Good luck to SpaceX!
Will be following online, with great anticipation!
Elon Musk’s other company is gearing up for its third attempt to land its Falcon 9 rocket booster on a drone barge anchored at sea. The attempt will take place after a launch this Sunday, which will also see the booster send an uncrewed Dragon cargo capsule on a supply run to the International Space Station. SpaceX’s first …
He famously said that so long as you get telemetry about the failure, it's not a failure. We're talking about rocket science here, which often is edge-of-the-art and not just state of it. It's a high-risk business.
So long as they get data as to what went wrong, and how, they can improve on it. That's how progress is made. So, scratch a few million US$ right now if this goes wrong, but in the long run, once the wrinkles have been ironed out, things become more reliable and far cheaper.
Many people these days seem to have forgotten that big things don't happen overnight... big development takes big time, and in space technology, just about everything is big. Musk is sticking with it (like von Braun did, and many others during that crucial period in space travel development). I hope he will continue to do so.
Yep, completely agree.
We seem to be so risk-averse nowadays that it makes you wonder if, were we to go back a hundred years, but keep the same attitudes as we have now, whether many of the technological advances we have today would have survived the initial experimental stage without someone calling for them to be cancelled.
Would we have any civil aviation, or space program, if those who gave their lives in the early stages had meant that the testing and experimentation was deemed too dangerous?
Indeed, if you go back further, would the original American settlers have decided it was too risky to explore inland and to the the west, and still be stuck on the east coast?
Nobody wants to see people die, or expensive hardware get destroyed, but pushing the boundaries of technology means that accidents will happen, it is an essential part of the learning process, and we should embrace that.
Given that anyone else would just ditch the booster (and presumably SpaceX are costing/charging on that basis) its not an overly big deal if they keep having these problems for a while.
Also given its a drone barge there isnt any life at risk here - and I'd assume the barge is a relatively low cost item in the context of a launch.
Its not as if their business model requires them to get this stage working in the next couple of attempts - its just that if they do suddenly they can charge a lot less or make a lot more profit.
Naturally it'll be massively cool when it does eventually work, but realistically if it takes them another 20 attempts its probably not financially a big deal as they are already delivering the primary mission.
No he doesn't. The grid fins as I understand it use separate hydraulic fluid tanks and are a total loss system, in that the fluid is not recycled back in to the tank. Hence it could and did run out. They don't use fuel (aviation kerosene) as far as I know.
EDIT: I take that back. There is some evidence that it does use RP1 that drains back in to the tank. Apologies. http://space.stackexchange.com/questions/7771/why-does-the-falcon-9-consume-hydraulic-fluid
I believe the consensus is that it's a lossy system, not using RP-1, but it is not yet known whether it vents overboard, or to a low pressure catch tank.
It's not transferred back to the fuel tank as that is on the other side of the LOX tank and the pipework would be too heavy and awkward.
"... should land underneath a swimming pool that has slid out of the way to reveal an underground landing pad."
I believe that part of the scheme has had to be abandoned as nobody was able to source a large enough lemon-squeezer ...
My sources tell me that a sliding, fake volcanic crater lake is now under construction.
Good point. Also, assuming SpaceX successfully implements first stage reuseability, how many customers will want to risk their precious payloads to refurbished launch vehicles? I understand the mechanical stresses of launch (and now landing) are immense and may seriously degrade the launch vehicle's airframe.
I hope SpaceX succeeds, but won't be surprised if reuse is more expensive than anticipated.
"Listen, lad. I've built this kingdom up from nothing. When
I started here, all there was was swamp. All the kings said I was daft
to build a castle in a swamp, but I built it all the same, just to show
'em. It sank into the swamp. So, I built a second one. That sank into the
swamp. So I built a third one. That burned down, fell over, then sank
into the swamp. But the fourth one stayed up. An' that's what your gonna
get, lad -- the strongest castle in these islands."
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