View Full Version : SpaceX Falcon 9 Live Landing Attempt

6th Jan 2015, 10:46
SpaceX Falcon 9 cargo launch to the ISS. After payload separation they will attempt to start the motor on re-entry and do a controlled descent and landing onto a barge in the Atlantic. Launch approx 1120 UTC.

Live video here (http://ti.me/1tChxuS).

6th Jan 2015, 11:24
Launch abort at T-90 seconds. Actuator drift. Next launch attempt Friday at 0509, (presumably East Coast Time.), 1009 UTC.

Ancient Mariner
6th Jan 2015, 11:27
Delayed to Friday.

8th Jan 2015, 10:27
SpaceX's fifth official cargo resupply mission to the International Space Station is now targeted to launch on Saturday Jan 10th at 0947 UTC

10th Jan 2015, 09:06
Approximately how long does it take to get to and dock with the ISS?

Will we get to see anyhing in the night sky later?

10th Jan 2015, 09:37
I think it normally takes a few days. It's to do do with trajectories and velocity. Some fairly precision parking is required, and you don't want to rear end the thing. Recently, though the Russians got up there in about six hours. They must know a short cut.

Is Ladbrokes or someone running a book on this robot ship landing?

10th Jan 2015, 10:10
SpaceX update on landing attempt:

Landing Update: Rocket made it to drone spaceport ship, but landed hard.

Close, but no cigar this time. Bodes well for the future though.

10th Jan 2015, 10:38
Still impressive.

10th Jan 2015, 11:56
Elon Musk ✔ @elonmusk
Rocket made it to drone spaceport ship, but landed hard. Close, but no cigar this time. Bodes well for the future tho.
10:05 AM - 10 Jan 2015

Elon Musk ✔ @elonmusk
Ship itself is fine. Some of the support equipment on the deck will need to be replaced...
10:10 AM - 10 Jan 2015

Elon Musk ✔ @elonmusk
Didn't get good landing/impact video. Pitch dark and foggy. Will piece it together from telemetry and ... actual pieces.
10:15 AM - 10 Jan 2015

Windy Militant
10th Jan 2015, 12:24
Growing up in the sixties all the blurb from NASA and the media showing us that space travel would be a normal everyday occurrence by now. It's taken a bit longer getting there, but things are getting more like Thunderbirds every day. I wonder how long it will take them to get it accurate enough to land through the summer house!

The onboard shots were interesting if a bit smudgy due to the ice. Shame they had no footage from the barge. Be interesting to see the landing from the ground so to speak.

Better luck next time chaps!

10th Jan 2015, 14:56
Approximately how long does it take to get to and dock with the ISS?

As a general rule if you watch the ISS overhead (look at Heavens-Above (http://www.heavens-above.com/)

You will see a point of light preceeding the ISS in the same orbit* for a few hours, maybe days before docking and a few hours/days after undocking.

* Not really, it's in a slower and higher orbit before docking and a faster and lower orbit when leaving, but you can't tell that with the naked eye.

10th Jan 2015, 17:44
Landing through a summer house is nothing...I will be impressed when they can land under the swimming pool.

11th Jan 2015, 17:20
As someone who doubted that they would be able to balance a telegraph pole on a rocket exhaust, I was VERY impressed to watch this test flight - and doubt no more.....


12th Jan 2015, 17:03
Meanwhile, back in the 21st Century - does anyone know how the telegraph pole is kept upright? Presumably extending steerable cruciform fins at the top deployed for the freefall, but is it thrusters or gimballing exhaust for the delicate bit?

17th Jan 2015, 05:03
There is mention here of a cold gas attitude control system:

I believe it's cold gas thrusters outside the atmosphere, fins in the atmosphere with the engine off, and engine gimballing when the engine is running.

Landing video is up, didn't see anyone else post it yet:


Apparently the fins got stuck at a steep angle when the hydraulic fluid ran out, and the engine gimbal couldn't compensate for it and still decelerate enough to land softly.

Unfortunately, from the video, it looks like there won't be many pieces left that are large enough to determine whether it really will be reusable when they land it in one piece. Hopefully next time it will work.

Wasn't this also the first time they did a boostback manoeuvre where it turns around and heads back toward Florida? I think the previous attempts just fell into the sea wherever it was heading.

Edit: here you go, this is how it's supposed to work:


17th Jan 2015, 11:07
Despite going wrong as above, that is pretty close, demonstrates they have clearly cracked a lot of the technical challenges to get this far, and a very impressive achievement.


10th Feb 2015, 07:59
Next try tonight. (http://www.floridatoday.com/story/tech/science/space/2015/02/08/spacex-hopes-for-next-dscovr-launch-attempt-monday-after-radar-failure-scrubbed-first-try-sunday/23090933/)

11th Feb 2015, 08:46
SpaceX, Air Force sign deal for landing pad at Cape (http://www.floridatoday.com/story/tech/science/space/2015/02/10/spacex-air-force-sign-deal-for-landing-pad-at-cape-canaveral/23163757/)

SpaceX and the Air Force have reached an agreement to use a former Atlas launch pad on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station as a landing site for returning Falcon rocket boosters.

"The way we see it, this is a classic combination of a highly successful launch past morphing into an equally promising future," Brig. Gen. Nina Armagno, commander of the 45th Space Wing, said in a statement........

Located on "Missile Row," Launch Complex 13 first supported a test of an Atlas intercontinental ballistic missile in 1958, and later launches of unmanned planetary probes for NASA and classified Air Force missions. It was deactivated in 1978 after more than 50 launches and designated part of a National Historic Landmark, according to Air Force records.

"For decades, we have been refining our procedures for getting successful launches skyward here on the Eastern Range. Now we're looking at processes on how to bring first-stage rockets back to earth at the first landing pad at the Cape," Armagno said. "We live in exciting times here on the Space Coast."

12th Feb 2015, 18:59
Yesterday's Falcon 9 launch of the DSCOVR spacecraft (http://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2015/02/spacex-falcon-9-dscovr-mission/) to the L-1 point was picture perfect (http://www.spacex.com/news/2015/02/11/spacex-launches-dscovr-satellite-deep-space-orbit).

According to Elon Musk, the booster fly-back (http://youtu.be/Pl3x71-kJGM?t=2m58s) was successful, landing vertically within ten meters of the target.

Sadly, due to 10 meter wave conditions, Just Read The Instructions (http://www.spacex.com/sites/spacex/files/crs5_drone_ship.jpeg) was recalled prior to what became a water landing of the Falcon 9 stage one.

11th Apr 2015, 05:34
SpaceX will try again to make history during the launch of its robotic Dragon cargo capsule to the International Space Station on Monday (April 13).

