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Elon Musk's new plan involves a rocket and a party balloon
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
Guess what: Elon Musk has a new crazy idea.  This time, thankfully, it doesn't have to do anything with boring tunnels. The SpaceX CEO now wants to "bring rocket upper stage back from orbital velocity using a giant party balloon". SEE ALSO: SpaceX gains approval for largest satellite internet service, ever Musk said this in a tweet late Sunday, and if it came from anyone else, we'd disregard it — heck, even Musk himself said that the idea sounds "crazy". But Musk has a track record of following through and delivering on seemingly insane ideas, sometimes even turning them into successful business endeavours.  SpaceX will try to bring rocket upper stage back from orbital velocity using a giant party balloon — Elon Musk (@elonmusk) April 15, 2018 Still we have lots of questions. What happens to a party balloon in the vacuum of space? How does it withstand the forces that happen during atmospheric re-entry? Can the balloon be shaped like an animal? Is this going to be the reverse of the balloon scene in Pixar's Up? Well, Musk has answers, but not answers we can understand.  Yeah, but great for creating a giant object that retains its shape across all Mach regimes & drops ballistic coefficient by 2 orders of magnitude — Elon Musk (@elonmusk) April 15, 2018 We already do targeted retro burn to a specific point in Pacific w no islands or ships, so upper stage doesn’t become a dead satellite. Need to retarget closer to shore & position catcher ship like Mr Steven. — Elon Musk (@elonmusk) April 16, 2018 After all this, we're still not sure whether this is going to work or even whether it can work — though something similar has been tried before.  In any case, if Musk and SpaceX do follow through with this plan, we're certain it will be glorious to watch. Also, can the balloon be red? Thanks.  WATCH: Man carried off into the clouds in 'UP'-style stunt read more
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