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SpaceX Falcon 9R Vertical Take-Off and Landing Test Flight 105

Posted by timothy
from the failure-to-crash dept.
schwit1 (797399) writes "The competition heats up: SpaceX [Wednesday] released a new video of the most recent Falcon 9R vertical take-off and landing test flight. The flight was to test the deployment and use of fins for controlling the stage during its return to Earth. Watch them unfold and adjust themselves beginning at about 1:15 into the video. In the second half you can see them near the top of the stage. Yet another video from SpaceX of the world's most blase cows. You can imagine new cows to the herd, reacting to the launch as the conditioned cows just yawn, just another 100 foot tall rocket launching and landing nearby. Nothing to see here."
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SpaceX Falcon 9R Vertical Take-Off and Landing Test Flight

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  • Fins (Score:3, Funny)

    by Otter Popinski (1166533) on Thursday June 19, 2014 @02:01PM (#47274387)
    Aaaand 3... 2... 1... Deploy flyswatters!
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by CWCheese (729272)
      Interesting to see how the fins managed the torsional direction while guiding the rocket laterally. Much smoother than the thrusters used on the DC-X demonstrator. Those flyswatters are a remarkable advance in stabilizing the rocket for touchdown.
    • by RevWaldo (1186281)
      Fool - they're for the sideline steakburger stand. Cooked by rocket fuel!

      (Don't tell the cows.)

      .
  • by Piata (927858) on Thursday June 19, 2014 @02:09PM (#47274459)
    If Kerbal Space Program has taught me anything, it's that giant rocket engines are incredibley hard to control going forward. I can't even fathom the engineering skill and knowledge of physics required to make a rocket fly near flawlessly in reverse.
  • by gstoddart (321705) on Thursday June 19, 2014 @02:12PM (#47274477) Homepage

    the world's most blase cows. You can imagine new cows to the herd

    I have it on the authority of several friends who have been involved in the raising of cows ... cows are far too damned stupid for what you're ascribing to them.

    I believe the entire cow decision tree comes down to: Does it look like it will eat me? Are the other cows moving and do they seem scared? Can I eat it? Can I poop on it? Is it time for a nap?

    Everything else, apparently, is mostly random chance and blind luck.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      There's got to be a Farside cartoon in there somewhere.

    • They're very dumb animals that are hard to scare with things they should be scared of. On offroad rallies they aren't bothered by trucks driving right past them at high speed. And if they get in the way, they usually don't want to move. I once had a bull posture as if he was going to charge my truck, but he changed his mind after a couple of seconds and lazily began to stroll out of the way. Honking and revving didn't make him speed up.

    • by HiThere (15173)

      You left out eating pieces of barbed wire. One must be VERY careful when stringing the fence that no pieces get left around, or they are likely to be eaten.

      So their "Can I eat it?" decision seems to revolve around capability rather than likely results.

  • I'm still confused how you can fire a rocket in reverse going mach 17 and not have problems with exhaust doing something to the nozzle.

    also, start at 2m20s to watch the cows run away!

    • Did you notice some shrapnel at the 4:00 mark?

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Air resistance will slow the rocket most of the way down and then when it starts to fall they use the engine to land.

    • by tp1024 (2409684)

      Simple. You don't.

      First stage separation happens at a very modest mach 6 (which accounts for part of the 30% performance loss when reusing the 1st stage) and pretty high up at a fraction of the normal atmospheric pressure. There had been doubts as to whether you could use rocket engines that way or not, but as it turns out the answer is: hell yeah.

    • I don't think Terminal Velocity is at some Hyper Mach number. Why not use the engine to slow the craft down to a use gravity for a vertical decent?
    • by waimate (147056)

      also, start at 2m20s to watch the cows run away!

      And at 4:20 as it lands, the cows run back again. Very suspicious.

