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Tue, Apr 26, 2016

SpaceX To Push The Envelope With Next Booster Recovery Attempt

Will Be Faster And Have Less Fuel Available On Next Mission

SpaceX will again attempt to recover a booster on its floating recovery barge following a launch currently planned for May 3 from Cape Canaveral.

The next planned mission will deliver a Japanese communications satellite to an orbit some 13,670 miles above the Earth. That means that the Falcon 9 booster will have to fly farther and faster on a more horizontal trajectory than the one which was recovered earlier this month following an ISS resupply mission.

Ars Technica reports that the mission profile will leave the booster with less fuel to slow the rocket's horizontal motion, turn it around, and land it on the barge.

Consistently recovering boosters using the barge is crucial to SpaceX's business plan, as the company says that only about half of its planned missions will carry enough fuel to bring the booster back to a landing on solid ground at the Kennedy Space Center.

Meanwhile, the booster that was recovered following the April 8th launch is being evaluated at a hangar at Cape Canaveral. SpaceX founder Elon Musk said that it will be static fired 10 times, and "if things look good it will be qualified for reuse." Musk said if the qualifications go well, the booster will be reused on an orbital mission "let's say by June."

(Image from file)

FMI: www.spacex.com

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