The company aims to bring the first stage of its Falcon 9 rocket back to Earth for a soft touchdown on an unmanned "spaceport drone ship" in the Atlantic Ocean after the booster sends Dragon on its way toward the orbiting lab. Liftoff is scheduled for 4:33 p.m. EDT (2033 GMT) Monday from Florida's Cape Canaveral Air Force Station; you can watch all the action live here at Space.com, courtesy of NASA TV.

WATCH LIVE NOW: HD Views from the International Space Station (http://www.space.com/17933-nasa-television-webcasts-live-space-tv.html)

13th Apr 2015, 21:06
NASA says two days to catch up with ISS, so that's sometime tomorrow.

Live feed on NASA TV now.

13th Apr 2015, 21:37
Launched scrubbed due to weather, another try tomorrow..

13th Apr 2015, 21:44
Scrubbed due to thunderstorms.

14th Apr 2015, 21:23
Falcon is on the way, so far all ok. I caught a glimpse of the mission control crowd behind the windows sort of clapping and sort of looking disappointed - I wonder if stage 1 landing was a very near miss...?

14th Apr 2015, 21:34
....confirmed by Elon Musk. They hit the ship but too hard for the stage to survive the impact. It'll get there I'm sure !

14th Apr 2015, 21:43
Had a good view of the capsule passing over here in the south of England as it was quite bright and on a lovely cloudless night.

Our children watched the launch then we all headed outside to watch it pass over 20 minutes later. They were most impressed to see science/spaceflight in action :ok:

15th Apr 2015, 04:00
Video from chase plane is here: https://vine.co/v/euEpIVegiIx

Looks like they almost got it this time, but it was still tilting a little when it landed (or maybe that was the start of tipping over).

15th Apr 2015, 21:59
Apparently they think it was due to the throttle valve sticking so it wasn't responding as fast as expected; which would explain the apparent overcompensation in the video. In that case, hopefully the next time will work.

15th Apr 2015, 22:07
Come on guys get it to work, after all it's not rocket scien...

16th Apr 2015, 02:34
New video, and much better resolution. That looks really close to a survivable landing:


16th Apr 2015, 08:42
SpaceX To Land Reusable Launcher on Ground (http://www.defensenews.com/story/defense/air-space/space/2015/04/15/spacex-ground-attempt-reusable-landing-sea/25827625/)

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — SpaceX hopes that the next attempt to land its Falcon 9 reusable launch vehicle will occur on solid ground. While not providing details of when or where that attempt would occur, Gwynne Shotwell, SpaceX President and COO, told Defense News on Wednesday that the company hopes its next attempted landing will take place on land, not at sea.

All tests of the reusable vehicle have occurred over water as a safety precaution, but the natural instability that occurs when a landing pad floating in the ocean has a very heavy rocket land on top of it has led to a series of near-misses for the technology. The most recent test of the technology occurred Tuesday, when the rocket appeared to land on target safely before tipping over. The hope is that the added stability of landing on ground would allow a safe landing.

"Just purely the boat moving, even in a low sea state, it's hard to imagine that vehicle is going to stay vertical," Shotwell said. "That vehicle is big and tall, compared to the itty-bity-greater-than-a-football-field-size ship."

She also downplayed the potential risk factors that led the company to attempt its landings over water in the first place. "The risk of damage to the public of ascent is far greater than return," she said. "There's a lot of propellant going up, and there's very little propellant coming back. "

She also noted that there will be a flight termination system in place in case something goes wrong. "It's a lot harder to think about blowing up that rocket when you're going up and it has a payload on board," Shotwell said. "But when it's coming back, if things look wonky, blow it up.".......

18th Apr 2015, 09:45

19th Apr 2015, 03:21
Musk posted on Twitter, saying they've confirmed the problem was slow throttle response. So things are looking good for next time if they can fix that or work around it.

28th Jun 2015, 14:06
Next try: Streamcoverage (NASA TV) and ticker at Live coverage: All systems go for SpaceX resupply launch | Spaceflight Now (http://spaceflightnow.com/2015/06/27/spacex-7-mission-status-center/)

SpaceX own stream will start in about one hour.

28th Jun 2015, 15:25

Not sure if that was an auto-destruct, but it's gone, one way or another.....

28th Jun 2015, 15:26
Buggah !lllllll

28th Jun 2015, 15:28
There did seem a lot of strange effects in the exhaust trail prior to failure, but they were calling thrust nominal at the time.

28th Jun 2015, 15:38

Vehicle destroyed before MECO.

Launch replay: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PuNymhcTtSQ

Two's in
28th Jun 2015, 16:43
It was a timing error. The mission computer was inexplicably set to July 4th and not June 28th.

28th Jun 2015, 18:51
There did seem a lot of strange effects in the exhaust trail prior to failure, but they were calling thrust nominal at the time.

They said something about excessive pressure in the second stage oxygen tank, so it's possible pieces of the second stage could have been falling off before they blew it up. Or maybe liquid oxygen leaking out?

29th Jun 2015, 09:10
Following a nominal liftoff, Falcon 9 experienced a problem shortly before first stage shutdown, resulting in loss of mission. Preliminary analysis suggests the vehicle experienced an overpressure event in the upper stage liquid oxygen tank approximately 139 seconds into flight. Telemetry indicates first stage flight was nominal and that Dragon remained healthy for some period of time following separation.

Our teams are reviewing data to determine root cause and we will be able to provide more information following a thorough fault tree analysis. Below is a link to the CRS-7 post launch briefing with representatives from SpaceX, NASA and the FAA, additional updates will be posted as they become available.


29th Jun 2015, 10:40
I told you not to press that button unless I told you to.

22nd Dec 2015, 02:07
Third time's the charm!


Will be interesting to see what shape it's in tomorrow. Looked a bit blackened in the video, but otherwise OK.

22nd Dec 2015, 05:03
Looks like it just needs a new coat of paint, and it will be ready to go again :)


glad rag
27th Dec 2015, 14:09
Everything has just changed.
Many cannot see it yet, but it has.
It will be a gradual, but accelerating, process as the vendors of non returning/reusable boosters find themselves slowly but inextricably losing business due to budget pressures..

18th Jan 2016, 09:57
Sill a few teething problems with Falcon 9. Yesterday's landing was looking good right until the last moment. :{


It will be interesting to read their final report on this landing, if there is one, as although Elon Musk suggests the problem is a lockout collet on one of the legs, there appears to be quite a bow in the rocket body after touchdown, suggesting that momentum (fuel slopping?) is applying a sideways force to the top, and the leg just failed due to the extra load this imposed on it.

Out of interest, does anyone know what proportion of the weight of the recovered stage is due to the need to recover it?

All credit to Elon Musk. Its refreshing to see someone who uses his fortune to push the boundaries of what is possible. He must have inspired a lot of students to opt for engineering and science, rather than easier courses.

