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

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Nytrunner

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Pure kinematics says +6000m, but that ignores aero drag, and starship is not exactly a low drag body (whichever way its flying).

Ill be surprised if they can actually test the supersonic descent phase on a suborbital launch
 

Charles_McG

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Ill be surprised if they can actually test the supersonic descent phase on a suborbital launch
Since Starship isn't [currently] built to deliver payloads - it seems reasonable that they'd explore all the flight plan they can before stacking it for an orbital flight. The F9 booster certainly gets high enough to come down supersonic without being an orbital flight.
 

heada

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SpaceX makes a point of calling out that these flights are to test the sub-sonic flight envelope.

Has anyone done a back-of-the-envelope calculation for how high they'll need to fly to crack the speed of sound during freefall?
I thought the idea of the "belly-flop" was to increase drag enough so that terminal velocity is low enough that it wouldn't be supersonic.
 

Nytrunner

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Since Starship isn't [currently] built to deliver payloads - it seems reasonable that they'd explore all the flight plan they can before stacking it for an orbital flight. The F9 booster certainly gets high enough to come down supersonic without being an orbital flight.
I really don't think its a matter of high enough, but more fast enough. F9 goes sideways real fast in order to get the 2nd stage in orbital position, then has to turn and burn off all that speed to return to barge/launchsite (you know all this, I'm just putting it on the table). With that in mind, I'll update my statement to: I'll be surprised if they can test the supersonic descent phase with a suborbital hop like they've been doing up to now.
 

cvanc

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Amazing achievement. There was for sure unusual fire up the side before it landed.
 

boatgeek

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Here's a comparison of SN5's leg deployment last summer (SN-5 tilted after landing), and SN10's. Have to look close, but for SN10 clearly at least one of the six legs did not lock, it was free-swinging. Still, SN10 hit hard enough to actually bounce up a little bit (not visible in this video but clearly so in the multicopter view, once you look for a bounce). So with the unusual flames before landing, and the harder than it should have been landing, I'm not buying into an undeployed leg as the primary culprit for any new leak or whatever happened to make it blow 8 minutes later.

Thanks for the videos. In the last one, I see two legs free swinging at the end, one just to the right of center and one to the far left.
 

Peartree

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Ill be surprised if they can actually test the supersonic descent phase on a suborbital launch
Ill be surprised if they can actually test the supersonic descent phase on an UNPOWERED descent.

Depending on fuel availability, a powered descent would seem to be an option. Maybe not a good one, but you *could* cruise missile up to the speeds you wanted to test.
 

Winston

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It visibly bounced on landing. The feed from the NASASpaceflight channel showed it listing badly and they wisely kept their feed live for that reason unlike the SpaceX feed which said "Success!" and quickly got out of Dodge. 99% success I'd guess. On the way up, one of two engines running at the time had an obvious orange flame while the other had the standard blue. Anyone know what that was all about?
 

Winston

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On the way up, one of two engines running at the time had an obvious orange flame while the other had the standard blue. Anyone know what that was all about?
He mentions the color and said it may be an indication of a fuel rich condition which makes sense since I also noticed from one of the video feeds that there was a very faint, intermittent trail of back smoke (soot) from one of the engines.

 

Mugs914

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I'm mighty impressed with that they have achieved. Gotta keep in mind that this version of Starship is like what the lifting bodies were to the shuttle; proof of concept, experimental vehicles. There are going to be a lot of things to learn along the way, and with bold concepts learning often comes in (very) bright flashes!

Just goes to show (again) that rockets are hard!

Well, there are Alpha IIIs; Alpha IIIs are easy... 😎
 

rklapp

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I'm mighty impressed with that they have achieved. Gotta keep in mind that this version of Starship is like what the lifting bodies were to the shuttle; proof of concept, experimental vehicles. There are going to be a lot of things to learn along the way, and with bold concepts learning often comes in (very) bright flashes!

Just goes to show (again) that rockets are hard!

Well, there are Alpha IIIs; Alpha IIIs are easy... 😎
The most complicated way to move a grain silo. Exploded like one also...
 

georgegassaway

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Honestly, how many of you are secretly hoping for a big boom?
Not me. It would be like secretly hoping for a Saturn-V or Space Shuttle to go boom.

It has begun to be annoying on the various space-related groups I read, where so many people who are supposed to be in favor of this project, are almost "cheering" for the explosions.

Everyday Astronaut, REALLY? Laughing like crazy at the explosion? I'll give him the benefit of the doubt of the excitement of the landing and live stream, and the unexpected surprise of the explosion, his raw emotions led to reacting in that way, rather than actually finding it funny. But others had time to think and type, finding it funny and making jokes. Note I am not referring to anyone in this group, it's stuff I've seen way too much of in the last 24 hours in space and SpaceX-related groups.

