In March 2014, Space Exploration Technologies Corporation (SpaceX) is going to test out their new reusable rocket with landing legs this time. The SpaceX Dragon capsule is going to send supplies to the International Space Station (ISS) with the landing legs. The four landing legs are 60 feet across and made of carbon fiber with aluminum honeycomb, They will be placed on the Falcon 9 to test if the rocket can make a controlled soft landing in the ocean after the first-stage fuel is spent.
The flight is scheduled on March 16, 2014 from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida at 4:41PM EST from Space Launch Complex 40 (SLC-40). The hover legs are currently being tested on the Grasshopper rocket near McGregor, Texas.
The tests were completed in late 2013 and they successfully showed that hover legs can land a rocket from an altitude of 744 meters (around half a mile). SpaceX wants to test this out on an operational flight now, but they are confident that the first landing test will not be successful.
?Given all the things that would have to go right, the probability of recovering the first stage is low … but we?re getting closer,? stated SpaceX spokesperson Emily Shanklin.
SpaceX is going to test out ocean landings until the process is perfected and will attempt to land the rocket at the launch site after that.