After all, SpaceX may have made landing a rocket on an oceangoing, remote-controlled ships seem routine - the failed attempt to land Falcon Heavy's main booster was the first unsuccessful landing in about 19 months - but it's still a big, fiery rocket landing on a floating platform.
Once A Shortfall of Gravitas joins Of Course I Still Love You, SpaceX can handle increased launch operations efficiently and can also land as many boosters as possible so as to make rocket launch cheaper. For that, it is building a new drone ship that will join two other SpaceX drone ships now floating on the Space Coast. That honor goes to the two oceangoing drone ships on which spent rockets come in to land, and Musk revealed Monday that a third is on the way. The SpaceX founder and CEO took to the social networking site to answer questions and discuss his latest feat, the launch of the Falcon Heavy, and ended up promising to eat his hat.
SpaceX's first Falcon Heavy rocket soars into space on February 6, 2018 after a successful debut launch from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida. "Not enough ignition fluid to light the outer two engines after several three engine relights", Musk explains. "Fix is pretty obvious". This ship will be called "A Shortfall of Gravitas". All the three drone ships are named after the spacecraft that featured in Scottish author Iain M. Banks' Culture novels.
In the meantime, SpaceX still has a full slate of Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy launches on tap in 2018. Musk's auto company went up against not just traditional vehicle companies but also Big Oil, forcing the entire industry to dramatically accelerate plans to adopt electric cars.
The 1.37 minute clip not only captures a picture-perfect launch of the world's most powerful rocket, but also the recovery of two side boosters in a simultaneous, controlled landing. It will use a Falcon 9 rocket to launch the Paz Earth monitoring satellite into orbit for Spain.
The success gives SpaceX momentum to begin developing even larger rockets, which could help fulfill Musk's dream of sending people to Mars.
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