And I was going to write about this anyway, Sooner Boomer just gave me a lead-in to start out with (so please do not feel singled out as that is not the intent).

I was super-disappointed that after a safe landing (finally), that yet another one blew up, anyway. The big unknown of this test program was NOT how to re-ignite engines reliably. It was not how to land without a mysterious fire going on onboard. It was not how to land safely vertically (and softly, 15 mph is not softly compared to F9 which is FAR trickier to land). It was not how to deploy legs reliably. It was not how to avoid self-exploding after landing. They worked that out with Falcon-9. A different design,. but those were supposed to be slam-dunks compared to these big two:

The two big unknowns were the belly-flop descent whose descent steering control works out fantastically (The "Adama Maneuver"). And the transition for landing worked out great....when the engines and their plumbing work reliably.

Elon Musk said they'll do "hundreds" of flights before putting people onboard. They need to get the reliability of this stuff worked out pretty soon, and quickly get to a point where a prototype not only survives its first flight, but survives its first 10 flights, then its first 20, and so on (or is superseded by a first production prototype that they fly the crap out of, many dozens of times in a span of months, not years). That was a big reason I was super-disappointed when SN-10 blew up, no chance to see how quickly they could get it ready to fly again, and make a number of flights on it. The excuse "there is another prototype ready to fly anyway", is starting to read like "there is another prototype available to destroy, and SpaceX has unlimited money".

But meanwhile, even the pro-SpaceX media is making jokes about the explosions (such as "two flights in one day"). "Ha-ha-ha, it went Kaboom". They are being way too lackadaisical/irresponsible in waving off what's right in front of their faces.

But if any other news media made a report about yet another spaceX explosion, SpaceX fanbois would attack-dog whoever wrote it.

So, put me in the "rocket explosions are not funny" category. Yes, I posted a couple of memes and a video . But that was before I reached a saturation point in the last 24 hours of seeing people only finding it funny, or pro-kaboom, as a way to ignore yet another disaster. I don't think be posting those anymore.

I'm not "down" on the project. But the problems they have had for being zero and three now for intact vehicles, is a setback even for a development program like this.

Anyway.... a nice video of Boca Chica employees reacting to the landing. They were at the area where StarShips are built.


As regards the Adama Maneuver.....

 
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Marc_G

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I'm with George on the opinion re: explosions.

Meanwhile, "The Adama Maneuver" is one of the best sci-fi sequences ever written, hands down. An in-atmosphere jump at high downward speed to release the vipers safely, followed by a just in time exit jump has a pucker factor that is off the charts.
Great clip reference, George!
 

Mushtang

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I don't see it that way at all. I honestly believe all of those people are hoping for a successful test first of all, and for everything to go well. What I take their "cheering" to mean is that "If it HAS to explode, I want to see it because it looks cool, even though I'd prefer it didn't explode".
 

Mugs914

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Honestly, how many of you are secretly hoping for a big boom?
My comment was directed at Rklapp's grain elevator remark, but that not withstanding, I'm sure there are plenty of cretins out there that are hoping for failure.

The way I see it, any fool can blow something up, but getting a liquid rocket engine to run reliably is difficult enough in the first place, let alone getting all of the other things to go right to successfully complete one of these test missions.

Success will always be more spectacular than failure.
 

Sluggo

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Honestly, how many of you are secretly hoping for a big boom?
Not me. I want to see success more than anything.

Question.... As they go through these test flights, is the Starship 'dressed' just like the real deal.?? n other words, is the cockpit set up with seats.?? Are the computers installed into the dashboard.??(fake computers) Are the hand rails in place.?? Is the weight of the spacecraft identical to the real deal.?? How much detail is in the interior.??
 
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davel

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Not me. I want to see success more than anything.

Question.... As they go through these test flights, is the Starship 'dressed' just like the real deal.?? n other words, is the cockpit set up with seats.?? Are the computers installed into the dashboard.??(fake computers) Are the hand rails in place.?? Is the weight of the spacecraft identical to the real deal.?? How much detail is in the interior.??
Shell, fins, engines, fuel tanks, plumbing, electronics.
 

rklapp

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My comment was directed at Rklapp's grain elevator remark, but that not withstanding, I'm sure there are plenty of cretins out there that are hoping for failure.

The way I see it, any fool can blow something up, but getting a liquid rocket engine to run reliably is difficult enough in the first place, let alone getting all of the other things to go right to successfully complete one of these test missions.

Success will always be more spectacular than failure.
That’s not what I said but I get your point. I sometimes wonder how many watch my videos (not from TRF of course) to witness my failed launches. Probably not many because the videos with the most views are the ones where I launch large rockets in the park successfully.
 

