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(io9)   One small hop for SpaceX, a giant leap towards rocket reusability   (io9.com) divider line 56
    More: Spiffy, SpaceX, rocket reusability, launch systems, grasshoppers, rockets, rocket launchers  
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3750 clicks; posted to Geek » on 25 Dec 2012 at 3:46 PM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2012-12-25 01:56:10 PM  
the comments on that site are precious "I wouldn't do it that way", "the DC-X failed, this will fail", "whatever NASA did was perfect, these guys suck", "waste of fuel", "PARACHUTES!!!!"

Bwahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha
None of them seem to understand the concept that Space-X is a business and doing research. They might get things wrong, they might get things right. But. Hello. Computer simulations. Do these cretins think that Space-X forgot about computers and actually modelling the rocket first?? Fuel and all?

If the computer models were unable to come even close to doing what a physical model was desired, why would they build one? "Maybe the computer is wrong!!! Let's just waste a ton of money and see if it works anyways!!!"

Seriously kiddies. Can we at least assume that the engineers calculated some numbers?
 
2012-12-25 03:39:39 PM  
wow.  It went 130 feet.

As a kid, the highest my rockets went were about 100 feet.

That is amaazzzzing!!
 
2012-12-25 03:48:44 PM  
We've already tried reusable rockets. Didn't work. We are here. We will always be here. No amount of sci-fi go-go cheerleading will change that.
 
2012-12-25 04:00:24 PM  
I'm not sure it's practical for reusing rockets, but it's just about exactly what you would need for landing on the Moon or Mars and then taking back off.
 
2012-12-25 04:29:44 PM  
We've never actually "done" reusable rockets, besides the X-15 (pushing the definition) which was pretty successful. Maybe you could count spaceship too.

We did a reusable orbiter which became a boondoggle due to political wrangling and poorly made programmatic decisions. They didn't build the vehicle originally proposed. It's size forced material choices that made it impossible to turnaround quickly.

The dc-x and x-33 were experiments in quick turnaround reusable rockets, but they both fell victim to politics and tightening budgets.
Both have been revived as private programs which will probably be competing with spacex.
Development is a good sign because it means private industry is ready to take on the reigns for exploration.
 
2012-12-25 04:45:37 PM  
Carrying the fuel for the landing seems that it would reduce effective payload quite a bit. Where do they hope to launch this thing from? KSC? Most launches are into relatively equatorial orbits (generally east)... the fuel to turn around and fly it back seems exorbitant. Launching over land has some obvious safety concerns. If they can navigate it precisely enough, perhaps landing it on the deck of a (converted, retired) aircraft carrier (calm seas required; deck pitching would be bad)...

Recovering the expensive engines and discarding the bulky but comparatively inexpensive tanks intuitively sounds like a better idea.

As others have pointed out, their engineers have presumably run the numbers. But Musk is interested in manned Mars missions as well; the technology here might translate well to that. Possibly this is a means of sneaking Mars-related R&D past the investors. So yes, they might do this test even if it looks impractical as a means of reusing the first stage of a Falcon-9.

/end ramble
 
2012-12-25 04:54:53 PM  

Quantum Apostrophe: We've already tried reusable rockets. Didn't work. We are here. We will always be here. No amount of sci-fi go-go cheerleading will change that.


I think I understand. You are roleplaying Marvin, aren't you? Do you cosplay him as well? And did you start before or after the 2005 movie? How did the Marvin portrayed there impact your view of the character?
 
2012-12-25 05:38:25 PM  
Nuclear Stuff now.
 
2012-12-25 05:45:22 PM  

AndreMA: Carrying the fuel for the landing seems that it would reduce effective payload quite a bit. Where do they hope to launch this thing from? KSC? Most launches are into relatively equatorial orbits (generally east)... the fuel to turn around and fly it back seems exorbitant. Launching over land has some obvious safety concerns. If they can navigate it precisely enough, perhaps landing it on the deck of a (converted, retired) aircraft carrier (calm seas required; deck pitching would be bad)...

