SpaceX Falcon 9 historic landing thread (1st landing attempt & most recent missions)

The Rocketry Forum

Help Support The Rocketry Forum:

OverTheTop

Well-Known Member
TRF Supporter
Joined
Jul 10, 2007
Messages
5,158
Reaction score
2,440
Location
Melbourne Australia
Ok. So jump on the interweb and find where people as lucky as you go for that. I was in Florida a while back but I can't remember where the known good locations were. The launch I went to see was scrubbed but flew later when I was up in Jacksonville.

BTW, have you done the "Early Space" tour at the Cape? Highly recommended if you haven't.
 

georgegassaway

Lifetime Supporter
TRF Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Jan 18, 2009
Messages
4,783
Reaction score
699
Ran across this again, from last August. May have been posted here before.


SpaceX does not catch the fairing halves very often. The ones that land in the ocean but are recovered intact, SpaceX only re-use those for their own missions like Starlink. Because they can never 100% clean them well enough to meet the requirements of more sensitive satellites flown by customers.

Wish I knew if they have been getting better and better at catching them. Impression I have is that only very few are caught, maybe not as much as 20%. They cost about $3 million EACH HALF, so it's important to reuse them as much as possible, whether caught dry or fished out of the water to only be used by SpaceX. Also, some have been damaged during landing or in rough seas, never to be flown again. The annual budget for operating the recovery ships is probably not more than 2 fairing halves, maybe not more than one fairing half, so it's well worth it (I do not recall if they lease the ships or bought the ships).

Oh, come to think of it, transportation costs to ship the brand-new fairings has some cost. So the recovery costs are offset a bit by shipping costs of new ones. Usually they ship by road, sometimes with a Falcon-9 rocket stage. Though I do recall at least once they needed to transport a fairing quickly for a classified satellite, and used a huge AN-124 Russian cargo plane.
 
Last edited:

Marc_G

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 6, 2010
Messages
6,937
Reaction score
962
Location
Indianapolis Metro Area
Thanks George! I've often wondered about these fairings too. How much of the $3M do you figure is likely cost of the refined titanium alloy? Even ones that splash down could probably be melted down and remanufactured for less than a new one from scratch. I remember years ago reading something about these having special properties due to the particular titanium alloy used, it's pricey stuff over $100/kg as I recall.

All said, I love the incremental ability to collect or capture these parts instead of wasting them.
 

davel

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 18, 2009
Messages
597
Reaction score
46
Ms Tree and Ms Chief, as well as the GO Searcher and GO Navigator are owned by "Guice Offshore" .
 

georgegassaway

Lifetime Supporter
TRF Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Jan 18, 2009
Messages
4,783
Reaction score
699
Starlink 19 launch was postponed to late on the 14th, Sunday night:

"Launch targeting February 14, 2021 at 11:20pm EST (0420 UTC on the 15th) on Falcon 9 (booster 1059.6) from CCSFS SLC-40. ASDS landing is expected on OCISLY, towed by tugboat Hawk. Fairing recovery is expected."

Starship SN-10 has been undergoing tests. Might fly next week. When it does fly, it is supposed to try out a 3-engine flip maneuver, then shut down one if all three are good.
 

georgegassaway

Lifetime Supporter
TRF Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Jan 18, 2009
Messages
4,783
Reaction score
699
Launch for Starlink 19 still planned for tonight at 11:21 PM EST.

But weather seems about 40% GO (really screwing with the Daytona 500 too).

Webcast here if it happens tonight.


Starship SN-10, no FAA approval for it to fly yet (which as learned recently, waivers/TFR over a site are not the same as approval for a specific vehicle to fly). If that happens soon, MAYBE a flight this week.

Elon Musk recently tweeted that he gives SN-10 a 60% chance of landing safely. And it will ignite 3 engines for the flip this time.
 

Sooner Boomer

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 21, 2011
Messages
3,439
Reaction score
1,018
SpaceX is targeting Monday, February 15 for launch of 60 Starlink satellites from Space Launch Complex 40 (SLC-40) at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida. The instantaneous window is at 10:59 p.m. EST, or 3:59 UTC on February 16.
 

georgegassaway

Lifetime Supporter
TRF Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Jan 18, 2009
Messages
4,783
Reaction score
699
This link is always updated to show the latest launch webcast. So, it'll be good regardless of a delay to another day or not.


Still set for 10:59 PM EST tonight
 

OverTheTop

Well-Known Member
TRF Supporter
Joined
Jul 10, 2007
Messages
5,158
Reaction score
2,440
Location
Melbourne Australia
The three seagulls were mostly unperturbed on OCISLY. Wonder why the booster missed. It was interesting that telemetry was lost from stage one just after entry burn. Not sure if it had anything to do with it though.
 

davel

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 18, 2009
Messages
597
Reaction score
46
Did you notice there appeared to be flames from the bottom even after the entry burn should have terminated? It looked bad at that point.
 

