California, USA (CWBN)_ SpaceX CEO Elon Musk says the Starship’s Super Heavy boosters could completely abandon landings, focusing instead on a crazy crane-based approach to recover it post use. This feat would be accomplished using the launch tower arm, which is currently used only to steady the spacecraft during its pre-take-off arrangements. In the current flow, the Flacon 9 boosters land on their built-in legs upon arrival. However, this is not the goal for the Super Heavy, which is a larger rocket. Musk says that this larger rocket will forgo having any legs at all.
During its descent process, the Super Heavy will utilize its engines, as usual, to make adjustments to its velocity. However, during the landing process, the newly added grid fins on the rocket’s body will help correct the orientation during flight to catch the booster by pretty much hooking itself on to the launch tower arm before hitting the surface of the Earth. This will undoubtedly increase the precision positioning required; however, this would also mean that the rocket would see to gain from the reduced weight of the legs and production costs. According to Musk, another advantage this system could provide is that it could be recycled in “under an hour” immediately after initial use for another to fly again for another spacecraft.
Starship and Super Heavy’s target is to create a launch vehicle that is far more reusable than the existing Falcon 9 (and Falcon Heavy) device in SpaceX. Musk intends to use Starship to perform routine and frequent flights on Earth for point-to-point flights, space missions closer to Earth, and long-distance flights to the Moon and Mars.
Starship concepts are currently being built and tested in Boca Chica, Texas, where SpaceX has flown pre-production rockets during the last year.