SpaceX will try 'giant party balloon' to recover upper rocket stages
chinatopwin chinatopwin 2018-04-16 09:39:05
SpaceX ultimately wants to recover every stage of a rocket, not just the first, and it may resort to
some unusual tactics to make that happen. Elon Musk has claimed that his company will try to
take rocket upper stages out of orbital velocity using a "giant party balloon" -- yes, he knows it
sounds "crazy." He hasn't shed more light on the subject as we write this, but we've reached out
to SpaceX to see if it can elaborate.
If such a system works out, it could provide more than a few benefits to SpaceX. As of 2018,
SpaceX estimates a cost of $62 million to launch a Falcon 9 rocket with a first stage landing
factored in. If it can reliably recover the upper stage with a relatively low-cost method like a
balloon, it can both reduce its own expenses and make launches more attractive to customers.
Throw in the eco-friendliness (there's no dead stage plummeting to Earth) and it could easily be
worth attempting to use a balloon, however ludicrous the idea might sound at first blush.