back to article SpaceX to pick up the space pace with yet another Falcon 9 launch

After taking an extra day to look over the second-hand Falcon 9 following its static fire on 25 May, engineers plan to light the blue touch-paper and stand well back on 1 June. The night launch, currently scheduled for some time between 0429 and 0657 (UTC) on 1 June, stands only a 40 per cent chance of getting off the ground …

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They certainly have.

Musk is expecting to build 30-50 Block 5s and between them they will handle all the future launches until BFR comes on stream and has demonstrated a track record of not blowing up

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x 7
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If they could recover it and won't, then they should be prosecuted for littering.

Dropping lumps of toxic waste into the ocean simply isn't acceptable any more. Recovery should be the new legal minimum

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They can't recover it. Block 4s were only designed to be reused once, and are unlikely to be able to handle the stress of a second recovery.

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Although three Block 4 boosters appear to have been recovered twice, the main restriction is that it is apparently not economically feasible to reuse them for a third launch (i.e.: It is cheaper to build a new one than refurb)

Although some people accuse Musk of 'littering', the fact is everyone else is littering with every single booster they launch. Should SpaceX really be punished for doing it better than everyone else? By getting two launches out of one booster they have already cut their litter by 50%.

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FIA

If they could recover it and won't, then they should be prosecuted for littering.

If you actually want to tackle the crap in the oceans problem, there's much lower hanging fruit you could aim for. Single use medical waste for an example.

Dropping lumps of toxic waste into the ocean simply isn't acceptable any more. Recovery should be the new legal minimum

As the only rocket company that has repeatedly flown reusable boosters I would imagine SpaceX would be very happy with this.

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Anonymous Coward

this old argument again

Me: "Hey, this <new thing> is much better <by some measure> then <old thing>. That's rather good, isn't it?"

Them: "But <new thing> is not perfect!"

Me: "No, it's not. But it is a lot better and will probably continue to get even better"

Them: "But <new thing> is not PERRRRFECTT ! So I hates it! And will complain about it! And not use it!"

Me: <facepalm>

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Dropping lumps of toxic waste into the ocean simply isn't acceptable any more. Recovery should be the new legal minimum

So, immediate ban on all Atlas, Antares and Delta flights, scrap Vulcan and SLS (as if they needed another reason)?

Seems reasonable. Musk would love that

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@x 7...

Do you intend to prosecute Boeing (with their expendable Delta), Roscosmos (with their Soyuz rockets) and Arianespace (with Ariane and Vega) too?

If not, do please take a hike. How about you clean up single-use plastics first? And waxed/plasticised paper? And everything else that's single-use? Thank you.

(and you're welcome to downvote this)

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Single use medical items don't end up in ocean unless the hospital is risking a massive fine. Heck they don't even end up in landfill. The only disposal option is incineration after autoclaving. Well at least here in the UK that is. I would imagine most developed nations are the same for the same reason. The idea that we need to do anything about it in the UK is utter ignorance.

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Rockets are minor in the scheme of things. As for waste, plastics in general, do a quick Google for "pacific ocean trash vortex".

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Mostly true for most countries, but they're still finding a lot of medical waste in the ocean. Relatively, it's minor compared to other waste.

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"Recovery should be the new legal minimum"

Since SpaceX are the only people who ever recovered a first stage after a launch, are you advocating every other launch system in the world be shut down right now?

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In which case they should scrap it, recycle the materials and fly one they can reuse.

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Re: x 7

Put you money where your mouth is: start your own rocket company and show us all how to do it better.

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Re: x 7

Well if you crowd-fund me I'll start the X7 Reuseable Rocket Corporation

I'm sure there would be more chance of developing a workable product than that bunch with the Sinclair Spectrum retread

If everyone in the USA and Europe would give me £10 I'll guarantee a flyable demonstrator one day.

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This satellite is going into geostationary orbit which requires a lot more fuel to execute than your bog standard low earth orbit. This means this booster cannot be recovered as it will not have enough rocket propellant to do a return landing.

However, I'm assuming because it's going into GEO the sub-orbital trajectory of the booster will be quite steep and will burn up in the atmosphere as it returns to earth.

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Re: if you crowd-fund me ...

Musk and Bezos are spending their own money. If you do not have a few billion behind the cushions on the sofa, promise to assemble modified space shuttle parts in Alabama. That should get you a few billions from Richard Shelby. The good news is you will not be dumping dead rockets it the sea. The bad news is you must not produce a working product or the funding will dry up.

