Elon Musk's latest SpaceX idea involves a party balloon and bounce house

Mindy Sparks
April 16, 2018

This morning, SpaceX launches a Falcon 9 rocket carrying NASA's most powerful telescope (for science - but also to find aliens).

Falcon 9 first stages perform engine maneuvers in space that send them back to Earth, where they can land on an offshore drone ship or landing pads near their launch sites.

That's right. Forget the extra mass for a heat shield and engines, just use a giant balloon to slowly drop the second stage back down to Earth! SpaceX will try to bring rocket upper stage back from orbital velocity using a giant party balloon, "Musk wrote in a series of Twitter posts Sunday (April 15)".

Now, if the company manages to take control of the upper stages with something as cost-effective as a balloon, it would be a major advantage in the business, especially with massive interplanetary missions lined up for the future, Engadget reported.

To date, SpaceX has successfully landed Falcon 9 first stages 23 times and re-flown 11 of them.

If anyone else proposed this idea they would be ignored, but Elon Musk lately has a way of turning insane ideas into reality.

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. It's much more hard to recover the second stage due to the heat shield, landing engines, and other equipment required to achieve it. "Need to retarget closer to shore & position catcher ship like Mr Steven". For now, other details on the move remain unclear, including when it might be executed.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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