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

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cvanc

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Heck, they were loading engines while they were welding the upper & lower tanks together. The pace itself is one of his most remarkable developments.

Speaking of welding, what is that ring around the middle in the last photo? Is that the welding robot? Or do they do that stuff by hand?
 

Troy3003

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Heck, they were loading engines while they were welding the upper & lower tanks together. The pace itself is one of his most remarkable developments.

Speaking of welding, what is that ring around the middle in the last photo? Is that the welding robot? Or do they do that stuff by hand?
Looks like scaffold walk boards
Edit: won't mention the OSHA violations there, lol
 

cvanc

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Troy, I zoomed in and... Good Lord, you're right. It's a cheesy wooden scaffold. What the heck.
 

cvanc

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They're rolling out BN4 as I write this, and the good folk at nasaspaceflight posted this for a bit. It made me realize I am completely misunderstanding the launch process.

So the little thing is the orbital/2-stage launch pad?? I really thought they intended to launch from on top of the tall thing, the "tower". Because it never occurred to me to launch such a gigantic rocket so close to the ground!

If this is true, how in the world is their pad so tiny and insubstantial compared to, say, the launch pads of virtually any other rocket since Redstone? Are they really gonna fire 29 engines from a hundred feet up tops, onto flat dry concrete? How's that gonna work out? Genuinely puzzled here...

And I guess the tower is just the 'catcher' for booster landings?
launch site.jpg
 

rklapp

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They're rolling out BN4 as I write this, and the good folk at nasaspaceflight posted this for a bit. It made me realize I am completely misunderstanding the launch process.

So the little thing is the orbital/2-stage launch pad?? I really thought they intended to launch from on top of the tall thing, the "tower". Because it never occurred to me to launch such a gigantic rocket so close to the ground!

If this is true, how in the world is their pad so tiny and insubstantial compared to, say, the launch pads of virtually any other rocket since Redstone? Are they really gonna fire 29 engines from a hundred feet up tops, onto flat dry concrete? How's that gonna work out? Genuinely puzzled here...

And I guess the tower is just the 'catcher' for booster landings?View attachment 475531
They’ll roll both out to the tower where the yet to be installed crane will stack S20 on BN4.


Looks like scaffold walk boards
Edit: won't mention the OSHA violations there, lol
I’ve watched them walking around on video and they’re tied off to the horizontal lifeline. It’s okay because if they fall, there’s plenty of boom reaches available.
 

OverTheTop

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If this is true, how in the world is their pad so tiny and insubstantial compared to, say, the launch pads of virtually any other rocket since Redstone? Are they really gonna fire 29 engines from a hundred feet up tops, onto flat dry concrete? How's that gonna work out? Genuinely puzzled here...
Maybe they are going to use something like the Apollo 1 pad had. Here is a pic from my KSC visit a few years back. The flame diverters were placed under the concrete pad.
Apoll11Pad.JPG


They definitely won't be firing directly onto the concrete. They had a problem with that a while back where a chunk of concrete spalled off and damaged one of the motors (can't remember which flight).
 

ThirstyBarbarian

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I think the Starship launches actually have been basically straight off the ground, haven’t they? No launch tower, no flame trench, no water deluge system. It’s designed to land back on the ground under thrust, so it was able to launch that way too.

This beast is so much bigger and has so much more thrust, I have trouble imagining blasting straight into the pad, but I don’t think there’s going to be what we think of as the normal setup for handling the exhaust.
 

cvanc

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I hear ya Thirsty but 3 engines is a lot different, right?

I swear, I saw an early animation showing that thing launching from the top of the tower. I really thought that was the plan.

(Hmm, this gets me to a side question: What is the smallest rocket to ever use a water deluge system?)
 

rklapp

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I’ve watched them walking around on video and they’re tied off to the horizontal lifeline. It’s okay because if they fall, there’s plenty of boom reaches available.
Although there's a guardrail on the outside, everyone except the cameraman is tied off to the lifeline so they don't fall between the platform and the rocket. That would be one way to go...

1628122578063.png



 

Peartree

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Is anyone other than me concerned that when you install 29 complex machines, and assemble them into an even larger, more complex machine, and do it all in one night, there doesn't seem to leave room for being careful, cautious, and meticulous? Clearly they did it. So clearly it's *possible.*

But is it possible to do so with enough care to avoid making some stupid careless mistake somewhere such that no one noticed?

I used to work in quality assurance and doing something that complex, at that speed, would worry me.
 

davel

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Is anyone other than me concerned that when you install 29 complex machines, and assemble them into an even larger, more complex machine, and do it all in one night, there doesn't seem to leave room for being careful, cautious, and meticulous? Clearly they did it. So clearly it's *possible.*

But is it possible to do so with enough care to avoid making some stupid careless mistake somewhere such that no one noticed?

