will take place on Dec. 19, carrying 11 Orbcomm satellites, placing the orbiters from the New Jersey-based telecommunications company in Earth's lower orbit. The launch will also test out new technology that will make the reusable two-stage rocket—updated as the Falcon 9 v1.1 Full Thrust—easier to recover.
Musk's space endeavor is coming back full-force after a six-month respite. The business magnate and innovator first broadcast the news via Twitter, stating that the launch is due to take place at Cape Canaveral and will "launch about three days [after the 16th]."
Aiming for Falcon rocket static fire at Cape Canaveral on the 16th and launch about three days later— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) December 10, 2015
The news of the launch comes months after SpaceX's last mission, which ended in disaster after a Falcon 9 exploded right after takeoff, scrapping its mission to deliver supplies to the International Space Station.
The new tech SpaceX will be testing on the Falcon's next launch will allow the launch-lift vehicle to make a full circuit, arriving back at Cape Canaveral on its specified return date, which differs from the norm—rockets are either destroyed or lost, usually at sea, after a typical takeoff.
Notably, SpaceX's announcement comes after its major competitor, Jeff Bezos' Blue Origins, announced that its reusable rocket New Shepard successfully launched and landed after a test mission in November. As Bezos explained, New Shepard "flew a flawless mission—soaring to 329,839 feet and then returning through 199-mph high-altitude crosswinds to make a gentle, controlled landing just four-and-a-half feet from the center of the pad."
The updated Falcon 9 might just have the chops to pull off its own similar success—the Falcon 9 v1.1 Full Thrust update implemented Merlin 1D engines, giving the rocket 30 percent more power than its previous iterations, which give the rocket better precision, even while carrying heavier loads of cargo.
Check out the Falcon 9 in action in the video below.
Via: The Verge