Space Exploration Technologies CEO Elon Musk wants to send rockets to Mars, but first he wants to achieve a different record by landing a rocket on Earth after it has returned from orbit. This attempt was delayed on Tuesday when the launch of the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket was aborted, and its mission to deliver supplies to the International Space Station – set to conclude with the historic landing – was rescheduled.
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Need to investigate the upper stage Z actuator. Was behaving strangely. Next launch attempt on Friday at 5am.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk)
The cargo run to the space station is particularly important following a previous attempt that failed with the explosion of the Antares rocket and the Cygnus cargo spacecraft, both designed by Orbital Sciences Corp. A recycled Russian-made engine was cited as a potential factor in the explosion. The SpaceX mission will carry not only supplies for the astronauts but duplicates of the 17 science experiments sent by schools that were destroyed in the explosion.
If the Falcon’s next launch successfully delivers the cargo to the six residents of the space station, the spacecraft then will attempt to land on a platform 200 miles off the coast of Florida in the Atlantic Ocean. This would be a major leap toward making rockets reusable and could aid in the effort to one day plan a mission to Mars.
Musk talked about his company’s goal of launching missions to colonize Mars on Monday evening during an . Not all questions in the Reddit forum were answered – including one asking whether he would search for alien ruins on the Martian landscape – but Musk gave the most attention to queries focusing on his space travel company.
During the chat, he said SpaceX is planning a new design for a spacecraft that could one day travel to Mars, and is working on a next-generation spacesuit.
“The Mars transport system will be a completely new architecture. Am hoping to present that towards the end of this year, ” he said. “Our spacesuit design is finally coming together and will also be unveiled later this year. We are putting a lot of effort into design esthetics, not just utility. It needs to both look like a 21st-century spacesuit and work well. Really difficult to achieve both.”
Space travel is very expensive, Musk noted, but the Mars Colonial Transporter that SpaceX aims to build will hopefully be able to deliver “100 metric tons of useful payload to the surface of Mars.”
“This obviously requires a very big spaceship and booster system, ” Musk said.
Questions asked by the public ranged from his taste in video games (which include space adventure “Mass Effect”) to his favorite alcohol (“whisky”) and the chances of him ever running for political office (“unlikely”).
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