Ken King
Elon Musk has done what the superpowers could not. Will be a great day for the human race when the first successful ground landing occurs which appears likely this year.
Bravo SpaceX
Okay, that, that is awesome. Long live Elon Musk.
What is wrong with using parachutes, instead of fuel? I suppose on land, there is a risk of damage, and retrieval at sea is probably expensive.
with parashuted you control the landing i think and As i long as i remember they use parachutes as secondary, in case if powered landing fails.
Bob Shock
My guess is that a parachute big enough to slow the landing is also big enough to blow the rocket off course and/or big enough to tip the rocket over once it lands.
@windykites1 "What is wrong with using parachutes, instead of fuel?" You haven't been following this project or you'd have your answer. Musk has several very long interviews where he addresses that question.
To answer briefly. Parchutes weigh more than the fuel to land, make solid "ground" landing impossible, and water landings make the first stage unusable. Executing a powered landing back at the spaceport will allow the first stage to be refurbished and reused. Reusing the first stage will dramatically improve reliability, safety, and reduce costs. (Long term)
If you need more detail google "SpaceX reusable" and find the videos of his interviews.
The last SpaceX flight was significant in another respect: The second stage engine is restartable in space. This is very, very important when launching multiple satellites into different orbits.
Another issue that is seldom discussed is that the exact first stage, with only slight software modifications, could transport men from orbit to the surface of Mars or the Moon and return them to orbit. This is a major future potential.
The exceptional versatility of the second stage plus the reusability of the first stage is 20-30 years ahead of anything the Russians have and even further ahead of the US United Launch Alliance which depends on Russian rocket engines and Chinese guidance hardware.
This shows how a working capitalist model is compatible with a standard bureaucratic federal model. The federal model is very good at creating basic science and making those first, expensive, major steps. Then capitalism, because of its agility, is very, very good at exploiting that basic science and making it more reliable, safer, and cheaper.
The old NASA motto was "Faster, Better, Cheaper --- Pick Two." The SpaceX motto is "Faster, Better, Cheaper."
Pat Kelley
The big payoff will come from using the Falcon 9 with the Dragon 2 as a "space taxi" to take crews to and from the ISS. Those flights will be able to return both 1st and 2nd stages for reuse, and the Dragon 2 will return under powered landing, all back to ground landing sites. That flight mode will eliminate the extra cost of ocean recovery.
After the ISS missions start, expect to see the Bigelow commercial space station assembled, and flights to and from that habitat with the Dragon 2 carrying space tourists. Bigelow originally priced those tourism flights at $30M, based on using the expendable Atlas V, so using the SpaceX Falcon 9 reusable (which can carry either the Dragon 2, or the Boeing CST-100) should bring the price down, expanding the market.
Great work, SpaceX! Cant wait for the next attempt! @windykites1, as some mentioned parachutes weight more than the fuel that is needed for the final landing burn. You already need some fuel for doing the reentry burn (much more than for the landing burn) and the burn that brings the stage back to the launch site (also much more than for the landing burn). So the only fuel you would safe is for the final landing burn, which is very short and only done by one engine.
Leonard Foster Jr
Hey Musk old oil platforms can be had for cheap?