BEC

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 19, 2009
Messages
3,629
Reaction score
587
Location
Auburn, WA
Did you notice there appeared to be flames from the bottom even after the entry burn should have terminated? It looked bad at that point.
Yes. And shortly after that the first stage telemetry readout on the webcast froze. But when they cut to the drone ship I figured it was just what they were feeding the public that was missing. Then there was a little orange glow in the upper RH corner and the seagulls on the drone ship just kept on walking around.....

I'm with Mark - when was the last time they missed one? It's been awhile. And I wonder if this will have a bearing on the next Starlink mission which is supposed to be in a couple of days (that's the one they have postponed repeatedly).

Added: Spaceflight Now says the last time they lost one was March of last year. So not as long as I'd thought.

Added after davel's post below: SFN also says they had a string of 24 consecutive landings before tonight. So....at least they agree with EA on the number if not the exact time frame :)
 
Last edited:

davel

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 18, 2009
Messages
597
Reaction score
46
Everyday Astronaut says last booster loss was over a year ago. This *would* have been the 25th consecutive landing.
 

georgegassaway

Lifetime Supporter
TRF Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Jan 18, 2009
Messages
4,783
Reaction score
699


I'm not sure if the burning from the bottom seen after the re-entry burn was anything bad, or heating that's not usually visible in daylight. In any case, the bright lighting seen for a few seconds far away from the ASDS barge (OCISLY) indicates that the engine was firing for some time, not an instant splash with no relight. So, it seemed off course for some reason.

Wisecrack on the NSF feed was the booster saw the birds on the deck and chose to abort the landing to save them. :) (or words to that effect). Yeah, those would be dead birds if it had landed there, they could not have flown away fast enough to make it due to the sound waves. Makes me wonder if they'll add some sort of acoustic (or whatever) device to ward off birds from landing on the ASDS, to avoid the public fallout from a repeat that would show birds being killed in a future landing. Guarantee you that this landing failure in the dark with just a brief glow in the dark sky will get FAR less public attention, than a safe landing that killed the birds would have.

MLB Pitcher Randy Johnson made tens of thousands of pitches in his career. THIS is the one he'll probably be most remembered for, when a bird flew into the path of one of his pitches:
 

OverTheTop

Well-Known Member
TRF Supporter
Joined
Jul 10, 2007
Messages
5,158
Reaction score
2,440
Location
Melbourne Australia
Did you notice there appeared to be flames from the bottom even after the entry burn should have terminated? It looked bad at that point.
I was wondering if that was plasma from hitting the atmosphere. It was decelerating nicely at that point so atmosphere was there, dissipating entry energy. I think I have seen that before, but can't remember for sure.
 

Marc_G

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 6, 2010
Messages
6,937
Reaction score
962
Location
Indianapolis Metro Area
As for the brief glow... My impression is it was pretty far away from the barge. Like, maybe quarter mile distance, not a few yards. I speculate that there was some tech problem and the software aborted the barge landing so as not to damage it coming down, purposefully splashing down a bit away.

Remember the one that landed just offshore instead of planned RTLS... It was spinning axially and gained control at last moment with soft landing on the water? I read that the flight profile and software programming were such that landing on the pad would only happen if things looked good on the way down. The default mode in case of failure was splash. Probably last night was similar.
 

georgegassaway

Lifetime Supporter
TRF Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Jan 18, 2009
Messages
4,783
Reaction score
699
The default mode in case of failure was splash. Probably last night was similar.
Default mode is indeed a splash in case of failure. But that's not an "active" thing, it is a passive thing since the booster will always fall ballistically into the ocean if the guidance is not working properly.

The one that was going to do an RTLS, but spun because one of the grid fins went dead at an angle, just rolled ballasitcally towards the water. The fact it actually soft landed was sort of funny, but not the fact it was miles from the pad it was supposed to land on. Elon Musk claimed the guidance system"self aborted", like it ACTIVELY steered away from land. Which was total BS. I do not know if he was lying to the public about it, or really lost track of how his own rocket works in an unusual situation like that. Bottom line, he should know better than to have said that.

As for this lost booster, some comments and observations on NSF are interesting. One said the re-entry burn was not normal, it usually ignites the center engine, then fire three, then back to one, then none. They indicated it didn't do that normal sequence. Another did a side by side screen comparison of when the last night launch shut down after the re-entry burn, and this one. The previous flight was a dark screen, this flight had all that streaming glowing stuff going on after shutdown. So something was off right there. The loss of video and data might be coincidental, or might be a clue. Another interesting observation was the timing between the last big flash (kaboom), and the startled seagulls taking off due to the explosion, indicated a time delay equal to about 2 miles distance. That would be the farthest ever miss of a booster trying to land on an ASDS, way farther than if programming realized it was not going to make it and actively tried to abort it. Morel like a ballistic path with no grid fin steering. It is looking like whatever happened, it started to go bad around the time of the re-entry burn. If for example it only lit the center engine, it would not have slowed enough to avoid heat damage on re-entry. So it was likely badly damaged before trying to do the landing burn. Possibly the varying intensity of the lighting in the sky before impact could indicate it was breaking up or spinning or tumbling crazily out of control.

Still, it's puzzle.
 
