SpaceX has faced a big damage this year. In April the rocket company successfully landed Falcon 9 on a drone ship in the Atlantic Ocean promising a good hope for commercial space flights. However, in September, Falcon 9 exploded due to a problem in fueling process and even its launch facility was majorly destroyed. This led to doubts about the company's viability and profitability. Here are some missions SpaceX could do in 2017 to bounce back in the rocket business:
Return To Flight In Early 2017
Following the explosion of Falcon 9, SpaceX was not able to do its return-to-flight mission, which was scheduled by the end of 2016. The company revealed they are conceiving more than 70 missions, including the return of Falcon 9 in January but they have yet to get a license from the Federal Aviation Administration.
SpaceX cannot delay their comeback any longer as competition is rising in the rocket industry. Paste Magazine reported that a SpaceX client, Inmarsat, already jumped ship to Arianespace due to mission delays. Meanwhile, a US-based company, United Launch Alliance, is promoting its Atlas V rocket for commercial launches.
Falcon Heavy Launch And A Re-Fly
The long-awaited flight for Falcon Heavy might soon become a reality. There are reports of progress on what might be the most powerful booster on Earth. A SpaceX representative also disclosed that the Falcon Heavy launch might be witnessed in early- to mid-2017 according to Ars.
Another goal SpaceX revealed is re-flying one of its used rockets in early 2017. However, this goal was revealed before the Falcon 9 explosion so there might be changes in the plans or schedule. Still, many space enthusiasts are hopeful to see this sometime in 2017.
Unfortunately, a commercial crew flight might be impossible for SpaceX in 2017, NASA funded the company with the goal of delivering supplies and sending crews to the International Space Station in 2017. But with all the problems, the next plan is to test an unmanned mission before possible crewed test flights in May 2018.