Of course this is how it should be done (from 2:08):}:


18th Jan 2016, 10:34
Elon Musk's quote on this landing: "Well, at least the pieces were bigger this time!"


james ozzie
19th Jan 2016, 06:48
The whole idea of hefting the propellant into orbit and then using it for a soft landing seems very compromising from an energy viewpoint. The payload capacity of the rocket must be greatly reduced by tankering the propellant up and back. The traditional ablative shield + parachute seems a much more efficient means.

19th Jan 2016, 11:25
The whole idea of hefting the propellant into orbit and then using it for a soft landing seems very compromising from an energy viewpoint. As a fraction of the total fuel load its actually small. First stage fuel load is 418 tons, and landing fuel is around 32 tons, less than the reserve they carry to compensate for the additional burn time in case of a single engine failure out of the cluster of 9.

Empty weight of the first stage is only 18 tons!! Just the weight of the engines and effectively a tin tube with internal bracing - no wonder they crumple so easily.

19th Jan 2016, 12:36
As a fraction of the total fuel load its actually small. First stage fuel load is 418 tons, and landing fuel is around 32 tons, less than the reserve they carry to compensate for the additional burn time in case of a single engine failure out of the cluster of 9.
But how much of that 418 tons is only there to lift the 32 tons up into orbit?

19th Jan 2016, 13:15

19th Jan 2016, 14:29
I thought I covered that above; the 32+ tons is carried to provide a reserve to cover the case of one or more engine failures during ascent and to still achieve orbit. To carry less would turn a mission survival failure into a mission failure.

In the event all or part isn't used, the first stage can still be recovered; turning a necessity into a virtue.

19th Jan 2016, 15:39
But how much of that 418 tons is only there to lift the 32 tons up into orbit?

If I remember correctly, Musk has said that reusing the first stage cuts the payload by about 30%? Which is still a big win if you can safely reuse it even two or three times without major refurbishment.

From what I've read, they did find a problem with one of the engines when they test-fired the first recovered stage. But that's the kind of issue where you need to recover a few stages for analysis to fully debug it.

19th Jan 2016, 17:25
But most launches don't need it....

"......Just like the v1.0, the Falcon v1.1 launcher provides engine-out capability for a large portion of its first stage flight. All nine engines are ignited on the ground, about three seconds before launch. All must reach operational conditions and liftoff thrust for the launch release command to be issued.......

The first stage has a primary burn time that varies depending on the mission design. Flights using the full performance of the first stage without propulsive return maneuvers burn the first stage for up to 185 seconds while missions that include a first stage return require the stage to shut down its engines after 155 to 165 seconds of powered flight to leave sufficient propellants for the descent to a landing site.........

The re-usable version of Falcon 9 is known as F9R which itself does not represent a fully different launcher and is more of an add-on to the v1.1 version in the form of the Nitrogen Cold Gas Attitude Control System, the four deployable landing legs and four grid fins used for three-axis control during atmospheric flight, especially during non-propulsive flight phases.....


So for most missions, its just some additional fuel. The aim, of course, is to reduce the number of missions where insufficient fuel would be left to enable a return and hence loss of the first stage. That's where the barge comes in rather than a return to the Cape.

The return to the Cape needs enough fuel to flip over, stop, then reverse speed and head back. With the barge positioned along the route the first stage can follow pretty much a ballistic curve from its separation point only need enough fuel for small course adjustments and the final deceleration to land.

23rd Feb 2016, 12:18
Sick burn, brah: SpaceX test fires rockets for SES bird launch this week
Get ready for another launch, another attempt for water landing

23 Feb 2016 at 01:56, Iain Thomson

SpaceX reports that it's ready to roll for Wednesday's satellite launch, which will be followed by another attempt to get one of the Falcon 9 rockets to land on a water-borne platform.

Luxembourg-based SES is paying SpaceX to loft a new communications satellite into geostationary orbit along the equator at 108.2 degrees east longitude. The current launch window is available from Wednesday at 1846 ET (2346 UTC) and for about two hours after that point.

The new satellite, dubbed SES-9, will be used to provide data and video services across Asia. The SpaceX rocket will deliver the satellite most of the way, then its electrically powered ion thrusters will take the hardware into the required orbital position over the next few months.

On Monday, SpaceX lit up the rocket that will (hopefully) deliver its hardware cargo. Because the rocket uses liquid rather than solid fuel, the rockets can be switched off and on again without too much trouble. These static burns all look good to go, SpaceX reports.

Full-duration static fire completed. Targeting Wednesday for launch of SES-9 satellite @SES_Satellites pic.twitter.com/lp6nxGvUuH

Once the payload has been delivered, SpaceX will attempt to land the rocket again for testing and possibly reuse it. Because this is a launch to the Clarke orbit (35,786 kilometres (22,236 mi) above Earth), the Falcon isn't going to have much fuel left, so instead of the land-based landing pad the firm used successfully, SpaceX is going to make another attempt at a water landing.

All of SpaceX's attempts at a water landing to date have failed, as it's intrinsically much harder to get a rocket down on a barge that's in moving water compared to a static Earth-based pad. The last attempt, in January, nearly succeeded, but one of the landing legs on the rocket failed to lock down, leading to a biggish bang.

Elon's Musketeers think they have cracked that problem and confidence is high for a world-first water landing. SpaceX will use its East Coast landing barge, named Of Course I Still Love You as an homage to British science fiction author Iain Banks, and has a similar ship, the Just Read the Instructions on the West coast for later launches.

This kind of satellite delivery shows why such barges are needed. Landing on land is a lot easier, but with geosync launches fuel is tight and water landings are the only possibility. They are going to be key to SpaceX reusing its hardware – a move that would slash the costs of orbital delivery.

Wednesday's launch currently has a 60 per cent chance of going ahead, thanks to weather conditions, but if all looks good than another Musk bird will fly – and hopefully land in one piece this time – on Wednesday afternoon.

23rd Feb 2016, 21:53
In case you are wondering, as I was; the barge is 400miles (650km) down range from the launch pad. That's East of Cape Canaveral in this case.

Falcon 9 clears static fire test before launch this week | Spaceflight Now (http://spaceflightnow.com/2016/02/22/falcon-9-clears-static-fire-test-before-launch-this-week/)

25th Feb 2016, 07:02

Team opting to hold launch for today.

Looking to try again tomorrow; window also opens at 6:46pm ET.

Rocket and spacecraft remain healthy.

25th Feb 2016, 15:54
Should be interesting. Breezy day in Florida after a cold front passage. Surface winds might be a factor for launch. Present gusts up to 30kts in central FL.

I haven't seen much discussion on the landing barge. Any stabilizers to cut the wave affects? Below is the present reading of a NOAA buoy east of Cape Canaveral. It would seem that 5'-7' swells and possible 20kt-25kt surface winds at the barge would push the limits, especially trying to stabilize a tall cylinder with little upper mass.