Recovering the expensive engines and discarding the bulky but comparatively inexpensive tanks intuitively sounds like a better idea.

As others have pointed out, their engineers have presumably run the numbers. But Musk is interested in manned Mars missions as well; the technology here might translate well to that. Possibly this is a means of sneaking Mars-related R&D past the investors. So yes, they might do this test even if it looks impractical as a means of reusing the first stage of a Falcon-9.

/end ramble


Iirc they bought some land in Texas.
The first stage should burn out around 100k(?) and be easily recovered.
The second stage is going to be harder.

Reusability does a few things for them I'm thinking. First it saves a fair shave of money on engines, second it gives them a high altitude platform that can work as a reusable sounding rocket or tourist vehicle. Third it's good practice for landing on the moon and mars.

It's also great public relations if you can do what NASA has stumbled at for years.
 
2012-12-25 05:55:36 PM  

Quantum Apostrophe: We've already tried reusable rockets. Didn't work. We are here. We will always be here. No amount of sci-fi go-go cheerleading will change that.


QA, there's Space Nuttery, (guilty-- at least somewhat) and then there's "Anti-Space-Nuttery" Nuttery... you're really crossing the line with this one. Are you saying we shouldn't attempt innovation in putting things into orbit???

Did you really say "we've already tried..." "Didn't work"???
Did you really MEAN to?

Not that it matters, the crazy billionaire (Bond villian?) doesn't care what you or anybody else thinks.

/He's just one fake volcano away from "You Only Live Twice" here.
 
2012-12-25 06:18:57 PM  

tenpoundsofcheese: wow.  It went 130 feet.

As a kid, the highest my rockets went were about 100 feet.

That is amaazzzzing!!


Did they hover? Did they return in a controlled manner? No? Then fark off, dipshiat. Anyone who has ever studied Control Systems Design can recognize how difficult a feat this is. But then again you have never demonstrated understanding in any topic.

/yes, I know you are just tediously tolling.
//no, it doesn't make it any more sufferable.
 
2012-12-25 06:47:00 PM  
Wow, three posts in and we had not only the Quantum Ass-Postulator but Ten Pounds of Derp as well. That has to be some kind of space troll record. Seriously though, I'm damn glad to see that the Real Bond Villain is still pushing forward with the reusable rocket tests. Seems like they're making fairly solid progress as well.
 
2012-12-25 06:55:52 PM  
When NASA took over the DC-X project, their main goal was to modify it until it failed. In it's last test, it lifted, had an explosion due to human error. Then it moved horizontally, landed and fell over. NASA's take was: "See it doesn't work!"

Musk will make this work.
 
2012-12-25 07:07:36 PM  
I've always been a fan of the x-33 design, and I believe they *did* fix the composite H2 tank issue, only after it was too late to save the program. I like to imagine Lockheed went ahead and built a working version as a black program, flying out of White Sands.
 
2012-12-25 07:18:26 PM  

Hollie Maea: tenpoundsofcheese: wow.  It went 130 feet.

As a kid, the highest my rockets went were about 100 feet.

That is amaazzzzing!!

Did they hover for a brief moment (per tfa)?

Yes, very brief

Did they return in a controlled manner? No?
Yes, within the parameters I expected (the parachute helped the wind, not so much) Then fark off, dipshiat. Anyone who has ever studied failed at understanding Control Systems Design can recognize how difficult a feat this is. But then again you have never demonstrated understanding in any topic.

/yes, I know you are just tediously tolling.
//no, it doesn't make it any more sufferable.


you sound tired.
I give you a 2/17 for poor trolling and improper use of the phrase "Control Systems Design".
 
