SpaceX is no stranger to near success approaching disappointment, specifically when it comes to landing its reusable Falcon 9 booster engine back on earth after reaching orbital space.
But June’s sudden explosion of a Falcon 9 on its way to the International Space Station — traces of which have been found scattered across the coast of England — isn’t deterring SpaceX from staying the course: The company announced Tuesday its plans to land an eventual launch back at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.
All we know for sure is that SpaceX will lease the Air Force landing site, as the mission hasn’t yet been confirmed by the Federal Aviation Administration, and the company hasn’t yet revealed a date — its website launch calendar hasn’t been updated since June.
What is known, however, is SpaceX’s intent to land the rocket on land, as opposed to an ocean platform.
SpaceX reveals its plans for a new Falcon 9 launch amid the fervor generated by Blue Origin, another aerospace company led by a different multi-billionaire, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos.
Blue Origin successfully landed its New Shepard rocket in a West Texas desert on November 23 after reaching suborbital space. The accomplishment prompted some scrutiny from Elon Musk, who subtweeted Bezos, after the landing stirred up conversation on the internet and television.
Unlike SpaceX, Blue Origin aims to bolster a nascent space tourism industry. Elon Musk has remained less outspoken in that regard, instead devoting SpaceX to secure lucrative government contracts as part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Space Program.
Oh yeah, Musk also wouldn’t mind establishing a colony on Mars, powered by SpaceX rockets.