SpaceX's Grasshopper

Discussion in 'Science and Technology' started by Wanderlust, Sep 22, 2012.

  1. YellowSubmarine

    YellowSubmarine Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I am sure they can afford enough lighting to showcast their successful water "landing".

    Or bringing a helicopter to attach a pipe for pumping fuel to have it hover until morning.

    Or a tractor beam.
     
  2. sojourner

    sojourner Admiral Admiral

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    Flight of CRS-3 delayed to March 30. Preliminary reports are due to cleanup of contamination to cargo.
     
  3. YellowSubmarine

    YellowSubmarine Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    OK, so after a million delays, the flight has been completed, successfully again, and we have a fine water landing, computer reported everything fine, from leg deployment to "touchdown". No photos yet though. Apparently it hovered over water for only 8 seconds. The camera crew was running, but even they can't run that fast. :p
     
  4. sojourner

    sojourner Admiral Admiral

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    It didn't hover over the water for 8 seconds. It stopped transmitting 8 seconds after touching down in the water.
     
  5. YellowSubmarine

    YellowSubmarine Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    So it actually didn't work out as planned, I take it? Engines failed, because they were starved of fuel due to the centripetal forces on smashdown? (Note to SpaceX: Learn to blame the weather and high water next time!) Did it only prevent a longer hovering, or the safe soft landing was not as soft and as safe as they claim?

    I guess that doesn't matter, what's important at this stage is the demonstration that they can do a controlled descent to be allowed to do those over land. I don't know if their last attempt counts, but once or twice more, and they will land over land. And any problems with the actual touchdown will be resolved long before then, and we'll begin seeing a record of actual landings (failed landings, at worst) to judge from.
     
  6. sojourner

    sojourner Admiral Admiral

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    It worked perfectly. what did you expect it to do? Hover until a ship came to get it? It landed on the water and broadcast for 8 seconds until it fell over horizontal. They are in the process of trying to recover it but 20 foot seas are hindering that.
     
  7. YellowSubmarine

    YellowSubmarine Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    OK, apparently I got this mixed up with a write-up on the September launch, when the rocket did fail to slow down before hitting the ocean. I am sorry for the wrong info. So if there have been an issue, it has long since been resolved. If this had been over land, the rocket would be intact now. So SpaceX are way past range safety on making history, they just need to be allowed to do it. They demonstrated controlled descent in September, and again now, so if they do it again for the first launch in May, they should be allowed to land for CRS-4.

    (There are two GTO missions before CRS-4, IIRC, with 1.1 they have enough fuel to recover the first stage even for a GTO flight, so maybe even sooner)
     
  8. YellowSubmarine

    YellowSubmarine Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    OK, since the boring part (docking, berthing, snail racing or whatever it's called nowadays) is over, let's go back to the good stuff.

    The Falcon 9R flight test video from two days ago shows the landing of a complete Falcon 9 stage, now with all engines and the real legs. In the absence of pictures or video from the water landing, the test flight gives a pretty good idea about what went on (sans the landing gear deployment). Those legs are pretty gigantic. Here's a picture of one at the factory, and of the retracted set that flew on CRS-3.

    Actually, the berthing did produce this photograph of Dragon's docking side that's from a perspective I don't remember seeing, at least not with the entire Dragon in it. I can't wait to see the Dragon equipped with the NASA Docking System in the place of that berthing port.
     
  9. varek

    varek Commander Red Shirt

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    Phenomenal, YellowSubmarine! Thank you so much for sharing those videos and stories! And, wasn't the date on that 2012?

    Just think of where they are heading now!
     
  10. sojourner

    sojourner Admiral Admiral

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    The video of F9r is from last week. The leg on the factory floor is a couple years old at most. The photo of the legs on the CRS-3 Falcon in the factory is less than a year old. The CRS-3 Dragon being grappled by ISS is only 4 days old.
     
  11. publiusr

    publiusr Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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  12. YellowSubmarine

    YellowSubmarine Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    So soon? What the hell. I thought this was still on the drawing board.

    Going so fast from hoping to win a NASA programs and having no flights, to recovering stages, doing propulsive landing of capsules during re-entry and abort, building a super-heavy launcher (after NASA refused to contract them for one). Who these guys really think they are? And do they make sandwiches, I'm hungry.

    I think it speaks volumes about how much technology has progressed, and how little the space industry has taken advantage of that because their Excel sheets don't show any benefit from trying something even slightly out of ordinary. What SpaceX are doing isn't even particularly revolutionary, they are having a normal rocket, normal thrusters and engines, based on off-the-shelf* technology, with only a little bit of imagination here and there. And yet that's enough for them to give a new meaning to phrase "running circles around the competition". I do wish Orbital Science gets their launches to the ISS up as soon as possible, but by the time they do, Red Dragon might be circling** them from Mars orbit.

    On another note, with more computing power available at our fingertips, I expect that in a few years amateur designers might be simulating flight-grade rocket dynamics in their homes and designing hypothetical rockets. I know you can't print a rocket on a 3D printer, but sure someone can start a fake fad that encourages at least some clueless managers to start crowdsourcing rocket designs? It might not necessarily lead to a spaceflight revolution, but at least it will be entertaining (as long as there aren't any settlements near the launch pads).

    * OK... Sure, they have to bake their own bread, because the baker wishes to charge them a fortune, but it's still only bread.
    ** Slower orbital velocity? Fuck that, I declare this nitpicking – Mars is just circling us with negative velocity!
     
  13. sojourner

    sojourner Admiral Admiral

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    Orbital Sciences has already launched to ISS twice.

    I hear SpaceX has a great commissary at the Hawthorne plant.
     
  14. gturner

    gturner Admiral

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    Do they serve Tang?
     
  15. sojourner

    sojourner Admiral Admiral

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    I think they serve all ethnicities.
     
  16. YellowSubmarine

    YellowSubmarine Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Something tells me if I had been reading what other people post here, I would have known that. More reading, less writing, that's what they always tell me.
     
  17. Edit_XYZ

    Edit_XYZ Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I'm reminded of the british WW2 computer development program.
    In 1945, the british were far ahead of the americans in developing computers, with their state-sponsored program.
    Yet the americans blew the british out of the water in the '70s.
    Why?
    Essentially, the british wanted a computer development program, the americans wanted a computer.

    Are we seeing the same process at work in space development nowadays? We'll know with certainty in 5-10 years.
     
  18. gturner

    gturner Admiral

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    The British computer efforts were held up while they tried to figure out how to make it leak oil.
     
  19. gturner

    gturner Admiral

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    As a side note, the US Administration put personal financial sanctions on Russia's deputy prime minister, Dmitry Rogozin, who happens to be in charge of their space program. The Russians had already been dealing with the Administration's ban on NASA discussing anything with their Russian counterparts that doesn't directly relate to ongoing ISS operations.

    So Rogozin said, "After analyzing the sanctions against our space industry, I suggest to the USA to bring their astronauts to the International Space Station using a trampoline."

    So we're probably going to get blocked from ISS access until SpaceX's crewed Dragon is ready (Musk said he would unveil it at the end of May, but there's no flight date set yet). A few weeks ago NASA administrator Bolden told Congress that in the event that Russia refuses to allow US astronauts to ride up to the ISS, he'd recommend canceling Orion and the SLS. That makes little sense because Orion/SLS was never meant for transport to the ISS, and because the statement could only encourage Russia to block our ISS access, since they wouldn't mind seeing us shoot ourselves in the foot.
     
  20. publiusr

    publiusr Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Trampoline huh? Boeing...Boeing...Boeing
     

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