ThirstyBarbarian

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Not me. It would be like secretly hoping for a Saturn-V or Space Shuttle to go boom.

It has begun to be annoying on the various space-related groups I read, where so many people who are supposed to be in favor of this project, are almost "cheering" for the explosions.

Everyday Astronaut, REALLY? Laughing like crazy at the explosion? I'll give him the benefit of the doubt of the excitement of the landing and live stream, and the unexpected surprise of the explosion, his raw emotions led to reacting in that way, rather than actually finding it funny. But others had time to think and type, finding it funny and making jokes. Note I am not referring to anyone in this group, it's stuff I've seen way too much of in the last 24 hours in space and SpaceX-related groups.

And I was going to write about this anyway, Sooner Boomer just gave me a lead-in to start out with (so please do not feel singled out as that is not the intent).

I was super-disappointed that after a safe landing (finally), that yet another one blew up, anyway. The big unknown of this test program was NOT how to re-ignite engines reliably. It was not how to land without a mysterious fire going on onboard. It was not how to land safely vertically (and softly, 15 mph is not softly compared to F9 which is FAR trickier to land). It was not how to deploy legs reliably. It was not how to avoid self-exploding after landing. They worked that out with Falcon-9. A different design,. but those were supposed to be slam-dunks compared to these big two:

The two big unknowns were the belly-flop descent whose descent steering control works out fantastically (The "Adama Maneuver"). And the transition for landing worked out great....when the engines and their plumbing work reliably.

Elon Musk said they'll do "hundreds" of flights before putting people onboard. They need to get the reliability of this stuff worked out pretty soon, and quickly get to a point where a prototype not only survives its first flight, but survives its first 10 flights, then its first 20, and so on (or is superseded by a first production prototype that they fly the crap out of, many dozens of times in a span of months, not years). That was a big reason I was super-disappointed when SN-10 blew up, no chance to see how quickly they could get it ready to fly again, and make a number of flights on it. The excuse "there is another prototype ready to fly anyway", is starting to read like "there is another prototype available to destroy, and SpaceX has unlimited money".

But meanwhile, even the pro-SpaceX media is making jokes about the explosions (such as "two flights in one day"). "Ha-ha-ha, it went Kaboom". They are being way too lackadaisical/irresponsible in waving off what's right in front of their faces.

But if any other news media made a report about yet another spaceX explosion, SpaceX fanbois would attack-dog whoever wrote it.

So, put me in the "rocket explosions are not funny" category. Yes, I posted a couple of memes and a video . But that was before I reached a saturation point in the last 24 hours of seeing people only finding it funny, or pro-kaboom, as a way to ignore yet another disaster. I don't think be posting those anymore.

I'm not "down" on the project. But the problems they have had for being zero and three now for intact vehicles, is a setback even for a development program like this.

Anyway.... a nice video of Boca Chica employees reacting to the landing. They were at the area where StarShips are built.


As regards the Adama Maneuver.....

I wonder if SpaceX feels the same way about it. I kind of doubt it.

I think these SN8-SN14 prototypes were intended to be pretty much disposable after 1 flight and not expected to do multiple flights. Watching those crappy landing legs dangling and flopping around right before “landing” does not seem to indicate they really planned to actually land it and fly it again. Best case scenario with those legs, it comes to rest on its skirt and doesn’t topple over. I’m sure if it landed in such a way that it COULD fly again, they probably would do it. But I don’t think that’s the purpose of this series of flights.

Like you said, this series is more about testing the belly flop, and the flip at the end. If it were about testing the landing and turnaround time for reflight, they would have better landing legs, and they wouldn’t have canceled SN12-SN14 after two crashes and moved on to SN15. I think SN15+ will be more about testing the actual landing and reflight.

I for one DO enjoy the explosions! And I’m also rooting for the success of the program. I don’t think that’s contradictory. This is an iterative design process with lots of expected failures that result in big booms with no one getting hurt. So I wouldn’t exactly say I WANT to see an explosion, but I definitely don’t want to miss one either!
 

georgegassaway

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Meanwhile, "The Adama Maneuver" is one of the best sci-fi sequences ever written, hands down. An in-atmosphere jump at high downward speed to release the vipers safely, followed by a just in time exit jump has a pucker factor that is off the charts.
Great clip reference, George!
Can't take credit for it. John Insprucker mentioned it on SpaceX's SN10 webcast, and perhaps previous ones. Also, SpaceX fans had come up with the name as well (not sure of the chicken or the egg origin of referring to it with that term).
 

OverTheTop

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I am always wishing them success. Sometimes it doesn't go to plan. I thought it would have been good to have SN10 in a museum display if it had not exploded.
 
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