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Re: if you crowd-fund me ...

No - Musk is spending the American government's money in the form of subsidies. This is true for all his business, or rather subsidy, ventures.

He is also hypersensitive about any form of criticism - just observe this stoush with a comic artist https://twitter.com/existentialcoms/status/995022517755506688?lang=en

The artist was mocking the Ayn Rand types who worship Musk, however, it took an amusing turn. Musk ended up calling the artist a monkey and blocking him.

The artist did have comeback Elon Musk: Greatest Man Alive.

Not all of us are convinced that he is Messiah come to save us.

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Yes, we know it's hard, but someone has told Elon dumping Block 4's at sea is easy.

I get the feeling someone with an accountancy spreadsheet in front of them has got the better of Elon Musk, asking him to turn a blind eye, dump the Block4's at sea rather than recover and recycle the parts.

SpaceX, if you have the technology to recover, then recover and recycle the parts properly. Do the right thing, because that's why people/companies have supported and backed you.

Remember that.

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Re: Yes, we know it's hard, but someone has told Elon dumping Block 4's at sea is easy.

Remember that when you use a drinking straw or cotton ear bud or drink stirrer or . . . . . .

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Re: Yes, we know it's hard, but someone has told Elon dumping Block 4's at sea is easy.

This booster can't be recovered, the sat will be going into GEO which requires much more propellant than the usual LEO. It's highly likely due to the launch profile, the 1st stage will be in a steep suborbital trajectory and as a result burn up in the atmosphere.

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Re: Yes, we know it's hard, but someone has told Elon dumping Block 4's at sea is easy.

"I get the feeling someone with an accountancy spreadsheet in front of them has got the better of Elon Musk, asking him to turn a blind eye, dump the Block4's at sea rather than recover and recycle the parts."

You;re missing the point. Some launchers cannot be recovered because it's not possible to carry the fuel to meet the launch requirements while reserving enough for a landing/recovery. It makes sense to send used launchers on those missions rather than brand new ones if possible. At least then it's not a "single use" item as used by every other launch system currently.

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Re: Yes, we know it's hard, but someone has told Elon dumping Block 4's at sea is easy.

or any crisp packet.

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It’s a Geo orbit

Lobbing a big heavy coms sat into geo stationary orbit makes the stages none recoverable. They simply don’t have the fuel left in them to land. Thus they smash into the ocean

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Re: It’s a Geo orbit

I think they have achieved this a few times (and tried but failed a few times) but, yes, the first stage comes back virtually empty and much faster than ideal. And, yes, there is a cargo weight limit where it just can't be done.

According to wikipedia: JCSAT-14, Thaicom 8 and SES-10 all had successful (but hot/fast) landings but EchoStar 23, for example, was too big.

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Re: It’s a Geo orbit

According to wikipedia: JCSAT-14, Thaicom 8 and SES-10 all had successful (but hot/fast) landings but EchoStar 23, for example, was too big.

Echostar was a Full Thrust booster - "Block 3" as it were, so less power and less margin. FT did a couple of 6000kg-to-GTO missions and was expended.

The nearest Block 4 comparisons here would be the SES-11/Echostar-105 launch which was 5200kg to GTO and successfully landed, and Hispasat which was just over 6,000kg to GTO. Hispasat was planned to land but they cancelled the landing attempt because of prevailing weather conditions - but they obviously thought it was technically possible (they lost a set of legs and very expensive titanium grid fins on that one because there were other launches going on at CCAFS and they needed to get away. Standing down to strip the landing gear off would have sent them to the back of the queue).

SES-12 is 5300kg to GTO so should be land-able with a B4 given that they wanted to land Hispasat - but it comes down to availability of the Drone Ship and prevailing weather/sea-state conditions downrange.

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Re: It’s a Geo orbit

They've recovered from GeoSync launches in the past, that's what the drone ships are for.

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Re: little appetite to bother with recovery

In addition to the GTO thing, SpaceX may figure they can get more value by testing experimental landing profiles than by recovering the booster. The booster can't be reused, is too big for museums to handle, and SpaceX have probably learnt all they can from recovering and inspecting its siblings. If they try a new landing profile, they might learn more about how the booster behaves. The data could be valuable but not valuable enough to be worth risking damage to the drone ship for, so they land it without the drone ship.

I don't know if this is what's happening for this launch, but it's a consideration. It's not just not bothering.

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