News / Science & Technology

    SpaceX to Retry Ocean Rocket Landing After Success on Land

    FILE - A long-exposure photograph shows the SpaceX Falcon 9 lifting off (L) from its launch pad and then returning to a landing zone (R) at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, in Cape Canaveral, Florida, Dec. 21, 2015.
    FILE - A long-exposure photograph shows the SpaceX Falcon 9 lifting off (L) from its launch pad and then returning to a landing zone (R) at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, in Cape Canaveral, Florida, Dec. 21, 2015.
    Reuters

    Technology entrepreneur Elon Musk's SpaceX will attempt to land its next Falcon 9 rocket on a barge in the Pacific Ocean, seeking another milestone a month after landing a booster on the ground in a spaceflight first, the company said on Friday.

    The Falcon 9 rocket, carrying a NASA ocean-monitoring satellite, is slated to blast off from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California on Jan. 17.

    About two minutes after liftoff, the first stage of the rocket will separate, flip around, fire engines to slow its fall, deploy landing legs and attempt to touch down on a floating landing pad in the Pacific Ocean.

    SpaceX has tried ocean landings twice without success, but officials are optimistic after the company last month safely returned a Falcon 9 booster to a landing pad at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

    Accomplishing an ocean landing will give the California-based SpaceX flexibility to recover its boosters from a wider variety of space missions. The firm, owned and operated by  Musk, wants to refurbish and refly its rockets, potentially slashing launch costs.

    Similar efforts are underway by fellow tech titan Jeff Bezos' rocket company, Blue Origin, as well as industry stalwart United Launch Alliance, a partnership of Lockheed Martin and Boeing.

    For now, SpaceX is concentrating on reusing just the first stage of its Falcon rockets, which sell for about $61 million, the company's website shows.

    Of that, only about $200,000 is for fuel, Musk said at the American Geophysical Union conference in San Francisco last month.

    "With reusable rockets, we can reduce the cost of access to space by probably two orders of magnitude," or a factor of 100, Musk said at the conference.

    SpaceX eventually wants to return the rocket's second-stage for reuse as well.

    The rocket slated to launch NASA's Jason-3 satellite is an older version of the rocket that flew last month and does not have the power to attempt a touchdown on land, SpaceX said.

    The booster that landed on Dec. 21 will be test-fired in Florida, but probably not reflown, Musk told reporters after the landing. He said the company likely would attempt relaunch of another recovered rocket in 2016.

    SpaceX has more than 60 missions on its schedule, worth about $8 billion.

    You May Like

    Syrian Torture Victim Recounts Horrors

    'You make them think you have surrendered' says Jalal Nofal, a doctor who was jailed and survived repeated interrogations in Syria

    Mandela’s Millions Paid to Heirs, But Who Gets His Country Home?

    Saga around $3 million estate of country's first democratic president is far from over as Winnie Mandela’s fight for home overshadows payouts

    Guess Which Beach is 'Best in the US'?

    Hawaii’s Hanauma Bay tops an annual "top 10" list compiled by a coastal scientist, also known as Doctor Beach

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.
    Video

    Video Meet Your New Co-Worker: The Robot

    Increasing numbers of robots are joining the workforce, as companies scale back and more processes become automated. The latest robots are flexible and collaborative, built to work alongside humans as opposed to replacing them. VOA’s Tina Trinh looks at the next generation of automated employees helping out their human colleagues.
    Video

    Video Wheelchair Technology in Tune With Times

    Technologies for the disabled, including wheelchair technology, are advancing just as quickly as everything else in the digital age. Two new advances in wheelchairs offer improved control and a more comfortable fit. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Baby Boxes Offer Safe Haven for Unwanted Children

    No one knows exactly how many babies are abandoned worldwide each year. The statistic is a difficult one to determine because it is illegal in most places. Therefore unwanted babies are often hidden and left to die. But as Erika Celeste reports from Woodburn, Indiana, a new program hopes to make surrendering infants safer for everyone.
    Video

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Communities in the U.S. often hold festivals to show what makes them special. In California, for example, farmers near Fresno celebrate their figs and those around Gilmore showcase their garlic. Mike O'Sullivan reports that the wine-producing region of Temecula offers local vintages in an annual festival where rides on hot-air balloons add to the excitement.
    Video

    Video US Elementary School Offers Living Science Lessons

    Zero is not a good score on a test at school. But Discovery Elementary is proud of its “net zero” rating. Net zero describes a building in which the amount of energy provided by on-site renewable sources equals the amount of energy the building uses. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, the innovative features in the building turn the school into a teaching tool, where kids can't help but learn about science and sustainability. Faith Lapidus narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora