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Spacex reusable rocket test failure

Unread postby Sixstrings » Sat 17 Jan 2015, 18:27:10

Rocket stage's control fins lost power, it crashed into the ship it was supposed to land on. Vine video:

https://vine.co/v/OjqeYWWpVWK

Caught On Tape: Elon Musk's SpaceX Rocket's "Rapid Unscheduled Disassembly" Event

It's not been a great week for Elon Musk. First he admits that Tesla sales in China were disappointing (which further tanked the stock down 15% in the last 3 weeks and over 36% off its record highs from last September) and then his SpaceX project suffered a significant setback in what Musk comedically called a "Full RUD (Rapid Unscheduled Disassembly) event."

As The Telegraph reports,

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk has released the first images from last week's failed landing of its Falcon 9 rocket.

The booster was supposed to have landed on a barge floating off the coast of north-eastern Florida in what would have been a revolutionary first for the space company. The ability to land rockets for reuse is central to Musk's plan to cut the costs of flying into space.

The entrepreneur today gave a more vivid account of what happened, tweeting four dramatic pictures taken by cameras on board the platform. The images, which can be seen below, show the 223-foot-high rocket smashing into the deck of the ship at a 45-degree angle as its stabilising fins lose power.

Elon Musk ✔ @elonmusk
Follow
@ID_AA_Carmack Tks. Turns out we recovered some impact video frames from drone ship. It's kinda begging to be released…

Before impact, fins lose power and go hardover. Engines fights to restore, but …

Rocket hits hard at ~45 deg angle, smashing legs and engine section

Image

Full RUD (rapid unscheduled disassembly) event. Ship is fine minor repairs. Exciting day!
http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2015-01-17/caught-tape-elon-musks-spacex-rockets-rapid-unscheduled-disassembly-event


I'll have to dig into this later, to get more detail.

I'm curious how high of an altitude the stage managed to descend from. If it was very high, this being a first stage booster, then I don't see the huge failure here. Just coming back down on target is success. Now they have to iron out the control fins and see if they really can *land* a first stage booster after such a long descent.

I don't know if they had anyone on that ship or not, but it's good there were no injuries in this test.

They do need to be careful with that. They're doing some big things here, groundbreaking stuff, that others have failed at before. You don't want a rocket stage crashing down into anybody, safety has to be #1.

edit: correction, the tweets say it was a drone ship in the atlantic ocean so nobody was in danger then.

Incidentally, here's a video about the dragon 1 and dragon v2 spacecrafts:

SpaceX Dragon V2 | Unveil Event
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yEQrmDoIRO8


I like what he says about the dragon 2, that a "modern spacecraft should be able to land anywhere on earth with the accuracy of a helicopter."

They definitely have to get this right though, there can't ever be 7 astronauts crashing into the ground like a meteor because retro rockets failed or something.

Musk should be given the freedom to be so innovative and do it his way, but, I think gov should be chipping in a lot of money to be sure they have the resources to make all this happen. Not just money but nasa expertise as well, and so far nasa has done well working with spacex -- a good combo of hands off / giving them the advice they need.

Actually watching this video now, Musk says the dragon v2 still has parachutes on it. And what it will do is test the landing rockets and if there's anomaly then it will deploy the chutes. The rocket landing idea for these capsules is cool as all get out -- but to be honest, I don't really see the utility of it. Sometimes it's better to keep things simple. What can go wrong, will go wrong.. why use rockets when a parachute will work?

For that matter, why has nobody ever landed stage boosters with parachutes, and re-use them that way? The old shuttle reused its boosters if I recall, chute landing into the sea, and I think the main orange tank was waste. Then the shuttle itself cost a fortune just to refit between flights and inspect every tile etc. etc.

Musk is the first to do resusable booster stages, and what he's doing is going for two leaps at once -- landing these stages, AND not using parachutes, but trying to land all his things on a dime with buck rogers retro rockets. Extremely cool, I hope it works out.

Military applications could be one utility for landing this way, where "on a dime" like a helicopter is important. Or, one day, if space travel is more common then it's more efficient to just have spaceports and these capsules landing on their landing pads rather than chuting down and fished out of the water. Or smacking down into a yak farm in Siberia.
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Re: Spacex reusable rocket test failure

Unread postby Keith_McClary » Sat 13 Jun 2015, 12:30:44

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Re: Spacex reusable rocket test failure

Unread postby Tanada » Sat 13 Jun 2015, 14:32:27

Airbus knows if SpaceX pulls off reusabillity they will be able to undercut all other launch companies on a cost to orbit basis. Clearly they think the technology now exists to make resusability possible. If they were sure SpaceX will continue to fail they would not spend money trying to develop their own system to compete with SpaceX.
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Re: Spacex reusable rocket test failure

Unread postby Sixstrings » Sat 13 Jun 2015, 18:33:00

The airbus system is "partial reusability." Upper stage only, fixed with wings and propellers on, to stabilize / guide the upper stage and engine down. Other stages and engines would go to waste.

Spacex will be total reusability, all stages and engines, no wings or propellers just landing on a dime with rocket power and retractable landing gear on each stage.

Airbus says an advantage to their system is their rocket could be a smaller, whereas spacex will need to carry more fuel to land all stages.

So maybe the math works out to a wash, or close to a wash I'm not sure.

I wouldn't think the extra fuel costs that much. Generally fuel cost is nothing, the cost to a launch is a (the payload) then b (the stages and engines). The fuel is pennies, in comparison.

Spacex is better overall, no wings and propellors, just rocket stages landing vertically with rocket power just how Buck Rogers intended rockets to land. :lol:

Image

The last spacex test was actually successful, descending from space all the way to the target, on a dime, on that barge. There was a fault with the hydraulics at the end. Minor issue, they're gettin' close, they'll get it worked out long before airbus builds a rocket with wings and propellers.

(something to notice about spacex competitors, they always come up with half-competitive ideas. Like how with orbital sciences, how it could take cargo up to the station but not bring anything down. And now airbus, making a reusable rocket with the only the upper stage and engine saved. Only Musk seems to go for the whole thing, all the way.)
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Re: Spacex reusable rocket test failure

Unread postby Keith_McClary » Tue 16 Jun 2015, 01:08:12

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SpaceX

Unread postby Scrub Puller » Mon 29 Jun 2015, 02:19:39

Yair . . .

What is it two days now and no thread? . . . sheesh

A bloody shame . . . and it just highlights the crap that some folks go on with about space community's and such like.

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Re: SpaceX

Unread postby Peak_Yeast » Mon 29 Jun 2015, 04:14:39

???
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Re: SpaceX

Unread postby dinopello » Mon 29 Jun 2015, 06:37:39

It was mentioned in the rocket explosion thread. Musk may have to lower his proposed ticket price for a trip to Mars from $500 to something lower to entice people to get on one of his roman candle rides.
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Re: SpaceX

Unread postby SeaGypsy » Mon 29 Jun 2015, 07:04:37

Or maybe coach up some borderline depressives with suicidal tendencies & convince them the tickets (which will need to be free of course) are a win win either way. Remake a New World in Our Image, or Going' Down in a Blaze of Glory.

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Re: SpaceX

Unread postby Sixstrings » Mon 29 Jun 2015, 08:47:12

One thing to say for him, he's thorough and very open, for a CEO with so much on the line -- usually you wouldn't be hearing peep from a CEO in this situation, but he started tweeting out updates right after it happened.

Elon Musk ‏@elonmusk 23h23 hours ago
Falcon 9 experienced a problem shortly before first stage shutdown. Will provide more info as soon as we review the data.

Elon Musk ‏@elonmusk 22h22 hours ago
There was an overpressure event in the upper stage liquid oxygen tank. Data suggests counterintuitive cause.

Elon Musk ‏@elonmusk 22h22 hours ago
That's all we can say with confidence right now. Will have more to say following a thorough fault tree analysis.

Elon Musk ‏@elonmusk 6h6 hours ago
Cause still unknown after several thousand engineering-hours of review. Now parsing data with a hex editor to recover final milliseconds.
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Re: SpaceX

Unread postby StarvingLion » Mon 29 Jun 2015, 11:28:20

His cars explode
His rockets explode

Won't be long until...

"Explosion at the Gigafactory...."

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Re: SpaceX

Unread postby radon1 » Mon 29 Jun 2015, 15:01:16

The man looks like a typical patrioid.
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Re: SpaceX

Unread postby ennui2 » Mon 29 Jun 2015, 15:03:19

StarvingLion wrote:His cars explode
His rockets explode

Won't be long until...

"Explosion at the Gigafactory...."

Elon Musk Crematorium Corp


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Re: SpaceX

Unread postby AgentR11 » Mon 29 Jun 2015, 15:15:22

Well, to be honest, I was giving Six the benefit of the doubt; I thought for sure he'd come on here and complain loudly that US space technology is failing horribly and we're all doomed to join the ludites or something. Russia blew up a rocket and you would have thought they'd lost the ability to continue space exploration.

So I guess that proves his rant on the previous Russian ISS resupply was simply anti-Russian trolling as opposed to anything rational.

Thus, I'll say again. Spaceflight is the hardest things humans try to do, bar none. Getting a bucket of water into LEO is an incredibly difficult, risky, and dangerous exercise; it takes the combined efforts of thousands of people, working without error, to make it happen. Every time you launch a rocket, build a rocket, fuel a rocket, climb the scaffolding of a rocket, move parts of a rocket, you have the potential to kill any number of people, poison large chunks of land, destroy buildings, burn fields... Seriously, spaceflight is hard.

Rockets will fail.
Payloads will be lost.
And people will die trying to make it happen.

And that will never stop being true.
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Re: SpaceX

Unread postby dinopello » Mon 29 Jun 2015, 17:05:02

Sixstrings wrote:Elon Musk ‏@elonmusk 6h6 hours ago
Cause still unknown after several thousand engineering-hours of review. Now parsing data with a hex editor to recover final milliseconds.


Perhaps he should try octal. Three bits good, four bits bad... 8)

Whatever happens dollars to donuts he blames it on a supplier.
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Re: SpaceX

Unread postby Withnail » Mon 29 Jun 2015, 18:10:52

AgentR11 wrote:Well, to be honest, I was giving Six the benefit of the doubt; I thought for sure he'd come on here and complain loudly that US space technology is failing horribly and we're all doomed to join the ludites or something. Russia blew up a rocket and you would have thought they'd lost the ability to continue space exploration.



I certainly seem to recall several pages of rants about how awful Russian rockets are in contrast to the wonderful American ones, this is true.
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Re: SpaceX

Unread postby Strummer » Wed 01 Jul 2015, 09:16:46

Those tweets are embarrassing...
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Re: SpaceX

Unread postby Sixstrings » Wed 01 Jul 2015, 09:57:49

Some updates:

Why SpaceX will sort out Sunday's snafu faster than NASA ever could
Second stage flaw fingered for fireworks

The accident itself was a disaster, and a very unfortunate birthday present for Elon Musk, who turned 44 that day. It had been hoped he'd celebrate by seeing the first-ever landing of a Falcon rocket on SpaceX's landing barge Of Course I Still Love You. Instead he got fireworks of a different persuasion.

...

The advantages of single-source suppliers
There are going to be a few sleepless nights at SpaceX in the coming days as engineers and designers go through the sensor data piece by piece. Musk is known for working his staff hard and this problem needs to be sorted out quickly.

And it will be, because unlike NASA, SpaceX has a huge advantage in dealing with problems. NASA rockets are put together using machinery from hodgepodge of private contractors, all with their own design and build teams – and their own internal politics, not to mention dealing with national politicians with an axe to grind.

...

The company is packed with highly motivated individuals and has a very flat management structure. Mistakes made are owned up to, and when the issue that caused the loss of the Falcon is identified, you can bet it will be dealt with quickly.

The current SpaceX resupply missions are on hold while this process is worked through. But you're not going to see the kind of dithering that left the Space Shuttles grounded for 32 long months. If I were a betting man I'd guess the next Falcon will fly in 32 weeks, and maybe sooner.

Getting into space is a tough business. There are few rocket systems that haven't had a failure at one time or another. While SpaceX is smarting from this first failure to deliver, the company is going to come back with a vengeance.
http://www.theregister.co.uk/2015/06/30/why_spacex_will_sort_out_sundays_snafu_faster_than_nasa_ever_could/


The above article says the whole thing will get figured out much faster, because spacex makes all its own parts. But then, I'd say, the problem could be that they make all their own parts -- the failure could be one of those little parts where they decided "hey we can make this," rather than using a supplier. I'm just speculating, obviously.

