SpaceX plans ocean landing attempt following February 24 launch

spacex falcon 9 heavy specs updated falcon9
SpaceX will make its next launch attempt and possible ocean landing on February 24 when it is slated to deploy an SES-9 satellite into orbit. The projected launch was announced by Luxembourg-based satellite operator SES, which is using the deployment to expand its satellite network. SES did not provide a window for launch, reports Ars Technica, but the company did confirm February 25 as a backup date if the weather on February 24 is not favorable.

During the mission, the SpaceX rocket is expected to expand all its available fuel, forcing the rocket to attempt another sea-barge landing instead of returning to its Florida landing site. As part of its return flight, the rocket will land on an autonomous drone ship approximately the size of a football field. The enormous ship can remain stable in rough waters, holding its position within three meters despite the weather conditions. Unlike last month’s Pacific landing, SpaceX plans to land the rocket in the waters off the east coast of the United States.

Elon Musk joins the Hyperloop frenzy as SpaceX moves forward with its own test track

The company has previously attempted to land on an ocean platform, but has yet to nail the return maneuver. The first two attempts resulted in a fiery mess, with the rockets collapsing and exploding immediately after touchdown. The third and most recent landing in January was a near success, but the landing failed at the end after the Falcon 9’s landing legs did not lock following a beautiful touchdown on the platform. “We stuck the landing, and then we unstuck it,” said SpaceX president and chief operating officer Gwynne Shotwell to attendees of a recent Federal Aviation Administration conference.

Despite these setbacks, the company remains committed to becoming the first company ever to complete a successful sea platform landing. If the firm manages this feat, sea landings would provide the company with greater flexibility when planning upcoming launch missions and landing attempts. Following this month’s launch, SpaceX also hopes to increase the frequency of its launches with the goal of sending rockets into orbit every few weeks for the rest of 2016. The company also plans to re-fly a booster rocket that successfully completed an earlier payload delivery mission.

Emerging Tech

Wreckage, reefs, and robots: The high-tech quest to find Amelia Earhart’s plane

Over 80 years ago, American aviation pioneer Amelia Earhart disappeared while trying to fly around the world. Now an autonomous water-based robot could help find some answers. Here's how.

Starman on Tesla Roadster makes first orbit around sun, braces for loneliness

Starman and his Tesla Roadster, sent by SpaceX to outer space last year, have completed their first orbit around the sun. The people on Earth may be able to catch a glimpse of the cherry-red electric vehicle on November 2020.
Emerging Tech

Parker Solar Probe makes a second orbit of the sun, captures solar wind on video

The Parker Solar Probe, launched last year, has completed its second orbit around the sun. To celebrate, the team responsible for the probe has released a video showing solar winds in action.
Emerging Tech

NASA wants to send two more missions to Mars to collect rock samples

With its Mars 2020 mission, NASA hopes to collect samples from the surface of the planet. The challenge is how to get those samples back to Earth. Now, NASA has revealed its plans for two followup missions to Mars.
Emerging Tech

Artificial tree promises to suck up as much air pollution as a small forest

Startup Biomitech has developed an artificial tree that it claims is capable of sucking up as much air pollution as 368 real trees. It could be a game-changer for cities with limited free space.
Emerging Tech

Mars 2020 rover now has a rotating array of drill bits for sampling Martian rock

Most the key components in the Mars 2020 rover are installed and ready to go. The next phase of construction was to install the bit carousel, an important mechanism for the gathering and sorting of samples from the Martian surface.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Racing drones and robotic ping pong trainers

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Emerging Tech

NASA selects landing site candidates for OSIRIS-Rex to sample asteroid Bennu

Last year, the OSIRIS-REx craft arrived at asteroid Bennu, from which it will collect a sample from the asteroid to be brought back to Earth. Now, the NASA team has selected four potential sites to choose from for the sampling mission.
Emerging Tech

Eric Geusz: Apple engineer by day, spaceship designer by night

An Apple software engineer by day, artist Eric Geusz spends his nights drawing everyday household objects as amazing, science fiction-style spaceships. Check out the impressive results.
Emerging Tech

The black hole at the center of our galaxy is flaring and no one knows why

At the heart of our galaxy lies a supermassive black hole, Sagittarius A*. Normally this giant monster is relatively docile, but recently it's been a hotbed of unexpected activity, rapidly glowing 75 times brighter than normal.
Emerging Tech

SpaceIL’s crashed lander may have sent thousands of tardigrades to the moon

When the SpaceIL craft Beresheet crashed into the moon earlier this year, it left more than just an impact mark. Thousands of micro-animals called tardigrades were along for the ride and may have survived the crash.
Emerging Tech

NASA’s satellite projects will study the sun using solar sailing

Small satellites can be used for all sorts of purposes, and NASA has been searching for ideas to push ahead the capabilities of the hardware. The agency has announced two new projects to demonstrate the potential of small satellites.
Emerging Tech

Hubble captures a beautiful cosmic jellyfish made of glowing gas

A new image from Hubble might look like a deep-space jellyfish, but it's not a sign of extraterrestrial life - in fact, it's a planetary nebula called NGC 2022, located in the constellation of Orion (The Hunter).
Emerging Tech

Bernie Sanders calls for a ban on police use of facial recognition

Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Bernie Sanders is calling for a complete ban on the use of facial recognition by law enforcement as part of the new criminal justice reform plan he introduced this weekend.