SpaceX has developed a rocket that it thinks can both travel to space and return to earth in one piece. Typically spaceships have a disposable design. Their launch systems are used to get them off the ground, but then they’re ejected from the craft and never returned.
NASA hasn’t created a reusable craft just yet, but commercial space flight company SpaceX thinks it may have solved the puzzle. The company has updated its Falcon 9 rocket so that it can fly to the international space station, drop off supplies, and then return to earth after it delivers its cargo.
The tiny ship is currently for cargo only but the same design could be implemented for people in the future. Technology Superstar Dave Morin, summarized how it makes its landing while wife Brit pointed out the ship’s “hypersonic grid fins” that are hidden away during launch, but deployed when the craft is attempting to land to stabilize it. The craft is currently being tested with roughly a 50% success rate. SpaceX founder Elon Musk says that they plan to continue to test the craft, with around 12 flights expected to take place over the next year.