SpaceX wants to land next booster at Cape Canaveral


CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. – After its next launch, SpaceX hopes to fly a Falcon 9 booster back to a landing site on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, making its first attempt to bring a booster down on land rather than on a platform in the ocean, News 6 partner Florida Today reports.

The Cape landing attempt has not yet been approved as part of a commercial launch license to be issued by the Federal Aviation Administration,  and the timing of SpaceX’s next launch – the company’s first since a failed flight in June – remains uncertain.

SpaceX could try to launch of a group of small commercial communications satellites for New Jersey-based Orbcomm Inc. as soon as Dec. 15, but has not yet confirmed a date with the Air Force’s 45th Space Wing.

NASA on Tuesday confirmed the “very exciting news” while updating media representatives on SpaceX’s progress preparing Kennedy Space Center’s historic pad 39A for launches of Falcon Heavy rockets and eventually astronauts, the latter possibly in 2017.

“Their plan is to try to land (the next booster) out here on the Cape-side,” said Carol Scott of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program, shortly after she discussed the plan with a SpaceX executive.

SpaceX declined to comment.

SpaceX is trying to land and recover the first stages of Falcon 9 rockets so that they can be flown again, something company CEO Elon Musk believes is a critical breakthrough necessary to reduce launch costs.

SpaceX’s next landing attempt will come weeks after Blue Origin, another private space firm started by a wealthy entrepreneur, Amazon.com CEO Jeff Bezos, successfully landed its New Shepard booster after a Nov. 23 launch in Texas.