2012-12-25 07:42:27 PM  
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Space_Shuttle_Solid_Rocket_Booster#Overv i ew

"The two reusable SRBs provided the main thrust to lift the shuttle off the launch pad and up to an altitude of about 150,000 ft (28 mi; 46 km) ... Seventy-five seconds after SRB separation, SRB apogee occurred at an altitude of approximately 220,000 ft (42 mi; 67 km); parachutes are then deployed and impact occurred in the ocean approximately 122 nautical miles (226 km) downrange, after which the two SRBs are recovered."
 
2012-12-25 07:46:56 PM  

natazha: When NASA took over the DC-X project, their main goal was to modify it until it failed. In it's last test, it lifted, had an explosion due to human error. Then it moved horizontally, landed and fell over. NASA's take was: "See it doesn't work!"

Musk will make this work.


There are two kinds of people at NASA and one of them likes cushy job security and getting paid more than advancing the human race. JSC is chock full of lefties who think the people of the USA owe them a check for graduating school.
 
2012-12-25 07:48:50 PM  

StopLurkListen: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Space_Shuttle_Solid_Rocket_Booster#Overv i ew

"The two reusable SRBs provided the main thrust to lift the shuttle off the launch pad and up to an altitude of about 150,000 ft (28 mi; 46 km) ... Seventy-five seconds after SRB separation, SRB apogee occurred at an altitude of approximately 220,000 ft (42 mi; 67 km); parachutes are then deployed and impact occurred in the ocean approximately 122 nautical miles (226 km) downrange, after which the two SRBs are recovered."


you're not familiar with the difference between a solid rocket and a liquid fueled rocket, are you?
 
2012-12-25 08:23:27 PM  

NannyStatePark: natazha: When NASA took over the DC-X project, their main goal was to modify it until it failed. In it's last test, it lifted, had an explosion due to human error. Then it moved horizontally, landed and fell over. NASA's take was: "See it doesn't work!"

Musk will make this work.

There are two kinds of people at NASA and one of them likes cushy job security and getting paid more than advancing the human race. JSC is chock full of lefties who think the people of the USA owe them a check for graduating school.




Could you have found a douchier way to say that? I bet you could.
 
2012-12-25 09:29:18 PM  

rwfan: StopLurkListen: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Space_Shuttle_Solid_Rocket_Booster#Overv i ew

"The two reusable SRBs provided the main thrust to lift the shuttle off the launch pad and up to an altitude of about 150,000 ft (28 mi; 46 km) ... Seventy-five seconds after SRB separation, SRB apogee occurred at an altitude of approximately 220,000 ft (42 mi; 67 km); parachutes are then deployed and impact occurred in the ocean approximately 122 nautical miles (226 km) downrange, after which the two SRBs are recovered."

you're not familiar with the difference between a solid [fueled] rocket and a liquid fueled rocket, are you?


Yes. Something was being reused on the SRB though, it wasn't entirely a single-serving entity.
 
2012-12-25 09:39:07 PM  
Ah, I knew the inevitable Quantum Apostrophe trolling would be strong with this thread.

My counter-argument? There are lots of resources in space. Resources can be sold for profit. Profit is the personal god of multinational corporations capable of putting up enough funding to exploit those resources. Resources in space means we don't have to bother worrying about exhausting the ones we have left on Earth, right? Because fark responsibility.

We're going to space, and we're going to strip-mine it. Walmart on the moon, a Starbucks parked in every Lagrange point, and lots of frozen chunks of pee.

That is our future.
 
2012-12-25 10:09:18 PM  

StopLurkListen: rwfan: StopLurkListen: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Space_Shuttle_Solid_Rocket_Booster#Overv i ew

"The two reusable SRBs provided the main thrust to lift the shuttle off the launch pad and up to an altitude of about 150,000 ft (28 mi; 46 km) ... Seventy-five seconds after SRB separation, SRB apogee occurred at an altitude of approximately 220,000 ft (42 mi; 67 km); parachutes are then deployed and impact occurred in the ocean approximately 122 nautical miles (226 km) downrange, after which the two SRBs are recovered."

you're not familiar with the difference between a solid [fueled] rocket and a liquid fueled rocket, are you?

