Thursday, September 29, 2011

Elon Musk Proposes Fully Reusable Launch Vehicle

A SpaceX concept of how their reusable first stage would land. Image source: SpaceX.

SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk spoke today at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. to discuss his proposal for a fully reusable launch vehicle (RLV).

Click here to read the National Press Club event announcement.

Click here to watch the C-SPAN video of Musk's presentation.

Click here to watch a SpaceX computer animation illustrating their reusable launch vehicle. The animation shows the vehicle launching and landing at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

Marcia Smith of reported on the event.

During a speech at the National Press Club today, SpaceX founder, Chief Executive Officer and Chief Technology Officer Elon Musk made what he called an "exciting" announcement - SpaceX will develop a fully reusable space transportation system.

Perhaps more exciting, and a bit surprising in that venue, was his extended discussion of why humanity should become a multi-planet species. Since Mars is the closest comparatively habitable planet, that's where he wants to send people.

While I appreciate Mr. Musk's enthusiasm for space exploration, I do wish he'd spend more time accelerating their launch schedule. Musk has announced this year both the Falcon Heavy and now a reusable Falcon 9. But he hasn't launched a vehicle since last December, and that was a two-orbit test of the Dragon capsule. Skeptics would have more faith in Musk if he'd launch more often.

UPDATE September 30, 2011Florida Today reports on Musk's RLV proposal:

“We have a design that on paper, doing the calculations, doing the simulations, it does work,” Elon Musk, CEO of California-based SpaceX told reporters at the National Press Club on Thursday. “And now we need to make sure that those simulations and reality agree because generally when they don’t, reality wins.”

The CGI animation is now on YouTube. Click the arrow to watch:

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