NOAA Buoy 41047

Location: 27.517N 71.483W
Date: Thu, 25 Feb 2016 14:50:00 UTC
Winds: S (190°) at 19.4 kt gusting to 23.3 kt
Significant Wave Height: 5.2 ft
Dominant Wave Period: 11 sec
Average Wave Period: 5.1 sec
Mean Wave Direction: ESE (109°)
Atmospheric Pressure: 30.02 in and rising
Air Temperature: 75.4 F
Dew Point: 71.6 F
Water Temperature: 74.7 F

Another site with swell and wind forecasts for the general area:

Central Florida Hurricane Surf Report, Surf Forecast and Live Surf Webcams (http://magicseaweed.com/Central-Florida-Hurricane-Surf-Report/1092/)

I hope it works, goodluck SpaceX team!

27th Feb 2016, 11:56
SpaceX considering Sunday launch try

SpaceX scrubbed a second Falcon 9 launch attempt from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on Thursday.

SpaceX is considering a third attempt to launch a commercial communications satellite from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station as soon as Sunday evening.

A forecast posted by the Air Force's 45th Weather Squadron Wing shows near-perfect conditions are expected during a more than 90-minute launch window running from 6:47 p.m. to 8:20 p.m. Sunday. The weather would also be excellent Monday, should an attempt be made then, with a 90 percent chance of acceptable weather.

SpaceX has not yet confirmed its plans, saying only that it is reviewing data and the next available launch date.

The company's first two attempts to launch the SES-9 satellite scrubbed on Wednesday and Thursday. In both cases, SpaceX cited challenges keeping the two-stage rocket's supply of liquid oxygen at cold enough temperatures. Wednesday's countdown was halted about a half-hour before the launch window opened, before the liquid oxygen was loaded onto the 230-foot rocket. Thursday's countdown scrubbed less than two minutes before a planned blastoff.

The Falcon 9 is flying for the second time in what SpaceX calls its "upgraded" or "full thrust" version, which uses liquid oxygen chilled almost to its freezing point to make it more dense, so tanks can hold more. The upgraded rocket generates more thrust, enabling it to lift heavier payloads and creating more opportunities for SpaceX to try to land the first-stage boosters.

The fueling process begins just 30 minutes before the targeted launch time, and SpaceX has said there's only enough time during this window to perform that process once. If the rocket isn't ready to go at the targeted time, the liquid oxygen must be offloaded and the launch delayed to another day.

The nearly 12,000-pound SES-9 satellite, owned by Luxembourg-based satellite operator SES, is the heaviest yet that a Falcon 9 will try to lift to an orbit more than 22,000 miles over the equator, requiring all of the the rocket's performance.

SpaceX plans to try to land the booster on a ship located 400 miles down range. Given the speed the rocket will be traveling and limited fuel to spare, the company has said a successful landing is unlikely.

29th Feb 2016, 01:02
SpaceX not having any luck this week. First hold due a range safety issue, a boat in the restricted area. Then on the second attempt the computer automatically aborted the launch after ignition due to "less than expected thrust". Apparently the first hold raised the liquid oxygen temperature too high creating a helium bubble in a fuel line causing the thrust shortfall.

8th Apr 2016, 22:31

SpaceX Just Landed a Rocket on a Drone Ship (http://gizmodo.com/spacexs-falcon-9-rocket-just-made-the-first-ocean-barge-1769942283)

"Minutes after a smooth launch of its Dragon spacecraft to the ISS this afternoon, SpaceX hit a long-standing, elusive goal: It landed the Falcon 9 rocket that had launched the spaceship neatly down on an ocean barge like it was nothing at all.........."


Gertrude the Wombat
8th Apr 2016, 22:33
Very neat indeed.

So when can I buy a tourist ticket to the ISS for a sensible prices, say ten grand?

8th Apr 2016, 23:44
That is bl00dy impressive!

Is it just me getting old or do they all look so young?
The Apollo era rocket scientists seemed ancient in comparison.


Buster Hyman
9th Apr 2016, 02:53
Loved the crowd going nuts outside the control room.

9th Apr 2016, 03:40
Very significant accomplishment. The barge was pitching quite a bit. I'm sure all the naval helichopper pilots appreciated that landing.

West Coast
11th Apr 2016, 22:14
So when can I buy a tourist ticket to the ISS for a sensible prices, say ten grand?

I heard they're planning on using liberals on the first passenger test flight. Monkey's are out, they actually work.

I kid, I kid...the monkeys were busy that day.

11th Apr 2016, 23:52
The 400km distance to the International Space Station could also be scaled by stacking the 375,000 advance orders of the Tesla model 3 on top of each other :8


12th Apr 2016, 08:27
Falcon 9 returns to Canaveral:


13th Apr 2016, 14:00

13th Apr 2016, 14:38
What's the meaning of the message on the landing platform?

Someone been spending all his time and money playing with his toys?

The robotic unmanned landing barges are named after the sentient starships (http://www.space.com/28445-spacex-elon-musk-drone-ships-names.html) in the Culture series by Iain M. Banks.

13th Apr 2016, 14:54

Is it just me getting old or do they all look so young?
The Apollo era rocket scientists seemed ancient in comparison.

Perhaps.....OTOH some of the Apollo controllers (the systems guys who we used to see on TV sat at their consoles in what was usually described as "Mission Control") were recruited straight from Uni and a few were working at the consoles by the age of 23-24. The legendary (in space flight circles) John Aaron saved Apollo 12 at the tender age of 26.

Their bosses, the Flight Directors (Krantz, Lunney et.al.) were a bit older..mid 30's. Their boss, Chris Kraft, was an old man at the age of 45 when Apollo 11 landed on the Moon.

In any event there's no doubt many of them certainly looked young, even wearing what was fashionable for a young engineer at the time - take a look at John Aaron's picture in the wiki link below...looks to me like he should still be doing his homework.


Ant T
7th May 2016, 23:33
Congratulations again - they are making a habit of successful landings now, another one back down in one piece.

28th May 2016, 06:43
Did it again. Getting to the stage (sic) when it will only be reported when they don't manage to recover the stage.

SpaceX lands fourth booster after successful Falcon 9 launch (http://www.floridatoday.com/story/tech/science/space/2016/05/27/spacex-launches-falcon9-rocket-lands-first-stage-atlantic-ocean-drone-ship-thaicom8/85051798/)


28th May 2016, 15:45
However, landing on the barge is always going to be relatively high risk because it moves so much and the Falcon engine can't throttle low enough to hover. So I'd expect to see a persistent low level of crashes for the forseeable future.

18th Jul 2016, 08:50
SpaceX successfully lands Falcon 9 rocket on solid ground for the second time | The Verge (http://www.theverge.com/2016/7/18/12208560/spacex-falcon-9-ground-landing-success)


31st Mar 2017, 00:52
And they just reflew this stage and landed it on a drone ship again.


