SpaceX’s most ambitious rocket launch is set for tomorrow. Usually, sending cargo to the International Space Station is a big deal. But, Elon Musk’s company has something even bigger up its sleeve tomorrow. Landing the first stage of its Falcon 9 rocket on a floating platform in the Atlantic Ocean.
‘X’ will mark the spot for tomorrow’s landing. Check out the platform the rocket will attempt to land on tomorrow.
SpaceX has its work cut out for them. The company acknowledges how hard this first test is and says, “the odds of success are not great – perhaps 50% at best.” The Falcon 9 has executed two soft water landings in the past. Check out video of one of them below.
But, landing on an ocean platform adds a whole new difficulty. The platform is unanchored, but does have thrusters to hold it in position.
You might be wondering how the rocket comes down in the right orientation. Hypersonic grid fins control the rocket’s orientation as it descends. Here’s a close-up of one of the fins.
And, a video showing the fins in action.
Want to catch the potential historic launch? You’ll need to set your alarm clock a bit earlier than usual. Liftoff is set for 6:20 a.m. EST. Air Force meteorologists put the weather forecast at 70% ‘go.’ Thick cloud cover is the main concern heading into tomorrow’s launch.
Even if tomorrow’s rocket landing isn’t a success, the data gathered will be crucial for future tests. I’m crossing my fingers for a successful landing.
I’ll update this post if anything changes for tomorrow’s launch.
What do you think? Can SpaceX do what no one else ever has? On their first try?
Image credits: SpaceX