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SpaceX rocket landings


DrP
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You've probably seen these (Falcon 9?) rocket landings before in news or on the net. When I think of the size of this thing and earth's gravity, I cannot fail to be impressed.. even though one explodes. 

 

 

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  • 7 months later...

SpaceX had another successful test launch and landing today, this time of the Starship SN10.

What I’m not clear about is how do we get such clear video of the entire flight even as it passes through the clouds?

It appears like there’s another ship flying along beside it, but I’m sure that’s not the case, so what is this optical black magic?

???

 

I don’t understand why the viewing angle / perspective never seems to shift 

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A. Indeed, the landing was sucessful, but the patient subsequently died.  . .  Post landing video.

B. If you watch the "community" feeds, multiple cameras are in play, with diverse viewpoints. Without knowing which feed you were watching I can only suggest a possible explanation for the apparent constant perspective  . . perhaps it is only apparent.

I don't entirely rule out a chase plane for some of the shots, but suspect a very high end camera is the correct explanation. Regardless, they are damn good shots.

 

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29 minutes ago, Area54 said:

Indeed, the landing was sucessful, but the patient subsequently died.  . .  Post landing video.

Oh damn! I know the first 2 attempts failed. This 3rd one was a close but no cigar situation too, I see. 

Edit: Just watched the successful one before seeing your comment with my daughter before putting her to bed and celebrated how amazing it is that we can now land rockets and reuse them. Unsure whether to update her tomorrow or let the magic live on a bit longer. Lol

29 minutes ago, Area54 said:

suspect a very high end camera is the correct explanation

Me, as well. I also suspect the clouds I saw were behind the craft, not between it and the lens 

Edited by iNow
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8 hours ago, iNow said:

Unsure whether to update her tomorrow or let the magic live on a bit longer.

Elon gave SN10 a 60% chance of surviving, so the magic was just in landing. They likely would have just dismantled it had it survived, but they had a rapid unscheduled disassembly. Instead it's a great opportunity to explain SpaceX's development model - rapid prototype production and testing, push it to its limits (including blowing it up), learn as much as possible, build the next prototype, repeat until it works. It'll be interesting to see if starship makes it to the moon before NASA's SLS (both aiming for 2023).

P.S. I was watching a live feed - they mentioned that NASA had a chopper outside an 8 mile exclusion zone to take video.

Edited by Prometheus
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12 hours ago, iNow said:

Oh damn! I know the first 2 attempts failed. This 3rd one was a close but no cigar situation too, I see. 

I'm going to disagree with you here. All attempts have been successful, in that 80% - 90% of the test objectives have been met in each case. and each test has progressed further, with the cause of failure beng eliminated in the subsequent test. Such engineering development as I have been involved in had the same pattern of failures, just not so spectacular, or public. As I noted earlier the patient did die, but the important point is that the operation itself was a success.

The consensus view of commentators in the hour following the explosion was that the failure was of the landing legs. These had already been identified as potentially inadequate and are being redesigned. SinceSN11, already on the pad, has the same design it will be interesting to see what Space-X do. Replace the landing legs with the new design? Fix the leg deployment mechanism, if that was the cause of the failure? Launch as is to confirm all other sucesses can be repeated? Go straight to SN15, with new legs, which has a host of new features?

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3 hours ago, Prometheus said:

P.S. I was watching a live feed - they mentioned that NASA had a chopper outside an 8 mile exclusion zone to take video.

That would definitely explain the seemingly unchanging viewing angle / perspective. Thanks, mate!

2 minutes ago, Area54 said:

I'm going to disagree with you here. All attempts have been successful, in that 80% - 90% of the test objectives have been met in each case. and each test has progressed further, with the cause of failure beng eliminated in the subsequent test.

A totally fair and valid point, one with which I agree entirely. We learn and improve more every attempt... kaizen. I should've said something closer to "not 100% successful," or "successful in everything but surviving the landing," etc. Thanks for the good callout here. 

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  • 3 weeks later...
On 3/4/2021 at 11:39 AM, Prometheus said:

[...] it's a great opportunity to explain SpaceX's development model - rapid prototype production and testing, push it to its limits (including blowing it up), learn as much as possible, build the next prototype, repeat until it works. [...]

Engineering is very difficult. If their rocket shows only one or two failure causes in a flight, it proves that SpaceX didn't develop it so quickly. I'd say quite the opposite: they spent the necessary time on design, design reviews, triple checks, AND experiments on parts and assemblies.

Compare with other launchers: they too fail a couple times among the first launches. SpaceX's statistics aren't so different. And when creating a completely new technology, which reusing rockets and landing them definitely are, an individual or a company fails many more times than when just scaling up an existing design.

What does differ is that Musk is a physicist / inventor / etc, not an ignorant manager who believes plain nonsense like total quality. Having developed technology himself, he knows that only experimentation debunks design mistakes, and that failure just belongs to the process, after the developers did their very best to avoid it.

Also, SpaceX analyse and correct the failure causes much more quickly than Ariane for instance. This may result from their culture: acknowledging that failure belongs to development makes this step easier than if some manager imagines that total quality avoids failures, and that mistakes result from faulty engineers.

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