Yes. Something was being reused on the SRB though, it wasn't entirely a single-serving entity.


Its the containment for the fuel. The whole tube.
Solid fuel is nice because its always ready to go, keeps well, gives you instant thrust and is very reliable.
Problem is its difficult to control and a pain to transport.
Each of those fuel sections had to be hauled down from Alabama by train and assembled with painstaking care. The shuttle had to be transported upright, requiring the specialized crawler and road, but she was heavier out the door.

Compared to the falcon or Saturn V, the shuttle wastes a lot of weight. This added cost and limited its missions. They spent enough fuel on each launch to put a man on the moon but only got 25 tons of cargo to orbit.

/There as a lot of room for improvement.
/but a temporary patch became the permanent system.
 
2012-12-25 10:27:45 PM  

way south: StopLurkListen: rwfan: StopLurkListen: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Space_Shuttle_Solid_Rocket_Booster#Overv i ew

"The two reusable SRBs provided the main thrust to lift the shuttle off the launch pad and up to an altitude of about 150,000 ft (28 mi; 46 km) ... Seventy-five seconds after SRB separation, SRB apogee occurred at an altitude of approximately 220,000 ft (42 mi; 67 km); parachutes are then deployed and impact occurred in the ocean approximately 122 nautical miles (226 km) downrange, after which the two SRBs are recovered."

you're not familiar with the difference between a solid [fueled] rocket and a liquid fueled rocket, are you?

Yes. Something was being reused on the SRB though, it wasn't entirely a single-serving entity.

Its the containment for the fuel. The whole tube.
Solid fuel is nice because its always ready to go, keeps well, gives you instant thrust and is very reliable.
Problem is its difficult to control and a pain to transport.
Each of those fuel sections had to be hauled down from Alabama by train and assembled with painstaking care. The shuttle had to be transported upright, requiring the specialized crawler and road, but she was heavier out the door.

Compared to the falcon or Saturn V, the shuttle wastes a lot of weight. This added cost and limited its missions. They spent enough fuel on each launch to put a man on the moon but only got 25 tons of cargo to orbit.

/There as a lot of room for improvement.
/but a temporary patch became the permanent system.


Good information. Thanks!
 
2012-12-25 11:31:03 PM  

BolloxReader: Quantum Apostrophe: We've already tried reusable rockets. Didn't work. We are here. We will always be here. No amount of sci-fi go-go cheerleading will change that.

I think I understand. You are roleplaying Marvin, aren't you? Do you cosplay him as well? And did you start before or after the 2005 movie? How did the Marvin portrayed there impact your view of the character?


He just wants to protect us from the terrible secret of space.
 
2012-12-25 11:43:44 PM  

Quantum Apostrophe: We've already tried reusable rockets. Didn't work. We are here. We will always be here. No amount of sci-fi go-go cheerleading will change that.


cynical, but succinct. I can respect that.
 
2012-12-26 12:07:15 AM  

maltedmothball: Quantum Apostrophe: We've already tried reusable rockets. Didn't work. We are here. We will always be here. No amount of sci-fi go-go cheerleading will change that.

cynical, but succinct. I can respect that.


Powered flight was tried many times and didn't work. That's why airplanes don't exist today.
 
2012-12-26 12:17:30 AM  
Is this supposed to serve as the first stage, then rocket itself all the way back to land vertically? Or will it parachute 95% of the way down then use the rocket for a soft, vertical landing? Is there an article that explains the future plans for this?
 
2012-12-26 12:18:36 AM  

Farker Soze: BolloxReader: Quantum Apostrophe: We've already tried reusable rockets. Didn't work. We are here. We will always be here. No amount of sci-fi go-go cheerleading will change that.