SpaceX Just Landed a Rocket on a Drone Ship (http://gizmodo.com/spacexs-falcon-9-rocket-just-made-the-first-ocean-barge-1769942283)

"Minutes after a smooth launch of its Dragon spacecraft to the ISS this afternoon, SpaceX hit a long-standing, elusive goal: It landed the Falcon 9 rocket that had launched the spaceship neatly down on an ocean barge like it was nothing at all.........."


16th May 2017, 08:56
SpaceX picking up the pace......


A Boeing-built satellite on the way to join Inmarsat’s globe-spanning network geared to beam Internet and data transmission capacity to airline passengers, maritime crews and military personnel flew into orbit Monday from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida aboard an expendable Falcon 9 rocke. The satellite is the fourth member of Inmarsat’s broadband communications fleet, a $1.6 billion initiative named Global Xpress conceived to connect aircraft, ships at sea, and mobile users on land with through an umbrella of worldwide Ka-band beams.

The two-stage rocket, towering 229 feet (70 meters) tall, was stripped of recovery hardware to give the 6.7-ton Inmarsat 5 F4 payload the boost it needed toward an eventual circular geostationary orbit 22,300 miles (35,800 kilometers) over the equator.......

The first stage engines turned off around T+plus 2 minutes, 45 seconds, and the booster stage detached to fall into the Atlantic Ocean on a destructive plunge. The heavy weight of the Inmarsat 5 F4 satellite, which weighed 13,417 pounds (6,086 kilograms) at liftoff, required all of the Falcon 9’s energy, leaving no propellant left over for the first stage to slow down for a landing........

The on-target deployment gave SpaceX its second successful launch in two weeks, after a Falcon 9 rocketed into orbit with a top secret U.S. government spy payload May 1*......

Monday’s launch debuted an upgrade to the Falcon 9 rocket’s second stage intended to speed up fueling during launch countdowns, allowing liquid oxygen and helium pressurant to be simultaneously loaded into the launcher.

Investigators blamed a Falcon 9 rocket explosion at Cape Canaveral’s pad 40 last September on voids in the skin of high-pressure helium tanks immersed in super-cold liquid oxygen inside the launcher’s second stage. Liquid oxygen became trapped, and perhaps froze, in the openings, leading to friction that eventually caused the rocket to explode, destroying an Israeli-owned communications satellite during a countdown rehearsal. After an engineering inquiry settled on a probable cause for the mishap, SpaceX said future countdown sequences would change to load helium into the rocket before liquid oxygen, a modification the company said would avoid the problem. At the same time, SpaceX said it would make hardware changes to the rocket to permanently fix the helium tank concern.

Those unspecified safety upgrades made their way into the Falcon 9 that launched Monday. A SpaceX official said the next two Falcon 9 flights in June will not have the helium tank modification, but then all future rockets will incorporate the change.

SpaceX ground crews are preparing for four more launches by the end of June, with the next Falcon 9 flight slated for June 1 with a Dragon supply ship to ferry experiments and equipment to the International Space Station. Liftoff of the Dragon capsule — the first SpaceX cargo craft to be reused after a previous space station mission — is scheduled for approximately 5:55 p.m. EDT (2155 GMT) June 1 from pad 39A.

Another Falcon 9 rocket is being primed for blastoff from the Kennedy Space Center on June 15 with BulgariaSat 1, Bulgaria’s first communications satellite. That launcher will fly with a previously-used first stage, the second time SpaceX will have re-flown a Falcon 9 booster.

Two more Falcon 9 missions in late June will launch from the Kennedy Space Center and Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.

The Intelsat 35e telecom satellite, a trans-Atlantic video, data and broadband relay station, has a launch window some time between June 26 and July 2 from Florida, an Intelsat spokesperson said Monday.

The second batch of 10 next-generation satellites for Iridium’s mobile telephone and data messaging constellation is supposed to launch June 29 from California.

*1st May booster landed back at Canaveral successfully. Excellent video of recovery included below.


7th Sep 2017, 21:00
The most telling comments here is "as has become customary".....

SpaceX launches top-secret space shuttle before Irma hits Florida (https://www.theguardian.com/science/2017/sep/07/spacex-us-air-force-shuttle-mission)

SpaceX launched the US air force’s super-secret space shuttle on Thursday, blasting off from Kennedy space center in Florida as schools and businesses boarded up for Hurricane Irma. The crewless aircraft, a technology testing mini-shuttle capable of spending years in orbit, rode an unmanned Falcon rocket on the fifth such flight.....

As has become customary, SpaceX landed its leftover booster back at Cape Canaveral for eventual reuse.

This was the first time SpaceX has provided a lift for the experimental minishuttle. The previous missions relied on United Launch Alliance’s Atlas V rockets. Air force officials said they wanted to use a variety of rockets for the X-37B program, to be able to launch quickly if warranted...... At the air force’s request, SpaceX stopped providing details about the X-37B’s climb to orbit a few minutes after liftoff. The booster’s return to SpaceX’s landing zone at Cape Canaveral air force station, however, was broadcast live.

“The Falcon has safely landed,” a SpaceX launch controller announced. Cheers erupted at SpaceX headquarters in Hawthorne, California. It was SpaceX’s 16th successful return of a first-stage booster......

And an absolutely f***ing awesome video....


7th Sep 2017, 22:15
I was always taught never to return to an apparently spent firework......

7th Sep 2017, 22:57
That was because they loved a sucker who was willing to buy a totally new one every time....

16th Dec 2017, 08:34

A previously-flown SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying a "used" Dragon cargo ship loaded with 4,800 pounds of equipment bound for the International Space Station blasted off from Cape Canaveral Friday, the first flight off a launch pad that was virtually destroyed when another Falcon 9 booster exploded on the ground last year. In a now-familiar but still thrilling sight, the rocket's first stage, which first flew in June to help launch another station cargo flight, flew itself back to a pinpoint landing at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station seven-and-a-half minutes after launch. It was the California rocket builder's 20th successful booster recovery over the past two years and its eighth on land......

The launching Friday was the first by NASA using a previously flown booster and only the second using a "flight proven" Dragon cargo ship. Recovering, refurbishing and relaunching booster stages is a key element of SpaceX founder Elon Musk's drive to lower launch costs. Equally important to SpaceX, Friday's launch was the first off pad 40 at the Air Force station since a Falcon 9 exploded five minutes before an engine test on Sept. 1, 2016, destroying that rocket and its $200 million satellite payload and virtually wiping out the launch complex and its systems.

In the wake of the mishap, SpaceX rushed to complete modifications to historic pad 39A at the nearby Kennedy Space Center, launching 16 successful flights in a row -- 12 from the Florida spaceport and four from Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif., before Friday's return to launch complex 40.

