As I mentioned in the very first post on this blog there would be a hint of commercial rocket goodness to be told and this post warrants exactly that.
On Monday (Tuesday for us in NZ) SpaceX are set to launch their Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon capsule for the ISS CRS-6 resupply mission, SpaceX will also be attempting to recover the Falcon 9 booster in a reusability test. Their last attempt to land on their autonomous drone-ship was “Close but no cigar” as quoted by Elon Musk. Below is a Vine of the booster attempting to make it to the drone ship, unfortunately, the hydraulic fluid that is used for the boosters grid fins for added control ran out moments prior to touchdown, hence the dramatic impact. Added reserves have been built in for this next flight.
Ironically at the same time United Launch Alliance will also be announcing the details of its next generation launch vehicle, NGLV, (of course not intentional, as the CRS-6 resupply mission slipped from April 10th), this will take place at the 31st Space Symposium held in Colorado Springs and is scheduled for 4pm EDT or for us in NZ, Tuesday 8am. ULA has been leaking a little bit of detail of this new launch system and there could well be a hint of reusability amongst it, more so the return of the booster engines, public voting has also been taking place on a new rocket name of which will be announced on the new system.
So a very exciting Monday or Tuesday ahead, fingers crossed for SpaceX to fully return a booster and very interested to hear of ULA’s future plans, both of course webcast, so get that dual screen set up and enjoy!
NGLV announcement 4pm EDT (Tue 8am NZT)