I think I understand. You are roleplaying Marvin, aren't you? Do you cosplay him as well? And did you start before or after the 2005 movie? How did the Marvin portrayed there impact your view of the character?

He just wants to protect us from the terrible secret of space.


What if the terrible secret of space is immortality? How ironic would that be?
 
2012-12-26 12:23:34 AM  

Bisu: Farker Soze: BolloxReader: Quantum Apostrophe: We've already tried reusable rockets. Didn't work. We are here. We will always be here. No amount of sci-fi go-go cheerleading will change that.

I think I understand. You are roleplaying Marvin, aren't you? Do you cosplay him as well? And did you start before or after the 2005 movie? How did the Marvin portrayed there impact your view of the character?

He just wants to protect us from the terrible secret of space.

What if the terrible secret of space is immortality? How ironic would that be?


either way, shoving is the answer
 
2012-12-26 01:16:46 AM  

The Bestest: maltedmothball: Quantum Apostrophe: We've already tried reusable rockets. Didn't work. We are here. We will always be here. No amount of sci-fi go-go cheerleading will change that.

cynical, but succinct. I can respect that.

Powered flight was tried many times and didn't work. That's why airplanes don't exist today.


BOOM
open heart surgery
heart transplants
lung transplants
organ

well you probably see a pattern here
pretty much nothing worked right the first time
incremental improvement
 
2012-12-26 01:27:50 AM  

Bisu: Is this supposed to serve as the first stage, then rocket itself all the way back to land vertically? Or will it parachute 95% of the way down then use the rocket for a soft, vertical landing? Is there an article that explains the future plans for this?


yes first stage, part of the first stage
parachute 95% + soft landing jets would be a pretty obvious hybrid method with much much less fuel needs
part of R&D is to discover what you dont know
if they knew everything then anyone could do this
 
2012-12-26 02:26:02 AM  

Quantum Apostrophe: We've already tried reusable rockets. Didn't work. We are here. We will always be here. No amount of sci-fi go-go cheerleading will change that.


And yet again you prove why I have you labeled as a sad space exploration hater. I cant wait to see how this all works when they get it as right as possible and launch people to mars or even just into orbit much cheaper than NASA has done. Woo hoo for future Bond villain extraordinaire.
 
2012-12-26 02:26:28 AM  

Quantum Apostrophe: We've already tried reusable rockets. Didn't work. We are here. We will always be here. No amount of sci-fi go-go cheerleading will change that.


kaitlinring.files.wordpress.com
 
2012-12-26 02:28:10 AM  

lokisbong: Quantum Apostrophe: We've already tried reusable rockets. Didn't work. We are here. We will always be here. No amount of sci-fi go-go cheerleading will change that.

And yet again you prove why I have you labeled as a sad space exploration hater. I cant wait to see how this all works when they get it as right as possible and launch people to mars or even just into orbit much cheaper than NASA has done. Woo hoo for future Bond villain extraordinaire.


didnt they already resupply the space station much cheaper than the old methods ??
 
2012-12-26 02:31:42 AM  

namatad: lokisbong: Quantum Apostrophe: We've already tried reusable rockets. Didn't work. We are here. We will always be here. No amount of sci-fi go-go cheerleading will change that.

And yet again you prove why I have you labeled as a sad space exploration hater. I cant wait to see how this all works when they get it as right as possible and launch people to mars or even just into orbit much cheaper than NASA has done. Woo hoo for future Bond villain extraordinaire.

didnt they already resupply the space station much cheaper than the old methods ??


Probably but I don't know for sure. I have not done the research or the math. Either way I like Mr Musks style.
 
2012-12-26 02:33:25 AM  
Link

Under NASA's Commercial Resupply Services contract, SpaceX will fly at least 12 cargo missions to the space station through 2016. The contract is worth $1.6 billion.

and more this
Link
 
2012-12-26 02:39:16 AM  

LasersHurt: NannyStatePark: natazha: When NASA took over the DC-X project, their main goal was to modify it until it failed. In it's last test, it lifted, had an explosion due to human error. Then it moved horizontally, landed and fell over. NASA's take was: "See it doesn't work!"