SpaceX needs both East Coast launch pads to fly off a backlog of satellites in its $10 billion manifest. The company plans to use complex 40 primarily for civilian and military payloads and to launch space station crew and cargo missions from pad 39A. It also plans to use the repurposed NASA pad to launch the Falcon Heavy, made up of three Falcon 9 core stages strapped together. The booster, which will generate 5.1 million pounds of thrust at liftoff, is scheduled for its maiden flight in January.....

SpaceX holds contacts valued at more than $2 billion for 20 space station resupply flights -- this was No. 13 -- and a subsequent contract covering another six cargo missions. SpaceX is building a piloted version of its Dragon capsule to ferry astronauts to and from the station under a separate $2.6 billion contract.....


23rd Dec 2017, 09:36
SpaceX rocket dazzles in California sky as it carries 10 satellites into space (https://www.theguardian.com/science/2017/dec/23/spacex-rocket-dazzles-in-california-sky-as-it-carries-10-satellites-into-space)

A reused SpaceX rocket carried 10 satellites into orbit from California on Friday, leaving behind a trail of mystery and wonder as it soared into space.

The Falcon 9 booster lifted off from coastal Vandenberg air force base, carrying the latest batch of satellites for Iridium Communications. The launch in the setting sun created a shining, billowing streak that was widely seen throughout southern California and as far away as Phoenix, Arizona.


Calls came in to TV stations as far afield as San Diego, more than 200 miles south of the launch site, as people puzzled about what caused the strange sight. Cars stopped on freeways in Los Angeles so drivers and passengers could take pictures and video. The Los Angeles fire department issued an advisory that the “mysterious light in the sky” was from the rocket launch.

Jimmy Golen, a sports writer for Associated Press in Boston who was in southern California for the holidays, said he and other tourists saw the long, glowing contrail while touring Warner Brothers studio in the Los Angeles suburb of Burbank. “People were wondering if it had something to do with movies, or TV or a ufo,” he said. “It was very cool.”

https://imagesvc.timeincapp.com/v3/mm/image?url=https%3A%2F%2Fpeopledotcom.files.wordpress.com%2F2 017%2F12%2Fspacex.jpg%3Fw%3D450&w=1400&q=70

The same rocket carried Iridium satellites into orbit in June. That time, the first stage landed on a floating platform in the Pacific ocean. This time, the rocket was allowed to plunge into the sea. It was the 18th and final launch of 2017 for SpaceX, which has contracted to replace Iridium’s system with 75 updated satellites. SpaceX has made four launches and expects to make several more to complete the job by mid-2018.....

23rd Dec 2017, 15:32
Bugger!, I live north of Vandenburg and was looking at my pint and not the sky last evening.
My 'bro, who lives in Spain, asked me about it this morning.....

10th Jan 2018, 08:23
So what happened to Zuma? All indications so far seem to a successful launch. Rumours are a failure to separate from stage 2 (not a SpaceX failure), but the blog in the second post seems to indicate that is unlikely. (Replace the * with a t as usual) URL disabled so you can read the Who.e string.

If you prefer you can Click through from my third link. (Marco Landbroek)

Regardless, it looks like the launch of the Falcon Heavy is about a week away - and they have another successful first stage landing under their belt.



space.com (https://www.space.com/39338-spacex-zuma-rocket-sky-spiral-photos.html)

13th Jan 2018, 00:45
We watched the launch from our front porch. It is a pretty amazing sight to see, sure makes the windows and doors rattle. The sonic booms when it returns to the landing pad sure wake you up. Can't wait to see the big one!

13th Jan 2018, 18:26
Excellent amateur footage of the 7th January launch/landing.


22nd Feb 2018, 17:04
Now you know what one of the uses for the Falcon Heavy is. I wonder how many Starlink sats it can orbit at a time.....

SpaceX launches Falcon 9 with PAZ, Starlink demo and new fairing (https://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2018/02/spacex-falcon-9-paz-launch-starlink-demo-new-fairing/)

SpaceX has launched with the debuting of an upgraded payload fairing for the Falcon 9 rocket during Spain’s Paz satellite lofting from Vandenberg Air Force Base on Thursday. The launch, scrubbed on Wednesday due to Upper Level Winds, also carried the first demonstration satellites for SpaceX’s own satellite internet constellation. Launch occurred at an instantaneous launch opportunity at 06:17 Pacific Time (14:17 UTC).....

Paz was joined aboard Falcon 9 by MicroSat-2a and 2b, a pair of 400-kilogram (880 lb) demonstration satellites for SpaceX’s planned Starlink internet constellation. The satellites are the first prototypes in a fleet which may consist of up to 12,000 spacecraft.

SpaceX first announced Starlink in early 2015. The project will use satellites in place of traditional infrastructure to help provide high-speed broadband internet access around the world. SpaceX’s filings with the US Federal Communications Commission indicate that the constellation will be used for fixed satellite services (FSS), such as backhaul for transmitting data around the globe. The space-based architecture could be used to help bring faster internet access to more remote regions of the planet in the future. The Starlink constellation will consist of Ka- and Ku-band satellites orbiting at an altitude around 1,200 kilometers (750 miles, 650 nautical miles) and V-band satellites orbiting considerably lower – at around 340 kilometers (210 miles, 180 nautical miles).

SpaceX aims to have Starlink fully operational by 2024, with the final operational constellation expected to contain 4,425 satellites across 83 planes in the higher orbit, with a further 7,518 satellites in the lower orbits.

The MicroSat-2a and 2b demonstration satellites carry Ku-band payloads. They were expected to be deployed into approximately the same orbit as Paz. In showing footage of their deployment, Elon Musk also revealed their names: Tintin.

https://mobile.twitter.com/elonmusk/status/966703261699854336?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.nasaspaceflight.com%2F2018%2F02%2F spacex-falcon-9-paz-launch-starlink-demo-new-fairing%2F

Paz was SpaceX’s fourth launch of 2018, following the Falcon Heavy mission and two Falcon 9 flights in January that carried the Zuma spacecraft for Northrop Grumman and GovSat-1 for LuxGovSat and its parent company SES.

The Paz mission was the first of two SpaceX launches in February with Spanish payloads. The second, which will carry the HispaSat 30W-6 communications satellite into geostationary transfer orbit, is due to lift off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in the early hours of next Sunday morning.

30th Mar 2018, 19:32
Ramping up, so to speak.

Iridium NEXT-5 satellites ride to orbit on SpaceX Falcon 9 (https://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2018/03/iridium-next-5-satellites-spacex-falcon-9/)

SpaceX conducted the fifth launch of its contract with Iridium Communications Friday, deploying ten more satellites to bring Iridium’s next-generation fleet up to a total of fifty satellites in orbit. Falcon 9 lifted off from Vandenberg Air Force Base at 07:13:51 Pacific Daylight Time (14:13 UTC).....

