Mar 282017

So, on Monday SpaceX did a static test fire of their next Falcon 9. This one will, hopefully, launch a payload to orbit next week. But the spiffy thing is that it *already* launched a payload to orbit, a Dragon ISS resupply mission in April 2016.

SpaceX has a pretty good record of recovering their boosters. That’s handy on its own… by recovering a booster, SpaceX can examine it for wear and tear and whatnot to make future boosters better. But the real goal is of course to make them as reusable as a jetliner. Successfully pulling off this next launch and recovery will go a long way towards making that goal happen.

 Posted by at 12:08 am
  • becida

    It’s fun to watch science fiction come to life!

  • philo_t

    Come on down to Crazee Elon’s used rocket lot!
    Here we got a low-milage Falcon Nine at a price that can’t be beat!
    This little number only has 437 miles on it!
    Take the lil’ lady on that lunar cruise she always dreamed about!
    Ask about our E-Z financing!
    No reasonable offer refused!

    Crazy Elon,s, where are prices are INSANE!

    • se jones

      Hey man, how much for pink & purple Tuck n’ Roll?

  • se jones

    Speaking of rockets: I was making a presentation for our local Mars Society chapter today, whereupon I grabbed this official Thales Alenia Space video of the 2020 ExoMars mission.

    Kewpie doll to the first person who can point out the *major* unforgivable mistake in this CGI animation.

    • imhoFRED

      the fairing deployment looks late and non-newtonian

      • se jones

        Bzzzzzd. Nope, try again.

    • Scottlowther

      1: Something screwy about booster sep. Such as… do they actually ditch the “boosters” on a Proton (which are, IIRC, just propellant tanks)? And if they did, seems unlikely they’d do so while they were under full thrust. And why separate them from the core when the core doesn’t have any engines of its own?
      2: The animation indicates that the payload fairings won’t jettison until after the upper stage has burned out, which seems kinda late in the game.
      3; Looks like the the spacecraft is attached to the upper stage only at the spacecrafts’ nozzle, which would be bad. A little hard to see on my small screen, though.
      4: The spacecraft puts itself into Mars orbit by thrusting *towards* Mars. Generally a dandy way to do a gravitational sling, not so good of a way to slow down.

      • se jones

        Cha-Ching, Bingo!
        Proton does not have “strap-on” boosters like ‘old #7.

        The Proton stage 1 has the same tank arrangement as our Saturn S-I /SI-B, a larger central oxidizer tank surrounded by more slender fixed fuel tanks (different props: storable vs. kerolox).

        The Russian web sites & books all say to wit: Proton had a unique and wonderful tank arrangement that was never used on any other rocket. Nope, they are ignoring the beautiful and elegant Saturn I & 1B. The Saturn S-I stage re-used existing tooling for the Redstone & Jupiter boosters, because –
        a: money did not grow on trees in the 1960s
        b: Saturn I wasn’t a god damn jobs program, it was a launch shit into space with alacrity program.

        I wonder if the Soviets re-used existing tooling for the Proton tankage, that would be their style, but I haven’t found any info on that.

        The small bus nozzle is nested in a larger thrust ring, that’s ok.

        The video shows the TGO which already there, and the 2020 ExoMars Lander.
        That little TGO burn might be correct depending on the approach asymptote chosen, day-side or night-side. At s/c aphelion Mars is going *faster* that the s/c, so you can let Mars swat you from behind, or you let it sail by, then burn “toward” Mars to catch-up then fall into orbit with a short burn. Since TGO is using aerobreaking to circularize, I suspect the latter.

        • CaptainNed

          Hmm, might be interesting to compare Proton “external” tank diameters to SCUD diameters.

          • se jones

            “interesting to compare Proton “external” tank diameters to SCUD dia”

            Well? We’re waiting. Jane’s might have that data, and Jim Oberg knows all things Russian too.

            You might find some old Jane’s in, the trick is to figure out the byzantine search engine. If they hadn’t totally fuc*ed up the CU engineering library, I could drive over there and dig out the magazines. But NOOOO, to be *fair* they had to put all the archives in a dungeon in Denver then charge the public $500 a year for “researcher” access.


            The core tank definitely came first, early Proton iterations used hydrocarbon fuel with longer tanks. When it dawned on them to use storables with strap-on tanks, the LV got way shorter which is good. I’d bet beer that they used existing tooling for those strap-on tanks to save time & money.

  • Bruce

    I’d like to see what the jetliner designs are like.