Overall -- it's a darn shame it happened. Even if they do get back on track "within 32 weeks" -- that's still a massive setback. They had launches booked for years on out.

The company will survive, though. They've go the nasa contracts, they just got USAF approval before this thing happened. Google put in a billion dollars. They can't have more failures though, that's for sure..

National Security After the SpaceX Explosion
Congress’s demand to cease using Russian engines may leave the military dependent on unproven rockets.
http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB12367224787933994021304581062191281870326


Now that the government has already decided they want to use spacex engines / rockets, and the air force -- what they really ought to do is get nasa more involved and throw more money into it to fix whatever problems there are. Spacex came a long way, just on the super-cheap. The engines aren't all bad, and boosters.. just needs some more work, maybe more funding / less on the cheap, to get better quality / operational control.

They've had a lot of successful launches and deliveries back and forth.. air force does need these rocket engines.. can't just be dependent on Putin, better to figure out the problem, put the money in, fix it.

SpaceX Failure Doesn’t Mean We Should Turn To Russia For Rocket Engines, McCain Says
http://dailycaller.com/2015/06/30/spacex-failure-doesnt-mean-we-should-turn-to-russia-for-rocket-engines-mccain-says/


SpaceX flameout hardly heralds failure

The latest flameout spoils that record but shouldn’t materially harm the firm’s prospects. About 5 percent of all rocket launches failed last year.
http://blogs.reuters.com/breakingviews/2015/06/29/spacex-flameout-hardly-heralds-failure/
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Re: SpaceX

Unread postby AgentR11 » Thu 02 Jul 2015, 10:07:51

Sixstrings wrote:Overall -- it's a darn shame it happened. Even if they do get back on track "within 32 weeks" -- that's still a massive setback. They had launches booked for years on out.

The company will survive, though. They've go the nasa contracts, they just got USAF approval before this thing happened. Google put in a billion dollars. They can't have more failures though, that's for sure..


You still don't get it.

They *WILL* have more failures. Russia will have more failures. NASA will have more failures. ULA will have more failures. EU,China, India, Japan; all are going to blow up more rockets and wreck more landers and screw up more satellites and probes....

Space flight is *hard*. Failure goes with the territory. You have to learn from each failure, and improve based upon that knowledge, just to stay in the game.

There's a reason all that data is recorded; its because they know some of those rockets will go boom, and they'd like to know why.

Maybe after another 10,000 launches of heavy lift rockets we'll know enough to make them about as safe as custom race cars. At a rate of at best 150 per year, I'd say we get to that level of safety a bit before the end of the century, if we're lucky and smart.

SpaceX losing this rocket, at this particular time is inconvenient for NASA and kinda bad for them as a company; but its something that is expected, and you have to be ready to deal with it and move forward.

They've had a lot of successful launches and deliveries back and forth.. air force does need these rocket engines.. can't just be dependent on Putin, better to figure out the problem, put the money in, fix it.


You always say "money". Its *TIME* that is the critical component; it takes a long time to design a new engine, test it, adapt it to its mission. You don't just walk down the street and say, "Hey, I needs me 500 guys and gals to come help build a rocket engine." If money could solve it, SpaceX would have been launching years ago.

Its a living ecosystem of technology; you have to grow and evolve it to a design, know that each engine you make is unique, each rocket you assemble is unique, and you've eliminated or accounted for as many of the variations between versions as you can. It takes years to grow, money's important, but the US Congress can't write a check big enough to cause a new engine to come into existence by the end of the year, or even next year really.

So yeah, both the US and the Russians have discovered that our cultural distaste for each other simply exceeds what we can be comfortable with. Thus, we'll go our separate ways; be largely independent of each other's capabilities; and with any luck, China will keep the waste and duplication from being just over the top stupid. With any luck, this sort of disharmony will also yield a certain degree of durability in technological capability. We'll get less in the long term, but the whole prospect of space exploration won't be so fragile.
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