While we’re on the topic of landing reusable rockets, which has been news hot off the press for companies like SpaceX and Blue Origin as of late, SpaceX is also working on some next-generation stuff, like a spacecraft capable of carrying human beings and hovering in mid air using rocket propulsion technology.
Such a spacecraft would be especially useful in landing scenarios where it would be necessary to help humans make a soft landing on the surface of the Earth, or even other bodies in space, such as the Moon or even Mars.
SpaceX is calling the new spacecraft Dragon 2, and it uses a grand total of eight SuperDraco rockets – two on each of the spacecraft’s four corners – to keep the spacecraft stable in mid air.
Dragon 2 recently demonstrated a successful hover attempt in McGregor, Texas where suspended by safety harnesses from a tall crane, the spacecraft was put on rocket-only power to hover in the air. After the rockets were turned off when the test was completed, the safety harnesses caught the spacecraft in suspension in mid air.
You can watch the demonstration in the video below provided by SpaceX:
In a statement by NASA, it’s said that the SpaceX Dragon 2 spacecraft will be able to hover and land on the ground with the accuracy and precision of a helicopter despite using rocket technology instead of rotary blades.
Because the rocket landing technology is still very much in testing, the rocket landing technology will not yet be used to bring astronauts home from space with the Dragon 2 spacecraft until further testing is conducted to ensure the safety of all those on board.
Instead, the tried and true method of parachutes and water landing will be used, which allows astronauts to drop to the Earth safely.
It’s worth noting that SpaceX has been working their behinds off to get rocket-landing technology to become a mainstream thing. With the reusable Falcon 9 rocket that recently landed upright back on the Earth’s soil successfully, and the failure of the second landing attempt on a barge at sea, they have a lot of catching up to do with Blue Origin, who just recently landed their second rocket without any hiccups.