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SpaceX Looking For Help With "Landing" Video 110

Posted by samzenpus
from the clean-it-up dept.
Maddog Batty (112434) writes "SpaceX recently made the news by managing to soft land at sea the first stage of rocket used to launch its third supply mission to the International Space Station. Telemetry reported that it was able to hover for eight seconds above the sea before running out of fuel and falling horizontal. Unfortunately, due to stormy weather at the time, their support ship wasn't able to get to the "landing" spot at the time and the first stage wasn't recovered and is likely now on the sea bed. Video of the landing was produced and transmitted to an aeroplane but unfortunately it is rather corrupted. SpaceX have attempted to improve it but it isn't much better. They are now looking for help to improve it further."
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SpaceX Looking For Help With "Landing" Video

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  • by Vairon (17314) on Wednesday April 30, 2014 @07:14PM (#46885193)

    It still is raw. If you follow the link in the summary "looking for help" http://www.spacex.com/news/201... [spacex.com] it takes you to their page where they show you the before and after videos via youtube and give you access to the raw footage. Here's the link they provide to the raw footage: http://www.spacex.com/sites/sp... [spacex.com]

  • by citizenr (871508) on Wednesday April 30, 2014 @08:09PM (#46885525) Homepage

    partially fixed clip has at least one iframe showing that camera was mounted on top of the fuselage looking down, camera was stationary = all iframes had to see same fuselage
    this one iframe could be copied over all the broken ones to see if there is any useful data in the rest of the file

  • by MonkeyBoy (4760) on Wednesday April 30, 2014 @09:22PM (#46885933)

    The other cameras were on the recovery ship, which couldn't reach the recovery area without, you know, sinking. They'd have ended up roughly where the master recording currently is, resting on the ocean floor.

    The problem isn't the camera, it's that the data was garbled during transmission. In part because both the source and destination locations were in constant (and, given the storm, quite random) motion. It's hard to hit the side of the barn when you're aiming from mid-air in the center of a tornado.

    That they got even this much is remarkable.

  • by ColaMan (37550) on Thursday May 01, 2014 @01:04AM (#46886821) Homepage Journal

    You seem a little harsh on them.

    Recovery of the booster would have been nice for investigation, but it was never intended to be flown again and was never the stated goal. The goal for that mission was a controlled descent and touch down on the ocean, which they accomplished. A 'soft-recover' wasn't the term that they were using.

    This goal needed to be reached so that Range Safety at the launch pad can determine that SpaceX can reliably put a rocket down within a mile or so of a target. The next launch - in the next week or so - will attempt to land in the ocean much closer to the launch facility.

    The technical difficulties of a soft landing are considerable given the hardware that they've got. With the weight of the empty booster, they can't throttle the engines back far enough to hover. So they fall towards the surface and at the right moment fire the engines to reach a computed zero velocity at touchdown. Doing this with gusty 30-40 knot winds on the surface is tough. 'Landing' on a continuously-undulating surface where there is no consistent level is tougher.

    And yes, parts of this have been done before. Sure, there's open-source avionics stacks that can do this thing no problemo. But a controlled return of the first stage of a liquid fuel rocket has never been done before, and this kind of work has most certainly never been done for the relatively tiny amount of money that SpaceX has been spending. *That* is the thing that's getting tongues wagging.

  • by hutsell (1228828) on Thursday May 01, 2014 @02:02AM (#46886997) Homepage

    Well, it was Raw until YouTube re-compressed the hell out of it. Seriously, I don't think you have any shot if you start off with this YouTube footage. If they really want help we need the actual raw bitstream. I/Q output from the receiver would be even better. Even better than that would be diversity receivers. Aren't those guys the rocket scientists?

    Available for download: This is the location for the original raw ".ts" file [spacex.com]. A second link is also given to a repaired raw ".ts" file [spacex.com] showing the results of their efforts. If preferred, you can also get the original ".ts" files at the spacex [spacex.com] website near the bottom of that webpage.

  • by Hadlock (143607) on Thursday May 01, 2014 @02:35AM (#46887093) Homepage Journal

    There's not a lot of equipment that's flight rated for the kinds of vibration, temperature and pressure swings required by an external rocket, not to mention power source transmitter and antenna(s). Oh, and it can't interfere with the landing telemetry in any way.

  • by cjameshuff (624879) on Thursday May 01, 2014 @08:32AM (#46888035) Homepage

    You *do* realize the power output of a rocket engine isn't electrical, right?

    In reality, spacecraft have strictly limited power budgets. The booster's electronics are running off battery power from the moment the umbilicals disconnect. It also flew above the bulk of the atmosphere, so you can't exactly rely on air cooling to keep the transmitter from frying itself...and there's plenty of other power-consuming, heat-producing electronics that have rather more important functions. And a more powerful transmitter would be completely unnecessary for the solid-ground landings, which SpaceX hopes to start by the end of the year.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 01, 2014 @09:52AM (#46888537)

    I'm no rocket scientist, but i can read... The SpaceX page clearly says "[this is video] recovered from the Falcon 9 onboard camera", so what's all this nonsense about the stream being from some airplane? Also in some of the final frames of the improved video you can clearly see that it's a camera mounted on the top of the rocket looking down at the fins, seeing smoke and flame from the engines.

    I really believe that you know what you're talking about, but I think in your haste you might have missed some really basic information that invalidates everything you've said. Or am I missing something?

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