Tony Stark Elon Musk, a billionaire technologist who is the CEO of SpaceX, has revealed the latest upgrades done to his fleet of commercial space rockets ... and they were inspired by none other than that famous Star Wars Rebel Alliance ship, the X-Wing.
In a Twitter post, Musk unveiled a new steering technology for SpaceX’s reusable rocket engines, which makes use of four small fins designed to control the Falcon 9 rockets’ descent.
Have a look:
Testing operation of hypersonic grid fins (x-wing config) going on next flight pic.twitter.com/O1tMSIXxsT— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 22, 2014
Here's a closer look at an X-Wing:
It's not an exact match, to say the least, but the concept is there. Musk said the fins are “stowed on ascent and then deploy on re-entry for 'X-wing' style control. Each fin moves independently for pitch/yaw/roll.”
According to Radio Times, it's similar to how the Rebel Alliance "used the movable ‘S-Foils’ of their X-Wings: locking them together for hyperspace flight before splitting apart to aid manoeuvrability during dogfights."
While the fictional X-Wings are designed for deep space, the real-life Falcon 9 fins are designed to use air resistance in the Earth’s atmosphere in order to control direction.
Have a look at some awesome footage of the SpaceX Falcon 9 fins being tested this summer:
Autonomous spaceport drone ship. Thrusters repurposed from deep-sea oil rigs hold position within 3m even in a storm. pic.twitter.com/wJFOnGdt9w— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 22, 2014
What do you guys think of SpaceX’s X-Wing-inspired fin designs?
(via Radio Times)