Friday’s launch was one of eight that SpaceX is conducting for Virginia-based Iridium Communications, to deploy a total of seventy-five Iridium-NEXT satellites into low Earth orbit. SpaceX began deploying the constellation with four launches last year – the remaining launches will take place in 2018 with Saturday’s the first of the year......

The Iridium launch is the first of two that SpaceX will conduct over the Easter weekend. Another Falcon 9 is due to lift off from Florida’s Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on Monday carrying an unmanned Dragon spacecraft to orbit on its CRS-14 mission to the International Space Station.

30th Mar 2018, 20:06
deploying ten more satellites

How do they space them out?

Following a 43-minute, three-second coast, Falcon restarted its second stage for an eleven-second circularisation burn – raising the perigee – or low point – of the orbit.

The Iridium satellites began separating from the upper stage five minutes after the end of the second burn, with the deployment process lasting fourteen minutes and 47 seconds.

Gertrude the Wombat
30th Mar 2018, 20:39
deploying ten more satellites to bring Iridium’s next-generation fleet
I thought Iridium went bust?

30th Mar 2018, 20:46
Gertrude, do so research. The original company went bankrupt - but the satellites were in orbit and those who bought them have made a fortune.

Just like the railways in the UK when they started...

30th Mar 2018, 20:51
I thought Iridium went bust?

The cost of building and launching its fleet of satellites, combined with a slower-than-planned uptake from customers, led to Iridium SSC declaring bankruptcy in 1999. Time Magazine described the company’s collapse as one of the “ten biggest tech failures of the […] decade”. A new company, which would become the present-day Iridium Communications, was formed in 2001 and purchased Iridium SSC’s assets – including the satellites – at a fraction of their value.
From:- Iridium NEXT-5 satellites ride to orbit on SpaceX Falcon 9 (https://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2018/03/iridium-next-5-satellites-spacex-falcon-9/).

Gertrude the Wombat
30th Mar 2018, 21:37
Just like the railways in the UK when they started...
Well, it is the traditional way of doing infrastructure in the UK, but I hadn't realised that this business model had spread to space. Why anyone invests in these things at the construction stage when they know perfectly well that the first owner is going to go bust is a mystery to me.

30th Mar 2018, 22:38
Why anyone invests in these things at the construction stage when they know perfectly well that the first owner is going to go bust is a mystery to me.

From what I remember, Iridium phones were expected to be a huge market for people who travelled a lot, particularly to remote areas.

But, by the time the satellites were up there, we had a massive expansion of cellphone coverage, so much of the market had gone away.

31st Mar 2018, 06:48
The Rise and Fall and Rise of Iridium (https://www.airspacemag.com/space/the-rise-and-fall-and-rise-of-iridium-5615034/)

Mac the Knife
31st Mar 2018, 08:34
They sent Zuma into space?

About bloody time!


2nd Apr 2018, 09:26
Launch teams are ready to kick off a busy month for the Space Coast with the Monday afternoon liftoff of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral with supplies destined for the International Space Station.

About 5,800 pounds of cargo and science experiments will vault off the pad at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station's Launch Complex 40 in a Dragon spacecraft during an instantaneous window that opens at 4:30 p.m. The window pushes back to 4:08 p.m. in the event of a delay to Tuesday.

The mission, SpaceX's 14th under NASA's Commercial Resupply Services Contract, marks the second time the agency has flown on a combination of a previously flown booster and Dragon spacecraft. The 156-foot-tall booster first flew on CRS-12 in August 2017, while Dragon flew on CRS-8 in April 2016.

But unlike previous CRS missions where SpaceX landed boosters back at Cape Canaveral, CRS-14 will not include a local recovery and instead focus on providing data as part of an expendable "demonstration mission."....

19th Apr 2018, 10:22
Another successful Falcon 9 launch - and recovery. This time the first stage landed on the drone ship “Of Course I Still Love You” in mid-Atlantic.

It almost seems routine now, but it must be remembered nobody else can do anything like it at all.

19th Apr 2018, 10:34
Another successful Falcon 9 launch - and recovery. This time the first stage landed on the drone ship “Of Course I Still Love You” in mid-Atlantic.

It almost seems routine now, but it must be remembered nobody else can do anything like it at all.

I still think it's pretty gob-smacking technology, particularly the relatively short time between design and production.

Compare it with any military aircraft project, for example, and it really illustrates well how damned good SpaceX are at this stuff.

For example, SpaceX was founded in 2002, and we have a pretty reliable production vehicle working now, 16 years after the company was founded and only 7 years after SpaceX announced that it was developing a reusable delivery vehicle.

Lockheed Martin started F-35 development in 1992, first flew the aircraft 14 years later in 2006 and it first entered service 11 years after that, in 2015.

B Fraser
19th Apr 2018, 10:44
We are now living in an age where the science fiction of our childhood is now science fact. When I was a kid, I dreamed of toy helicopters that could really fly and devices that you could ask any question imaginable. I thought about watches that enabled you to talk to anyone else on the planet and television that could show you any programme at any time. We now have Elon Musk leading the way in access to space and doing a grand job of dazzling the world with self landing rocket stages.

We are living in great times.

19th Apr 2018, 10:59

12th May 2018, 05:32

This afternoon, SpaceX landed the most powerful version yet of its Falcon 9 rocket, after launching the vehicle from Cape Canaveral, Florida. The so-named Block 5 upgrade took off from the company’s launchpad at Kennedy Space Center, sending a communications satellite into orbit for Bangladesh and then touched down on one of the company’s drone ships in the Atlantic. It was the 25th successful rocket landing for SpaceX, and the 14th on one of the company’s drone ships.

It also marks the first launch of the Block 5, the vehicle that will carry humans to space for NASA. The Block 5 is meant to be SpaceX’s most reusable rocket yet, with many upgrades put in place that negate the need for extensive refurbishment between flights (https://www.theverge.com/2018/5/9/17254384/spacex-falcon-9-block-5-upgrade-rocket-reusability-savings). In fact, the first Block 5 rockets will eventually be able to fly up to 10 times without the need for any maintenance after landings, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk said during a pre-launch press conference. Ideally, once one of these rocket lands, SpaceX will turn it horizontal, attach a new upper stage and nose cone on top, turn it vertical on the launchpad, fill it with propellant, and then launch it again. Musk noted that the vehicles would need some kind of moderate maintenance after the 10-flight mark, but it’s possible that each rocket could fly up to 100 times in total.It’ll be a while before SpaceX is that efficient, though. Since this is the first launch and landing of the Block 5, the company will still deconstruct the vehicle and do inspections to see if it can indeed fly again without refurbishment. “Ironically, we need to take it apart to confirm that it does not need to be taken apart,” Musk said. He noted that this particular rocket probably won’t fly again for a couple months......

