After experiencing a massive setback last June, Elon Musk’s aerospace manufacturing company SpaceX says its plans on relaunching a reconstructed Falcon 9 this December. Though barely six months will have passed since the prior launch’s failures, a SpaceX spokesperson says the company has already completed construction of a new-and-improved rocket — this time outfitted with redesigned support struts capable of withstanding the immense pressure of a launch. If you don’t recall, it was a faulty support strut which led to the untimely demise of the company’s last rocket.
Since the Falcon 9’s fiery failure a few months ago, SpaceX has been hard at work developing and experimenting with new tech that will make potential manned missions safer. In addition to outfitting the new and improved rocket with stronger brackets and struts, the company’s Vice President of Mission and Launch Operations, Lee Rosen, says the upcoming rocket will be the most powerful Falcon 9 ever launched.
“Things are coming along nicely with the upgraded version of the vehicle and we’re prepared to get back at this,” says Rosen. “We believe in the next six to eight weeks we’ll be able to return to flight.”
For December’s launch, SpaceX plans to outfit the Falcon 9 with a communications satellite for Luxembourg’s SES S.A. and also intends to prep the first stage of its rocket for yet another ocean landing attempt. Earlier this year, SpaceX attempted this same feat twice, but failed on both attempts. However, the idea is that if these landings prove successful, the company then has the ability to refurbish and relaunch landed rockets, drastically reducing future launch costs. On this next attempt, the Falcon 9’s upgraded power and fuel capacity will give it an even better shot.
Though whether or not December’s launch will be a success is anybody’s guess at this point, achieving a successful launch is paramount for SpaceX to continue its reign as the world’s premiere private space company. But despite these uncertainties, company executives remain optimistic that the new-and-improved Falcon 9 could be the one that makes history.