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SpaceX Falcon 9 Live Landing Attempt

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Old 19th Apr 2018, 09:44
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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.


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Old 19th Apr 2018, 09:59
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Old 12th May 2018, 04:32
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https://www.theverge.com/2018/5/11/1...anding-success

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. 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.......





Last edited by ORAC; 12th May 2018 at 04:46.
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