Next SpaceX Recovery Attempt Feb. 8


SpaceX CEO Elon Musk says his company will try again next month to recover a booster rocket used to launch a space payload. The company will try for a second time Feb. 8 to land a spent booster rocket on a barge in the Atlantic Ocean now that it has figured out the rather pedestrian fix that might have made the first “close but no cigar” attemptsuccessful. Musk released a brief but spectacular video (click through) of the first stage of the Falcon rocket crashing on the deck of the barge earlier this month. It was determined the rocket ran out of hydraulic fluid used to actuate control fins as it approached the barge. Instead of landing softly on the deck, it came down hard at an odd angle and then propelled itself overboard.”Upcoming flight already has 50 percent more hydraulic fluid, so should have plenty of margin for landing attempt,” Musk said in a tweet.

Fireball on the deck of the barge notwithstanding, the first mission was a success. The much-needed supplies on the Dragon capsule made it to the International Space Station without a hitch.The next SpaceX rocket is scheduled to launch Feb. 8 from Cape Canaveral with a satelliteheaded for the neutral gravity point between the sun and Earth, about 930,000 miles up. That will give the satellite a six-month orbit and enable it to take spectral images of the entire sunlit earth. Musk has said in the past he believes recovering the initial stage of the rocket will cut the cost of launches dramatically and make space more accessible.