SpaceX will change the approach to landing its reusable launch vehicles. According to the CEO and founder of the company, Elon Musk, engineers will try to “catch” the Super Heavy launcher using the launch column sleeve, which is used to stabilize the rocket during preparation for takeoff. The current Falcon 9 launch vehicles return to Earth and land on built-in legs, but Super Heavy wants to get rid of them.
The Super Heavy launch process will still involve the use of thrusters to control speed, but engineers will also integrate lattice fins to help control the device’s orientation during flight and “catch” the booster. The main advantages of this method are that SpaceX can save on device weight by eliminating landing legs from the Super Heavy design.
Starship and Super Heavy’s goal is to create a launch vehicle that is even more reusable compared to SpaceX’s existing Falcon 9 (and Falcon Heavy) system. In the future, the speed of roundtrip flights should increase, so the company refuses to slow processes during launch and landing.
Device prototypes are currently being created and tested in the state of Texas (USA). The company is also working on elements of the Super Heavy launch vehicle, and in a few months, they want to begin active flight testing of this component of the launch system.