|SpaceX's "autonomous spaceport drone ship" measures 300 by 170 feet (91 by 52 meters) with its "wings" extended.
SpaceX will attempt one of the boldest maneuvers in the history of rocketry early Tuesday morning (Jan. 6) during a supply mission to the International Space Station for NASA, and you can watch the effort live online.
The California-based private spaceflight company will try to land the first stage of its Falcon 9 rocket on a floating platform in the Atlantic Ocean, shortly after the booster launches SpaceX's robotic Dragon cargo capsule from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida at 6:20 a.m. EST (1120 GMT) Tuesday. NASA officials have said there is a 60 percent chance of good launch weather for the planned launch. You can watch the SpaceX launch live on Space.com, courtesy of NASA TV, beginning at 5 a.m. EST (1000 GMT).
"The odds of success are not great — perhaps 50 percent at best, " SpaceX representatives wrote of the platform landing in a mission update last month. "However, this test represents the first in a series of similar tests that will ultimately deliver a fully reusable Falcon 9 first stage." SpaceX will offer its own launch webcast on the company's website beginning at 6 a.m. EST (1100 GMT). [Reusable Rocket Launch Systems: How They Work (Infographic)]
Developing a fully and rapidly reusable rocket is a key priority for SpaceX and its billionaire founder, Elon Musk, who has said that such technology could cut the cost of spaceflight by a factor of 100.
You might also like: