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SpaceX Introduces Huge Robotic ‘Chopsticks’ To Intercept Landing Rockets
By Ell Ko, 22 Oct 2021
Image via Sundry Photography / Shutterstock.com
Back in April, Elon Musk stated casually on Twitter that the Super Heavy launch tower at the Boca Chica facility of SpaceX was “basically Mechazilla” that “just needs some legs.”
Soon, Mechazilla will have arms!— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) August 13, 2021
On Wednesday, SpaceX’s Mechazilla was given a pair of giant robot chopsticks.
There’s quite a lot to unpack here.
These chopsticks are meant to be “arms,” outstretched in order to attempt to catch the aptly-named Super Heavy rocket boosters as they fall back towards Earth post-launches so they can be reused.
These can also be used to catch Starship, a transportation system made of the company’s Starship spacecraft and Super Heavy rocket.
A video shared by NASASpaceflight on YouTube documents the process, which took place early on Wednesday morning.
The comments are filled by users in awe of the project, with one reading, “I can’t believe this thing (the whole launch tower) is becoming a reality. This is one of those things that you would see concept art of that would never realistically be built.”
It hasn’t been specified when the first “catch” will take place, but it’s safe to say that it will be quite an extraordinary sight, as if seeing rockets landing regularly wasn’t already one.
Snatched from the sky by Mechazilla— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) July 31, 2021
[via Futurism, image via Sundry Photography / Shutterstock.com]
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