back to article After Monday's landing, SpaceX wants to do it in triplicate

SpaceX has applied to local authorities for permission to build two new rocket landing pads in Florida ahead of the launch of its Falcon Heavy rocket later this year. The Falcon Heavy consists of three modified Falcon 9 rockets strapped together – a more complex machine that Elon Musk describes as having a "heavy pucker factor …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Betteridge's Law of Headlines may apply

    Might the same residents take advantage of the window in which they can raise an objection to SpaceX's plans?

    Well the linked article makes no mention of objections, just notes that residents have the right to do so (like any planning process...) That a number of them phoned 911 when they heard something like an explosion a while after a rocket launch suggests more an absence of mind than a presence of malice.

    1. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge

      Re: Betteridge's Law of Headlines may apply

      And those who weren't aware of the launch despite the apparent publicity probably won't be aware of the opportunity to object...

    2. cray74

      Re: Betteridge's Law of Headlines may apply

      Well the linked article makes no mention of objections, just notes that residents have the right to do so (like any planning process...)

      Brevard county and Florida state citizens' environmental groups have filed complaints in the past based on SpaceX paving over an acre or two of Canaveral's protected wetlands. I don't have an example article of that, just problems at their Texas facility. Texas being Texas, the environmental legal issues were less troublesome than in Florida, which is partly why SpaceX set up the Texan facility. Early on, Musk was complaining about the regulatory agony and delays of working in Canaveral (which had NASA's, other federal, and state regulatory challenges, while Texas mostly handed over a chunk of land, tax breaks, and gave any environmental lawsuits to judges who wore I-Heart-Trump buttons.)

      And the sonic booms. I grew up on the Space Coast and I'm a bit disappointed with the reaction. FFS, people, you move next to a spaceport that's covered in depth by gushing fanboy local reporters (print, web, and local cable TV) and you still act surprised by a sonic boom? Oi.

    3. JR
      Coat

      Re: Betteridge's Law of Headlines may apply

      This sounds familiar...(Mine's the one with a towel)

      "You were quite entitled to make any suggestions or protests at the appropriate time you know."

      "Appropriate time?" hooted Arthur. "Appropriate time? The first I knew about it was when a workman arrived at my home yesterday. I asked him if he'd come to clean the windows and he said no he'd come to demolish the house. He didn't tell me straight away of course. Oh no. First he

      wiped a couple of windows and charged me a fiver. Then he told me."

      "But Mr Dent, the plans have been available in the local planning office for the last nine month."

      "Oh yes, well as soon as I heard I went straight round to see them, yesterday afternoon. You hadn't exactly gone out of your way to call attention to them had you? I mean like actually telling anybody or anything."

      "But the plans were on display ..."

      "On display? I eventually had to go down to the cellar to find them."

      "That's the display department."

      "With a torch."

      "Ah, well the lights had probably gone."

      "So had the stairs."

      "But look, you found the notice didn't you?"

      "Yes," said Arthur, "yes I did. It was on display in the bottom of a locked filing cabinet stuck in a disused lavatory with a sign on the door saying Beware of the Leopard."

  2. Mark 85 Silver badge

    I doubt there will be any serious challenge to this. The Cape gets lots of tourist dollars because of launches and well... the Cape being the Cape, space and all that. And there's the business from contractors coming and going along with the employees moving in.

    1. bombastic bob Silver badge

      "I doubt there will be any serious challenge to this"

      never. underestimate. the UNMITIGATED GALL. of a BUNCH of FLAMING ACTIVISTS. to *RUIN* a GOOD thing like SpaceX, through the COURTS, with RIDICULOUS claims, particularly environmental ones, which ultimately ENRICH THE LAWYERS.

      One such L[AW]YER in the San Diego area is INfamous for having abused the legal system to turn a man-made oceanic swimming area known as "the children's pool" into a CESSpool for breeding sea lions (that decided to just 'take over' because NOBODY stopped them), that comes complete with the foul stench that can't even be cleaned up because, environmentalism.

      So I'm sure SOMEONE will find some "endangered" flea or brine shrimp, or make some ridiculous touchy-feely claim regarding dolphins or sea turtles that SOMEHOW impedes SpaceX from having a landing platform. SOOooooo predictable.

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        "never. underestimate. the UNMITIGATED GALL. of a BUNCH of FLAMING ACTIVISTS. to *RUIN* a GOOD thing like SpaceX, through the COURTS, with RIDICULOUS claims, particularly environmental ones, which ultimately ENRICH THE LAWYERS."

        Concord!!!

      2. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge
        Facepalm

        Bob?

        Thanks to Poe's law I don't know which way to vote (so I didn't).