Not only is the Block 5 more equipped for reuse, but it’s also got much more power than its predecessors. The main Merlin engines at the bottom of the rocket have 8 percent more thrust than before, and Musk thinks there’s more room for improvement. “The thrust we’re getting is truly incredible at this point,” he said. Meanwhile, the Merlin engine in the upper stage of the rocket — the one that operates in the vacuum of space — has 5 percent more thrust than before.

The Block 5 is also the rocket that SpaceX will use to send astronauts to the International Space Station, as part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program. In order to make the vehicle certified for carrying humans, SpaceX had to make a huge number of improvements to the rocket’s design. “There are thousands and thousands and thousands of requirements,” Musk said. For one, the rocket has to be able to handle more loads during launch and it has to have a much higher tolerance for small failures. In other words, if a few things go wrong during flight, the rocket will be okay. Musk noted that a few engines could go out on this vehicle and the Falcon 9 would still be able to make it to orbit. But just to be safe, NASA is requiring that SpaceX fly the Block 5 at least seven times, without making any major changes to the rocket, before people can ride on it......

SpaceX doesn’t intend to make any major revisions to the Block 5, though, save for small changes to improve flight reliability and reusability. The company will likely have between 30 to 50 Block 5 rockets in rotation at some point, according to Musk. The number depends on which customers insist on flying satellites on a new vehicle, though he’s hoping the mentality on used rockets will change in the coming years. “The general sentiment will change from... feeling like, ‘A flown rocket is scary,’ to ‘An unflown rocket is scary,’” Musk said.

But the goal is to ultimately close the gap on the Falcon 9’s turnaround time between flights. Musk says that to show the true power of the Block 5, SpaceX plans to launch the same rocket twice within a 24-hour period sometime next year.......


30th Jun 2018, 10:07
SpaceX sent a cargo spacecraft skyward early Friday (June 29) during a dazzling predawn liftoff that showcased the company's considerable reusability chops.

A two-stage SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket (https://www.space.com/18962-spacex-falcon-9.html) lit up the early-morning Florida sky as it launched the company's robotic Dragon capsule toward the International Space Station (ISS) on a delivery mission for NASA at 5:42 a.m. EDT (0942 GMT) from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. The Dragon will arrive at the space station early Monday (July 2). The liftoff was the second for both the Dragon and the Falcon 9's first stage; the capsule previously visited the ISS in July 2016, and the booster helped launch NASA's Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite this past April (https://www.space.com/40320-spacex-nasa-tess-exoplanet-satellite-launch.html). The 10-week turnaround was the shortest ever for a landed and relaunched SpaceX first stage, company representatives said.

SpaceX did not attempt today to land the booster for a second time. The booster is a "Block 4" Falcon 9 variant, which SpaceX is phasing out in favor of the recently debuted "Block 5 (https://www.space.com/40545-spacex-new-falcon-9-rocket-launch-landing-success.html)." So, the company surrendered the first stage to the ocean. In fact, today marked the last-ever flight of a Block 4 Falcon 9, SpaceX representatives said......


30th Jun 2018, 11:24
This was the most spectacular launch to watch to date. Once we'd got over the initial shock of being woken up by it, we went out to the front porch. The atmospheric conditions made the exhaust plume an amazing sight. As it was twilight you could see it for a long time. Kind of interesting that eventually you lost sight of it as it went below the tree line.

30th Jun 2018, 12:24
SpaceX did not attempt today to land the booster for a second time. The booster is a "Block 4" Falcon 9 variant, which SpaceX is phasing out in favor of the recently debuted "Block 5 (https://www.space.com/40545-spacex-new-falcon-9-rocket-launch-landing-success.html)." So, the company surrendered the first stage to the ocean.

Given that spaceX can recover this type of booster flying this sort of profile and have chosen not to ... can they be sued for littering the ocean 🤨.

30th Jun 2018, 16:39
At least it's not plastic and sinks unlike all the plastic faux-fish food the oceans are awash with.

30th Jun 2018, 16:46
Given that spaceX can recover this type of booster flying this sort of profile and have chosen not to ... can they be sued for littering the ocean ��.

I am sure that the owners of the ocean could do just that. The same way that they sue everyone else for the copious amounts of crap that gets dispatched over the side.

As well as the owners of every non-Space-X booster ever launched - Russians excepted. I think Kazakhstan wears all that crap.

30th Jun 2018, 18:53
And the Chinese - several accidents with both stage one failure and boosters landing on villages.

26th Sep 2018, 23:37
Elon Musk announces the first paying passenger on the Big F***** Rocket!

Jesus that thing's big.


From about 22 minutes in.

27th Sep 2018, 10:28
Freefall re-entry and approach. :eek:

BFR Landing Technique (https://www.teslarati.com/spacex-bfr-spaceship-landing-like-a-skydiver/)

9th Dec 2018, 17:47
Amazing landing in the circumstances - and Spacex reporting the rocket is still in good condition and available for possible reuse.


https://cimg4.ibsrv.net/gimg/pprune.org-vbulletin/1280x720/falcon_9_booster_being_towed_back_to_shore_twitter_restrante k_941c961e58da24a90e3fd4f6253c92773ce37714.jpg


6th Feb 2019, 20:11

Elon Musk Has Shared Jaw-Dropping Images of The Latest 'Starship' Tests

23rd Feb 2019, 08:48

NASA gives SpaceX the okay to launch new passenger spacecraft on uncrewed test flight

Crew Dragon’s first flight is a week away


SpaceX’s Falcon 9 Just Survived Its Highest Reentry Heating Ever

SpaceX has completed one of its most challenging missions yet. The company launched what may become the world’s first privately-owned lunar lander (https://www.inverse.com/article/53490-spacex-falcon-9-historic-moon-mission)toward the surface of the moon on Thursday, before successfully landing the Falcon 9 rocket with the highest reentry heating ever. The rocket took off from Launch Complex 40 at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida at 8:45 p.m. Eastern as scheduled, landing eight minutes and 48 seconds later.

The landing marks another successful milestone for SpaceX, which aims to refine its landing technology to save more rockets and reduce costs further. SpaceX CEO Elon Musk noted that the company’s video feed showed burning metal sparks, while manufacturing engineer Jessie Anderson said during the feed that the landing on the Of Course I Still Love You droneship (https://www.inverse.com/article/33361-how-the-spacex-droneships-got-their-sci-fi-names) was completed despite “challenging conditions.” The mission was the third for the rocket in question, a “Block 5” core dubbed “B1048” that previously flew on the July 25 Iridium NEXT-7 (https://www.inverse.com/article/47369-spacex-falcon-9-launch-of-iridium-7-to-mark-a-huge-milestone-for-elon-musk)and the October 8 SAOCOM 1A (https://www.inverse.com/article/49473-spacex-s-new-falcon-9-landing-zone-is-about-to-tackle-its-first-mission) missions last year.