Musk will make this work.

There are two kinds of people at NASA and one of them likes cushy job security and getting paid more than advancing the human race. JSC is chock full of lefties who think the people of the USA owe them a check for graduating school.

Could you have found a douchier way to say that? I bet you could.


Yet, you do not disagree. I know more about NASA than I wish I did.
 
2012-12-26 02:41:56 AM  

lokisbong: Probably but I don't know for sure. I have not done the research or the math. Either way I like Mr Musks style.


Link
claims that it was about half the cost/kg of the shuttle
a little more than the proton-M
much less than the other current launch systems
and predicting that future systems will continue to come down lower in price

strange market thingy could continue to happen
any competition could further lower costs and a private company has incentives to continuously improve launch systems to lower costs and improve profits.

only took us 50 years to get here but it looks like commercial space flight is taking off
sigh
too lazy to rewrite that
 
2012-12-26 02:46:42 AM  

Bisu: Farker Soze: BolloxReader: Quantum Apostrophe: We've already tried reusable rockets. Didn't work. We are here. We will always be here. No amount of sci-fi go-go cheerleading will change that.

I think I understand. You are roleplaying Marvin, aren't you? Do you cosplay him as well? And did you start before or after the 2005 movie? How did the Marvin portrayed there impact your view of the character?

He just wants to protect us from the terrible secret of space.

What if the terrible secret of space is immortality? How ironic would that be?


I think the secret is that God is not going to pop out from behind Jupiter and say, "I never thought you'd make it!"
 
2012-12-26 02:48:16 AM  

namatad: lokisbong: Probably but I don't know for sure. I have not done the research or the math. Either way I like Mr Musks style.

Link
claims that it was about half the cost/kg of the shuttle
a little more than the proton-M
much less than the other current launch systems
and predicting that future systems will continue to come down lower in price

strange market thingy could continue to happen
any competition could further lower costs and a private company has incentives to continuously improve launch systems to lower costs and improve profits.

only took us 50 years to get here but it looks like commercial space flight is taking off
sigh
too lazy to rewrite that


Sweet! thanks for the link. I learned a bit more than I planned on today. and that's almost always a good thing.
 
2012-12-26 02:50:01 AM  

lokisbong: Sweet! thanks for the link. I learned a bit more than I planned on today. and that's almost always a good thing.


yah, I had found that link a few months ago and really liked it
god I hate the internets, stupid learning new things everyday??
I WAS TOLD THERE WOULD BE NO MATHS
 
2012-12-26 03:12:17 AM  

Alexei Novikov: frozen chunks of pee.


The pee ice would sublimate in a vacuum.
 
2012-12-26 03:25:10 AM  

doglover: Alexei Novikov: frozen chunks of pee.

The pee ice would sublimate in a vacuum.


I know, but it was a funny mental image.
 
2012-12-26 04:37:22 AM  
I don't see how anyone can be negative about this sort of research, I don't know whether SpaceX will ultimately be successful towards their goals of getting to Mars but I'm glad that they are trying at least. I too was skeptical of SpaceX at first, but guess what? They sent a spacecraft to orbit and returned it (a capability that only two national space programs have at the moment. Russia & China), and sent another spacecraft to ISS twice now (Docking and maneuvering is tricky business). So they have my attention, and the benefit of the doubt. Especially when its great that someone is doing this with a concrete goal in mind even as the space faring nations of the world suffer from a lack of long-term vision that isn't murky at best.

Its also worth noting that SpaceX may be the most successful company so far, but they aren't the only one striving to change the way we get to orbit. Blue Origin is another company, founded by the Amazon tycoon Jeff Bezos. Granted their goals are a bit less ambitious at the moment but its great to have people like Bezos and Musk who's wealth has given the ex-nasa engineers the chance to really design spacecraft the way they really want to without all the bureaucratic nonsense. Granted, it takes a partnership between government and private industry but I am optimistic about our future.
 