      3. 1Rafayal

        @bob, do you ever read any of the utter shite you post?

        or are you some sort of weird bot?

  3. Mikel

    We already covered this

    SpaceX can land the boosters all on the same pad. Stacked vertically. Like Robin Hood.

    1. Francis Boyle Silver badge

      Re: We already covered this

      Yeah, but Mythbusters busted that one.

      1. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge
        Mushroom

        Re: We already covered this

        (The) Mythbusters were exceedingly good at busting the notion that they were any good at rocketry!

  4. willi0000000

    i think they'll be out in force for this one.

    the usual NIMBYs

    the "rockets falling on my head" and/or the "think of the children" group

    the "look! chemtrails all the way to the ground!!!!!" brigade

    and, of course, all the people who consistently vote against their own best interests

    c'mon, this is Murrika . . . Flori-duh in Murrika! . . . i live in this country, i know these people . . . they're nuts.

    1. Lord Raa

      Does this mean we'll see more from the world's worst superhero, Florida Man?

  5. tirk
    Trollface

    Instead of "boosters" call them "firearms"

    Who in America can deny Elon's constitutional right to bear them?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Instead of "boosters" call them "firearms"

      Easy, they just have to make a shoulder mounted version of the Falcon.

  6. Sebastian A

    "Heavy pucker factor"... You gotta admit, the man has a way with words.

  7. John Robson Silver badge

    I just love the idea of the two boosters coming down roughly together...

    Crazy, crazy world we live in - and this would certainly make for one spectacle and a half...

    1. et tu, brute?
      Pint

      Re: I just love the idea...

      We need the webcast split into at least 3 windows: one each streaming the video from the boosters coming back (left and right), and the middle window showing the central stack still going...

      Can't wait!

      Raising one to the engineers...

      1. druck Silver badge
        Facepalm

        Re: I just love the idea...

        Split into 4 - we want to see the second stage too.

    2. phuzz Silver badge
      Flame

      Re: I just love the idea of the two boosters coming down roughly together...

      When they build these new launchpads, they should build some specially hardened camera silos round the edges, and one right in the middle pointing straight up.

      Imagine the footage as each booster comes in to land!

      Of course, it won't matter in a few years because Elon will have his volcano lair with a hidden landing pad ala Thunderbirds.

  8. Spudley

    Okay, so by landing and re-using a booster, they are saving how much money? a few hundred million dollars? Every time you do it?

    This is America: you can be fairly sure that waving a bit of cold hard cash at them will stop all the nimbys in their tracks. So offer a small share of that cash to local residents who might be affected. Build it into the cost of the launch; it'll still be massively cheaper than anyone else.

    1. imanidiot Silver badge

      Cost savings will probably run in the tens of millions at best. Given the costs of refurb, refit and recertification probably only a single digit number of millions. Certainly not hundreds of millions.

    2. Cuddles Silver badge

      Price

      "Okay, so by landing and re-using a booster, they are saving how much money? a few hundred million dollars?"

      An Ariane 5 launch costs up to around €130 million, with the cost of a single satellite as low as $60 million. Falcon 9 missions taking a Dragon capsule to the ISS currently cost $133 million, and the standard price for a satellite launch is currently $62 million. Falcon is cheaper, and has already brought prices down due to the competition, but there aren't hundreds of millions there to save, only tens at the very best and not even many of those.

    3. DNTP

      Re: Reusability...

      If the decision-makers are reasonably confident that they will get the booster back for re-use after each launch, then it should logically become cost-effective to build rockets that are more reliable and have greater mission flexibility than one-use-only designs, thus allowing previously uneconomical orbital projects.

      This is the same reason why reusable shopping bags are both sturdier and more expensive than disposable ones, just… they don't explode as much?

    4. Brangdon

      SpaceX have said they hope to reduce launch costs by 30%. So for a $62m launch they are saving around 20 million.

  9. Spudley

    I'm wondering how long it will take them to build these landing pads.

    Given that the article says they want to launch the Heavy "within a few months", they're going to need to get the landing pads built quickly. But if they're going to have people fighting the application, it might take longer than that before the building work can even start.

    1. John Robson Silver badge

      Yeah - but...

      It's a landing pad.

      Doesn't need a huge amount of complex work - a good solid slab of something that won't melt.

      A road to get the crane/lorry up to it after.

      Maybe some fire suppression systems in case of RUD

    2. cray74

      Given that the article says they want to launch the Heavy "within a few months", they're going to need to get the landing pads built quickly.

      "Building the landing pads" may involve putting some new landing aids at existing concrete pads. NASA does have a lot of under-utilized landing strips and launch sites currently.

