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Elon Musk shows off rockets with 'X-wings' and landing pads in the sea

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Billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk couldn't resist showing off some of his new toys on Twitter yesterday. First up is the latest version of SpaceX's reusable Falcon 9R rocket, which is now fitted with a set of four independently adjustable fins. Or, as Musk described them: real-life "X-wings." The grid fins are designed to deploy only after takeoff, when they'll work together with thrusters to help the rocket maneuver itself into position for those spectacular vertical landings. Musk says the hypersonic grid fins are similar to a set used on a test earlier this year — you can check them out in the video below at the 1:10 mark.

As if real-life X-wings weren't enough, Musk also revealed yesterday that SpaceX is developing rocket landing pads at sea. Of course, this is Elon Musk we're talking about, so they're not just boats with landing pads on top. They're autonomous spaceport drone ships that use repurposed thrusters from oil rigs to hold position in even the worst of conditions. The spaceports at sea are designed to give the reusable rockets a place to land and refuel before taking back off for space. Pretty crazy stuff, though Musk loves turning science fiction into reality.