Space Exploration Technologies Corp. (SpaceX), the leading American aerospace manufacturer and space transportation organization founded by Elon Musk, is reportedly working towards advancing its existing pinpoint rocket landings.
Until now, the SpaceX rockets were landed by deploying the landing legs around the rocket and making a soft vertical landing when returning to the Earth. Although these landings are precise, if the reports are to be believed, the company is aiming at superseding this method under which future spacecraft may not sport leg at all.
Clarifying this in a statement, Elon Musk tweeted that SpaceX will try to design the landing of the Super Heavy booster through the launch tower arm, by using the grid fins to take the load. The company is working towards bringing Super Heavy, the giant first stage of the two-stage Starship platform, down directly to the launch stand.
In a recent social media post, Musk highlighted that the rocket is likely to be caught by the tower arm, hinting that the touchdowns will not be as usual. Unlike the Flacon Heavy and Falcon 9, the Super Heavy will not require legs for landing.
Elon Musk further stated that this new strategy will offer multiple benefits, some of which include, saving considerable cost on landing legs, reducing the weight of the ships, and allowing repositioning of booster onto the launch mount.
Both Super Heavy and Starship are likely to be fully reusable, making Mars colonization and other similar exploration plans economically feasible. In the past, SpaceX has designed and flown many Starship prototypes from its South Texas facility. For instance, in December 2020, the SN8 vehicle soared to an altitude of 12.5 kilometers and returned to Earth at the designated spot.
Although the SN8 spaceship landed too fast and later exploded in a massive fireball, Elon Musk declared the trial flight a success.