Elon Musk's SpaceX team watched a prototype rocket spectacularly burst into flames over the company's test flight area in Texas on Friday. No one was injured in the explosion, the firm said. SpaceX had been testing its Falcon 9 Reusable (F9R) vehicle in McGregor, Texas. One observer captured video images of debris tumbling …
For interest, here's the list of scripts that the site tries to run:
some random cloudfront
Guess which of these I allow? Hint: none... I don't know why I bother with the interwebs.
Arsebook's so cool it runs it twice?
I use No Script -- I don't get all these other pages loading (but then, most of my Internet experience doesn't work). In that case I move on to another site. This interweb thingy is vast, so I don't have to worry about spam sites not working as there is always something else to see or do.
Holy. Fuckin'. SHIT.
Still, that's not half as long as some of the lists I get when I hit the "Options" menu in NoScript on a lot of other sites I visit. On a couple of sites I've visited -- I forget which, now -- the pop-up list menu in NoScript goes top-to-bottom on a 17-inch monitor and keeps scrolling.
Your list includes a handful that I allow temporarily, in case I want to share an article on my Twitter feed, and whose permissions are revoked when I'm done.
Where is the usual 1080 vid from SpaceX? Held back by their spin doctors?
C'mon Elon, pad explosions have happened since Peenemünde. Be open about the bad as much as the good. I'll have a lot more confidence in SpaceX if you did especially if you want my butt on a rocket to Mars at some point.
I think the point is that this was essentially a stress test. The odds of the thing coming through in one piece were pretty slim, actually. In terms of SpaceX's continuing research, this is more of a "Hmm..." moment. They pushed it and wanted to see if it would break. Well, it broke all right. They'll definitely be looking through the test data since they'll be expecting it to tell them where they'll need to adjust next.
Hmm, seems a bit silly for just a test. If they want to see how a bomb works they could do that on the ground. All their components will have an engineered envelope in which to work, so all they need is the data from the sensors. If that data goes outside the envelope the thing will break.
I could have told them that.
All their components will have an engineered envelope in which to work, so all they need is the data from the sensors. If that data goes outside the envelope the thing will break.
I could have told them that.
Perhaps their goal was to see how far outside the envelope it can be pushed before the thing broke.
I am fairly certain that it helps to have some idea of how much 'safety margin' you actually have in a design, as you develop it.
"Hmm, seems a bit silly for just a test. If they want to see how a bomb works they could do that on the ground."
It's hard to simulate the entire combination of aerodynamic and engine variables on the ground. There aren't a lot of wind tunnels able to accommodate 3 hot firing large rocket motors and a shaking table.
It's worth reviewing the Apollo 6 mission to see its failures. Apollo 6 experienced severe pogo oscillations that engineers had thought eliminated - which says something about "engineered envelopes." Then the upper stage spacecraft adapter suffered structural damage as air and water in it expanded as the rocket entered vacuum, something not spotted in ground tests. Ground conditions masked another design flaw, this one in a hydrogen line to the second stage J-2 motors: liquid air built up around the hydrogen line on the ground and damped vibration, while in flight vibrations tore the line free, leading to 2 engine failures.
And all these problems happened after the successful Apollo 4 test flight.
"All their components will have an engineered envelope in which to work,"
Oh, yes, there are envelopes for aerospace components. Components get initially spec'd out based on guesses that include healthy safety margins; refined in simulations (which are built on estimates and approximations); and then chiseled away to get to flight weight targets. The resulting component is thus enveloped in *some* sort of engineering numbers.
Whether or not those numbers are representative of the component's real world performance is another matter. I've been through the process of spec'ing out a solid rocket motor. It wasn't a novel design. It was built by a veteran solid motor subcontractor; used a proven alloy for the casing; was welded in a standard fashion; and there were generous margins and knockdowns in all design elements.
It still split its seams in hot fire testing because the "engineered envelope" didn't accommodate all real world problems. Problem 1: incomplete fusion of the welded joint, an expected issue, hence the post-weld inspections. Problem 2: x-ray and fluorescent dye inspections didn't spot the bad welds, an unexpected issue.
You can get past all the lab tests, ground tests, and even successfully launch related hardware and still find new and surprising problems that no "engineered envelope" will encompass.
Hence: test flights.
"Wait.... wouldn't they have video on a destruction engineering run?"
They've been using a drone copter to get cool footage recently. I can see why they didn't want to send that up if they were expecting an explosion.
Also, they tend to take a few days to release footage even when they do get some, not sure why, but i suppose it's their prerogative.
"An FAA representative was present at all times."
Okydoky, we wouldn't want to be declared terrorists due to incontinent booms and get some Waco action on our engineers' dens.
Seriously, I hope they get the next launch listed under "Everything is going extremely well."
"Okydoky, we wouldn't want to be declared terrorists due to incontinent booms and get some Waco action on our engineers' dens."
You might be thinking of the Transportation Safety Administration, which is under the Department of Homeland Security and gets excitable about the security aspects of aerospace vehicle explosions. On the other hand, the FAA is part of the Department of Transportation and has the responsibility of certifying new aerospace vehicles as flightworthy.
> The vehicle was pushed to its limits...
> And then a bit more, apparently.
Not quite. Limits is finite.
Once you get the thing in failure to proceed mode, that is the definition of its limit. After that you start introducing controlled, artificial limits, AKA Safety Limits.
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