I used to work in quality assurance and doing something that complex, at that speed, would worry me.
Just looking at one Raptor engine is scary. A rocket engine is basically a simple device, but you sure couldn't tell that from one of these.
 

ThirstyBarbarian

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rklapp

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Is anyone other than me concerned that when you install 29 complex machines, and assemble them into an even larger, more complex machine, and do it all in one night, there doesn't seem to leave room for being careful, cautious, and meticulous? Clearly they did it. So clearly it's *possible.*

But is it possible to do so with enough care to avoid making some stupid careless mistake somewhere such that no one noticed?

I used to work in quality assurance and doing something that complex, at that speed, would worry me.
Some of the Raptors were spray painted instead of stenciled. NSF speculated the tech was painting the number on the engine while it was being trucked out of the factory.
 

boatgeek

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Is anyone other than me concerned that when you install 29 complex machines, and assemble them into an even larger, more complex machine, and do it all in one night, there doesn't seem to leave room for being careful, cautious, and meticulous? Clearly they did it. So clearly it's *possible.*

But is it possible to do so with enough care to avoid making some stupid careless mistake somewhere such that no one noticed?

I used to work in quality assurance and doing something that complex, at that speed, would worry me.
In theory* it shouldn’t be a problem to install that many engines in a day. Each engine is complex but it has relatively few attachment points. Fuel, oxidizer, structural attachment, control and monitoring, and maybe steering. I believe that most of the Raptors are fixed and only a few gimbal. If they were designed for rapid installation, it might not take too much time for each engine. The bottom of the rocket is big enough that you could also probably have several teams working at once. QA is definitely an issue though.

* In theory, there’s no difference between theory and practice.
 

Antares JS

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Is anyone other than me concerned that when you install 29 complex machines, and assemble them into an even larger, more complex machine, and do it all in one night, there doesn't seem to leave room for being careful, cautious, and meticulous? Clearly they did it. So clearly it's *possible.*

But is it possible to do so with enough care to avoid making some stupid careless mistake somewhere such that no one noticed?

I used to work in quality assurance and doing something that complex, at that speed, would worry me.
Do we know that the engine mate is totally complete? Bolting 29 engines to the thrust structure and plumbing them are two very different things. The former seems doable in one night with multiple crews working on engines at different locations, but if they bolted them on AND plumbed them in one night, that would shock me. Plumbing engines takes more time and care.
 

ThirstyBarbarian

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I think those engines are designed to be installed quickly. On Starship, they were sometimes swapped out at the pad, so I think it’s designed to be relatively easy compared to other rocket engines. But it does seem crazy they could install 29 engines in 12-14 hours, and everything go perfectly.
 

cvanc

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Clearly, if we were all in charge Elon would be given a stern talking to :p

I saw the hand sprayed serial numbers and that certainly smacks of skipping an ISO-approved step or two lol

Also the interior of several nozzles was distinctly white. Which begs the question: Is that what they look like before their very first firing? In other words are some of these as yet untested? I dunno....
 

Peartree

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Do we know that the engine mate is totally complete? Bolting 29 engines to the thrust structure and plumbing them are two very different things. The former seems doable in one night with multiple crews working on engines at different locations, but if they bolted them on AND plumbed them in one night, that would shock me. Plumbing engines takes more time and care.
That would make sense. If true, I would feel a little better. Not that Elon gives a crap about my feelings...
 

rklapp

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Elon said he wants the turnaround time of the booster to be 1 hour from landing to take off. Any potentially problematic engine can be swapped out like a NASCAR pit crew.

I imagine you have to be resilient to motion sickness to elevate that high in the boom reach. Personally, I think that's the major technological improvement over the 60s that allows SpaceX to put together these massive rockets in the open without a gigantic assembly building.

1628183139443.png


In other news,

 

Reinhard

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SpaceX is now trying to stack SN20 onto BN4.
1628194102500.png

Source:

Live stream here:
In true SpaceX fashion, right now a major crane lift - putting a cryo shell over a GSE tank - happens directly next to SN20.

Apparently, this is just some kind of fit test. Most of the GSE does not yet appear ready to support a launch (tanks and piping are obvious examples). So the Raptors are probably not fully ready.

Reinhard
 

ThirstyBarbarian

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With the pace they are going right now, I feel like Elon watched the Branson and Bezos wiener-measuring contest and said, “Screw you guys, I’m going to Mars by the end of the week!”
 

rklapp

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Remember back in the old days when they used to launch the silos instead?

1628300473556.png


1628300667827.png
 
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