Elon Musk teases SpaceX’s “X-Wing” grid fins

November 24, 2014 9:43 AM

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No, this doesn't mean that SpaceX's next spacecraft will be a starfighter from Star Wars. After all, these hypersonic grid fins make the Falcon 9-R look nothing like the almost iconic rebel ship. They do, however, still play a pivotal role, no pun intended. These fins are designed to help control and steer the rocket during its return trip from space. This will hopefully ensure that the craft will be able to land safely even on hard ground and survive to fly another day.

Elon Musk envisions a space-faring industry where rockets are not discarded, if they don't happen to be totaled on reentry, every time we send one to space and back. In other words, reusable rockets. But a big part of the solution relies heavily on making the rocket survive its landing on its trek h...

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