SpaceX will build its massive interplanetary rocket in Los Angeles
Apr 18 2018
Elon Musk though wants to put it to use in earnest as an ideal method of landing his company's Falcon 9 rockets.
SpaceX, based in the Los Angeles suburb of Hawthorne, already uses the Port of Los Angeles for missions that recover Falcon 9 first-stage boosters on a floating platform in the Pacific and when it recovers supply capsules that parachute into the ocean after missions to the worldwide space station.
During its first Falcon Heavy launch in February 2018, the firm landed two of the firms side boosters simultaneously on separate launchpads. Yet the tweet from Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX, said it all. There were widespread reports that the company was looking to drastically expand its operations at the location.
The TESS mission has opportunities to launch through April 26 (except April 22) before NASA's Launch Services Program, based at Kennedy Space Center, would shift its focus to a planned May 5 launch of the InSight Mars lander from California on a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket.
"The only way we're going to be exploring the solar system and being able to return - going to other planets and being able to return - is if these systems are reusable", Shotwell said. The vessel is a key component in the company's plans to colonize Mars.
These unsustainable rocket costs contributed to why NASA stopped sending astronauts to the moon in 1972, three years after Neil Armstrong first set foot on the chalky, lunar surface.
SpaceX is apparently working on a unique method to recover the upper stage of a rocket after it has delivered its payload to orbit. If you can ignore the silly "party balloon" reference, this might be a realistic goal.
But for those that choose to journey to those desolate, freezing, inhospitable worlds, there may be comfort in knowing there's a way back home.
"We already do targeted retro burn to a specific point in Pacific [with] no islands or ships, so [the] upper stage doesn't become a dead satellite", Musk wrote on Twitter.