Last edited:

davel

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 18, 2009
Messages
597
Reaction score
46
Appeared to me the entry burn was effective, but didn't terminate correctly. The burn bled off about 3000 km/hr of vertical velocity, and at shutdown the velocity continued to decrease (which is normal, the booster is now deep into the atmosphere).
 

BEC

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 19, 2009
Messages
3,629
Reaction score
587
Location
Auburn, WA
You'd figure Scott Manley would compare the successful-but-lost-booster mission last night with the completely successful one a couple of weeks ago. And he did:
 

ThirstyBarbarian

Well-Known Member
TRF Supporter
Joined
Feb 11, 2013
Messages
8,651
Reaction score
1,283
I'm getting excited about the possibility of another Starship test flight this week. SN10 needs to do a static test, and then I guess if that is good, they will fly it, maybe as soon as this week.

I read an article that I don't have a link to that said, after SN10, there is an SN11 prototype of basically the same design, and SN11 is the last of this design. The plan was for SN15 to have major upgrades, and the prototypes SN8-SN14 were to be the same basic design for testing before doing the upgrades. They've stopped doing work on parts designated for 12, 13, and 14, and they have begun stacking SN15. So presumably that means they already have enough information from the test flights so far, or expect to have it by the time they have flown SN11, that they are comfortable canceling the remaining prototypes of this design and moving on to the major upgrades for SN15. That seems like good news.

As much as I'm enjoying the crashes and big booms, I hope they can successfully land SN10 or SN11 before moving on to SN15.

Exciting times!
 

Reinhard

Well-Known Member
TRF Supporter
Joined
Jan 18, 2009
Messages
1,152
Reaction score
362
Location
Austria
I read an article that I don't have a link to that said, after SN10, there is an SN11 prototype of basically the same design, and SN11 is the last of this design. The plan was for SN15 to have major upgrades, and the prototypes SN8-SN14 were to be the same basic design for testing before doing the upgrades. They've stopped doing work on parts designated for 12, 13, and 14, and they have begun stacking SN15. So presumably that means they already have enough information from the test flights so far, or expect to have it by the time they have flown SN11, that they are comfortable canceling the remaining prototypes of this design and moving on to the major upgrades for SN15. That seems like good news.
SpaceX began to scrap SN12, for which major sections were already built, a month ago. SN5 and SN6 are also being scrapped or have already been scrapped. SN13 and SN14 never showed significant progress.
A nice visual status update of SpaceX's build progress can be found in the Twitter feed of Brendan Lewis.

This was his last update:
1614031279402.png


Source:

To put the build cadence into perspective: SN1 got destroyed during testing almost exactly one year ago (Feb 28th, 2020).

Reinhard
 
Last edited:

georgegassaway

Lifetime Supporter
TRF Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Jan 18, 2009
Messages
4,783
Reaction score
699
To put the build cadence into perspective: SN1 got destroyed during testing almost exactly one year ago (Feb 28th, 2020).
The thing that so many forget, and lots of fanbois pretend not to be true, is that SN1 was supposed to fly late October to November of 2019 (yes, I said 2019). It turned out to be a hunk of junk, relatively speaking (so many wrinkles from hand-laid pieces welded 100% by hand). So instead of flying it, they pressurized it to see how much it woud take before bursting. And then finally got their crap together, bringing serious machinery to help with fabrication and automated welding.
 
Last edited:

ThirstyBarbarian

Well-Known Member
TRF Supporter
Joined
Feb 11, 2013
Messages
8,651
Reaction score
1,283
SpaceX began to scrap SN12, for which major sections were already built, a month ago. SN5 and SN6 are also being scrapped or have already been scrapped. SN13 and SN14 never showed significant progress.
A nice visual status update of SpaceX's build progress can be found in the Twitter feed of Brendan Lewis.

This was his last update:
View attachment 451908

Source:

To put the build cadence into perspective: SN1 got destroyed during testing almost exactly one year ago (Feb 28th, 2020).

Reinhard
Thanks for posting that link to the status updates.
 

georgegassaway

Lifetime Supporter
TRF Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Jan 18, 2009
Messages
4,783
Reaction score
699
After delays, Starlink 17 launch finally scheduled for today.

"SpaceX is targeting Sunday, February 28 for launch of 60 Starlink satellites from Launch Complex 39A (LC-39A) at Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The instantaneous window is at 8:37 p.m. EST, or 1:37 UTC on March 1."


Starship SN-10 test flight attempt likely this week. Of course, it was also "likely" last week, too. They did a static firing, it ended prematurely, swapped out an engine, and did another firing.
 
Last edited:

Mushtang

Premium Member
TRF Supporter
Joined
Nov 29, 2011
Messages
3,101
Reaction score
538
Location
Buford, Ga
Scrubbed. I swear that rocket is cursed. I wouldn't be surprised if when it finally launches it blows up on the way to orbit.
 

georgegassaway

Lifetime Supporter
TRF Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Jan 18, 2009
Messages
4,783
Reaction score
699
Well, F9 launch scrub. Next possible opportunity to launch is 8:15 PM EST Monday.

This link is always good for the next launch (or seeing the last launch befpre they update the page):


SN#10 was "teasing" with a possible launch Monday, but that has moved to Wednesday at the earliest.
 
Top