Elon Musk recently tweeted, “This is gonna sound crazy, but…” which created quite a stir. You know something weird is about to follow a message like that, especially when it comes from the guy behind Tesla and SpaceX. Keep in the mind the latter just sent a sports car into outer space.
He followed it up with, “SpaceX will try to bring rocket upper stage back from orbital velocity using a giant party balloon. And then land on a bouncy house.” Of course the second half is a joke, and a funny one at that, but experts are now analyzing the first part.
The idea is to recover every part of the rocket following a launch. Seeing as this isn’t an easy task, it will definitely take some creativity to accomplish, and Musk knows it. To take the upper stages of the rocket out of orbital velocity would greatly benefit Space X. The company currently estimates a cost of $62 million to launch the Falcon 9 rocket. And this includes a first stage landing. Recovering every part of the rocket is appealing because it would be cheaper and therefore more attractive to customers. It would also be eco-friendly, eliminating the addition of discarded rocket parts plummeting to earth.
One Twitter user respond with, “I’m not sure using helium will help it stay up in space though,” leading Musk to clarify, “Yeah, but great for creating a giant object that retains its shape across all Mach regimes & drops ballistic coefficient by 2 orders of magnitude.” The image has lead a lot of people to reference Pixar’s Up for obvious reasons. See why below...