by Thor Benson
Hawthorne, Calif. (UPI) Nov 22, 2014
On Saturday, Elon Musk announced via Twitter his company SpaceX is testing 'drone ships' and new rocket fins he refers to as 'x-wing config.'
The drone ship is an autonomous landing vessel that will allow rockets to land on a safe platform away from populated areas upon their return from space, according to TechCrunch.
Musk claims the ship can maintain its position within 3 meters (about 10 feet), even during a storm, and he said it covers an area of 300 ft by 100 ft.
The hypersonic grid fins he is testing for his Falcon 9 rocket are to help control the rocket during its reentry from space, and each fin can be operated individually. The fins will collapse for liftoff, as to avoid creating drag. They're called 'x-wing config' for the shape they make jetting out in four separate directions.
Testing operation of hypersonic grid fins (x-wing config) going on next flight pic.twitter.com/O1tMSIXxsT— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 22, 2014
Autonomous spaceport drone ship. Thrusters repurposed from deep sea oil rigs hold position within 3m even in a storm. pic.twitter.com/wJFOnGdt9w— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 22, 2014
Launch Pad at Space-Travel.com
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