  10. Faszination

    Loving the objections the residents are making to the pad expansion.

    If, as is almost certain, most of these people moved in AFTER they built the space port, can someone explain to me what in the name of all that is decent and holy they have to complain about???

    No wait, let me save you the time....

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Public foot paths...

      Heard similar complaints near my home, a public footpath runs through a local councillors home (she became an elected local councillor to try and get it redirected after she bought the house), even knowing full well the public footpath ran directly through her land, on purchase.

      The worst thing you can do with these types is point this glaringly obvious point out. They'll hate you for it, for ever more, and they still think you're the one in the wrong.

      Musk just needs to keep this head down and get on with it, they'll always be a few people trying to put a spanner into SpaceX's plans.

  11. Gene Cash Silver badge

    Titusville is a s***hole

    The landing pads are nothing more than 250m circles of flat concrete, where they've removed the former pad structure. There's no landing aids that I know of, other than being accurately surveyed and the GPS coordinates determined.

    The USAF has to take public comments, but they can also completely ignore them. Not only are they not binding, they can just say the magic words "national interest" and "national security"

    Don't forget Titusville is a bunch of uneducated hicks. They don't even have the energy to be chavs. Florida is the stupid part of the US and Titusville is the stupid part of Florida.

    These are the same people that complain about a lack of high-paying space jobs now that the Shuttle is gone, yet they complain about sonic booms from SpaceX.

    I went to Space View Park to see the launch. I happened to run into a British family on vacation, and he was surprised so few people were there.

    The launch happened and people started leaving! I asked one guy why he was leaving before the landing and he said "what landing?" !! Now these are people that spent the energy and took the time to come see the launch and they didn't even know what was going on.

    It was very spectacular, by the way. The launch was directly in front of us, across the Banana River, and next to the huge cube of the VAB. Just as the rocket reached the thin cloud layer, the sound hit us, and "hit" is the right word. You could see the stage separate and flip around as 2 bright dots with swirls from the gas thrusters. A couple minutes later, the re-entry burn was almost directly overhead, and a couple minutes after that was the "reverse launch" landing burn. The landing was just over the horizon, but by the flames you could tell there was not an explosion or anything. About 5 seconds after shutdown, we got the single sonic boom. It was very different from the Shuttle double-boom, or an aircraft boom, so I'm not surprised there was a lot of 911 calls.

    This was at night, about 1am local time.

    So I got to see a rocket launch, and 10 minutes later, I also got to see a rocket landing. Great!

    1. bombastic bob Silver badge

      Re: Titusville is a s***hole

      "These are the same people that complain about a lack of high-paying space jobs now that the Shuttle is gone, yet they complain about sonic booms from SpaceX."

      clueless, yeah

      "So I got to see a rocket launch, and 10 minutes later, I also got to see a rocket landing. Great!"

      sci fi authors of the past should be clawing their way out of their graves to watch something like that in real life. So many old sci fi books written where rockets landed on their tail. And it took SpaceX to actually make it happen - on a regular basis, anyway.

    2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: Titusville is a s***hole

      "So I got to see a rocket launch, and 10 minutes later, I also got to see a rocket landing. Great!"

      Bastard! Gloating is a sin you know! Now piss off!

      </jealous as all hell>

    3. cray74

      Re: Titusville is a s***hole

      Don't forget Titusville is a bunch of uneducated hicks. They don't even have the energy to be chavs. Florida is the stupid part of the US and Titusville is the stupid part of Florida.

      Admittedly, Titusville has suffered a severe brain drain since the Apollo and shuttle programs withered away and its economy is in a decades-long slump, but you haven't visited the rural bowels of Florida if you think Titusville establishes the bottom rung on Floridian IQ. Titusville still has some aerospace industry and out-of-state residents propping it up.

      Try a visit to the Waldo-Stark-Middleburg area northeast of Gainesville. You'll come away with a half-dozen traffic tickets (the municipalities like to juggle highway speed limits between 55 and 35mph on 301 and ambush you at speed changes) and mystification as to why locals aren't required to wear padded helmets when they leave home. It's the sort of place where quiet nights are interrupted with banjo music and the sound of squealing pigs.

      1. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: Titusville is a s***hole

        > The municipalities like to juggle highway speed limits between 55 and 35mph on 301 and ambush you at speed changes

        Whatever will they do when Elon's OTHER project gets traction and automated vehicles hit the changes at exactly the right speed?

        Related, I thought there were federal investigations over this kind of activity that had managed to shut most of these scams down.

  12. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

    Personally, I wouldn't mind having a landing pad in my backyard. Or a launch pad.

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