Falcon 9 Second Stage Recovery Requires 'Giant Party Balloon'

OK sure

From anyone else, it would sound ridiculous: Elon Musk says SpaceX is going to try to land a rocket stage with ... wait for it ... a "giant party balloon".

As of 2018, SpaceX estimates a cost of $62 million (£43m) to launch Falcon 9 and $90 million (£63) to launch Falcon Heavy. It demands some of the brightest minds in the field and some hefty funding.

Meteorologists with the US Air Force 45th Space Wing have predicted an 80 percent chance of favourable weather for SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket's launch with NASA's Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite aimed at detecting planets outside our solar system. The upper stage is now the only major component of the rocket that the Hawthorne, California-based aerospace company has not tried to reuse in its pursuit of a fully reusable launch vehicle.

SpaceX may soon attempt upper stage recovery with a "party balloon". SpaceX is reducing that cost by figuring out how to reuse parts of its Falcon 9 rocket.

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Musk shared the plan via Twitter and provided a few added details on how the whole thing will be done.

"This is gonna sound insane, but ..."

While Musk has admitted he knows the plan sounds "crazy", he hasn't shed more light on the subject, only noting that a balloon would drop the stage's ballistic coefficient - the ability to overcome air resistance during flight - and preserve its shape while travelling at different speeds. "We already do targeted retro burn to a specific point in Pacific w no islands or ships, so upper stage doesn't become a dead satellite", Musk said while replying on his original Tweet.

Even Musk, SpaceX's CEO and chief designer, admits it's a pretty wild idea.

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