2012-12-26 06:14:05 AM  
A (wildly optimistic) video.

Either that, or it selectively omits things like parachutes.

First stage return-to-launch-site would involve a once-around sub-orbital profile. A touchdown in Africa might be better. No signs of heat shields.

Second stage return-to-launch-site is the same as any other orbital re-entry. They show a heat shield on the second stage, but still no parachutes.

Dragon return-to-launch-site (or wherever) and still no parachutes.
 
2012-12-26 06:27:10 AM  

Bisu: Is this supposed to serve as the first stage, then rocket itself all the way back to land vertically? Or will it parachute 95% of the way down then use the rocket for a soft, vertical landing? Is there an article that explains the future plans for this?


This was the original promo video.

I'm thinking that parachutes are unnecessary for unmanned stages.
After slowing down in the atmosphere, the stages hit terminal velocity (200 some miles per hour?), so the engines just have to take you from that to zero in the last thousand feet or so.
Since the rocket has spent almost all its fuel (90% of a space rockets weight), its just one giant empty tank.
The engines should be able to push it around like its nothing on whatever gas is left.
 
2012-12-26 07:44:36 AM  

OhioKnight: QA, there's Space Nuttery, (guilty-- at least somewhat) and then there's "Anti-Space-Nuttery" Nuttery... you're really crossing the line with this one. Are you saying we shouldn't attempt innovation in putting things into orbit???


Well said. I was really confused about QA's statement about "we are here, we will always be here." We have things in orbit right now, and we have been for years. We have a great many satellites in orbit with a lot more added every year. This isn't some kind of crazy innovation... it's fact. Doing research to lower the cost of such launches is a sane, conservative business move, not some kind of wild-eyed dream.
 
2012-12-26 09:26:23 AM  

AndreMA: Carrying the fuel for the landing seems that it would reduce effective payload quite a bit. Where do they hope to launch this thing from? KSC? Most launches are into relatively equatorial orbits (generally east)... the fuel to turn around and fly it back seems exorbitant. Launching over land has some obvious safety concerns. If they can navigate it precisely enough, perhaps landing it on the deck of a (converted, retired) aircraft carrier (calm seas required; deck pitching would be bad)...

Recovering the expensive engines and discarding the bulky but comparatively inexpensive tanks intuitively sounds like a better idea.

As others have pointed out, their engineers have presumably run the numbers. But Musk is interested in manned Mars missions as well; the technology here might translate well to that. Possibly this is a means of sneaking Mars-related R&D past the investors. So yes, they might do this test even if it looks impractical as a means of reusing the first stage of a Falcon-9.

/end ramble


Apparently fuel is only 1% or so of the cost of a launch, most of it is in rebuilding/repairing the engines after a typical use. If I were to guess, it seems to me that self landing stages might be possible. You could have a few stages that use half their fuel then break off and land with the other half of their fuel, ready to be reused.
 
2012-12-26 10:39:15 AM  

Bisu: Farker Soze: BolloxReader: Quantum Apostrophe: We've already tried reusable rockets. Didn't work. We are here. We will always be here. No amount of sci-fi go-go cheerleading will change that.

I think I understand. You are roleplaying Marvin, aren't you? Do you cosplay him as well? And did you start before or after the 2005 movie? How did the Marvin portrayed there impact your view of the character?

He just wants to protect us from the terrible secret of space.

What if the terrible secret of space is immortality? How ironic would that be?


Actually, the terrible secret of space is....space herpes.
 
2012-12-26 11:16:24 AM  

jack21221: I was really confused about QA's statement about "we are here, we will always be here."


twimg0-a.akamaihd.net
yeah me too.
/will always be hot
 
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