Sunday, April 10, 2016

The Dragon Has Landed

Not quite.

On 8 April the first stage of the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket that had sent a payload to the ISS made a maneuver and managed to land vertically on a floating platform in the Atlantic. This makes it probably the most reusable rocket ever built.

Vertical takeoff, vertical landing rockets are literally the stuff of science fiction. This is how rockets in all the old books and movies (before the days of FTL and starships) used to operate. All you need to do is make this a nuclear thermal rocket and you have Buck Rogers. You have a single stage to orbit vehicle that can get men to the Moon and back.

In light of my previous pronouncements about the abysmal future of manned space flight, I have to say I am most pleasantly surprised.