NASA eyes SpaceX soft-landing technology for future Mars missions

October 18, 2014 6:17 PM

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NASA eyes SpaceX soft-landing technology for future Mars missions

Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX ) has been working to develop technologies to increase capabilities in terms of spaceflight – while keeping related costs down. One such effort, the use of descent capabilities on the first stage of the company’s Falcon 9 v1.1 booster – has caught NASA’s attention. So much so – that the agency tasked two aircraft to track the Sept. 21 descent of the stage’s descent to the Atlantic Ocean. The U.S. Space Agency is currently working to send crews to an asteroid some time in the next decade and to the planet Mars in the 2030s and the Hawthorne, California-based firm’s propulsive descent technologies – could play a part in some of these efforts.

NASA has not sent astronauts to destinations beyond low-Earth-orbit (LEO) since the end of the Apollo Moonlandings in 1972. With the conclusion of the final lunar mission, Apollo 17, the space agency has only had crews venture a few hundred miles above our home world. NASA is now planning to utilize...

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