SpaceX is going to change the venue of its landing for the next Falcon 9 rocket. SpaceX will actually land it on sea, not on land.
SpaceX has affirmed the fact that it will attempt a rocket landing from a different place rather than its usual launch pad. The launch is due on 17th January. The Falcon 9 rocket is to take off from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.
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NASA’s Jason-3 Satellite will be on board. The rocket will come back to a drone ship in the ocean rather than a launch pad. If it is a success, it will be the first landing in the settings at sea.
Elon Musk named the drone ship “Just Read the Instructions”. This was a reference to a sci-fi novel by Iain M. Banks. This drone ship was used in the previous SpaceX landings. They occurred in Cape Canaveral. But this time around the venue will be the West Coast.
To land a rocket on a sea platform is very difficult. It is much more complicated than landing the selfsame rocket on a launch pad which is situated on land.
Since the sea is continuously in motion, what you are trying to do is land an unstable rocket on an unstable surface. A lot of things can go wrong since there are so many factors at work.
Seen from a common sense point of view, it would be better for SpaceX to launch and land its rockets on the solid ground instead of on the sea. Not only would it be safer but there would be no hassles involved in the relatively simple maneuver.
The real reason behind this change of venue is that landing the rocket at sea would not risk the lives of so many people. Land is where the population of people is in a concentrated form. The first two landing experiments ended in explosions. So the risk is always there of loss of life of limb.
The fact that an explosion of a rocket occurs close to land makes many people rather insecure, according to TechCrunch. The approval of the authorities is one thing which is a sticking point in the ground landings.
If the landing which is to occur this time around goes successfully than it will be a miracle of sorts. The landing at sea will lend greater agility to SpaceX’s launch missions.
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Later on land missions can also be resumed since nothing is on a permanent basis. Elon Musk has also stated that the re-usage of rockets will not be a practice they will engage in though.