  • Thank you Elon (Score:5, Interesting)

    by wjcofkc (964165) on Thursday June 19, 2014 @02:37PM (#47274715)
    I know Elon Musk has his haters, even in the nerd community, and they have their reasons. But personally, I am thankful beyond thankful for him, his companies, and many fine employees. There is no one out there working so hard to make the Earth a better place while also opening the doors to space in order to ensure the survival of our species. I find it interesting that the business ventures he lines up are not only geared toward making a better Earth, they simultaneously serve the purpose of developing crucial technologies we would need to colonize Mars. The man is a genius, and yes I'm a fanboy.
    • by turp182 (1020263)

      I'd mod you up if I had points. Elon Musk is a true visionary of our times. I hope he continues to have success with his current endeavors, and even more with future projects.

      I can't think of anyone who is changing the world in constructive ways like he is.

    • Re:Thank you Elon (Score:5, Insightful)

      by towermac (752159) on Thursday June 19, 2014 @02:59PM (#47275013)

      I'm right there with you.

      I believe that a landable full sized rocket is somewhat of a big deal. I know we've been hearing about it for a while, but seeing is believing.

      I needed some good news today.

    • I don't hate Musk, but he's not the first rich guy to have a vanity space program that ultimately goes nowhere. I'm still waiting for Bigelow Aerospace to open a space hotel with transportation provided by Virgin Galactic and Armadillo Aerospace.
      • Bigelow is providing a module [wikipedia.org] scheduled to fly on the ISS beginning next year. Their more ambitious activities are waiting on SpaceX's man rated launch vehicle.
  • by catchblue22 (1004569) on Thursday June 19, 2014 @03:05PM (#47275071) Homepage

    If you watch the Tesla news lately, I think it is apparent that the current American launch monopolists have initiated a wide ranging propaganda and political campaign against SpaceX. Examples of this are here [washingtonpost.com] and here [bloomberg.com], as well as comment boards on various articles about Space X. The memes I have noticed emphasized are first and foremost that SpaceX is cutting corners (aimed at legislators), that Space X is the beneficiary of "corporate welfare", and that Musk is a "communist bum" (aimed at right-leaning readers).

    One of the primary reasons I think this is evidence of an organized campaign is the timing. Space X initiated the campaign against the Russian rocket engines being used by ULA, as well as objecting to the bulk purchases of launch contracts by the Airforce from ULA, thus locking Space X out of a significant number of launches before it gains certification. I can imagine this as a directive from ULA exectives being given around that time. Such campaigns typically take a few weeks to work-up. They take studies of public opinion, come up with themes to base their campaign around, and then test those themes with the public, often with focus groups. This lag of a few weeks for propaganda campaigns is typical when an organization suddenly decides to initiate a campaign based on new information. Watch for it next time you see a government or corporation being attacked by a new threat. This lag of two or more weeks between threat and response is typical I believe of an organized propaganda campaign.

    • and that Musk is a "communist bum" (aimed at right-leaning readers).

      Hahaha they called the guy who is closest to one of their mythical Randian supermen a communist bum!? LOL!

      • And who is it that actually buys Russian rocket engines? ULA

        Who makes their own engines in California? Space-X

    • by Dishevel (1105119)
      I am a right leaning libertarian and I think Musk is doing well. It is his business and he can try to accomplish whatever he wants.
      • I am a right leaning libertarian and I think Musk is doing well. It is his business and he can try to accomplish whatever he wants.

        I too believe that Elon Musk is awesome. He embodies the best of the free enterprise system. The problem is that most on the right, and that includes the funders of the tea party movement, espouse policies that will result not in a proper system of free enterprise where the best and brightest rise to the top, but rather a system where entrenched players act ruthlessly to maintain there positions of power. Whenever a small player looks too competitive, they will just absorb that player.

        The idea that the r

        • by Dishevel (1105119)
          The State will always wield its power badly. The more power you give them past what is 100% absolutely needed results in worse than what you want to be protected from. Always.
          • The State will always wield its power badly. The more power you give them past what is 100% absolutely needed results in worse than what you want to be protected from. Always.

            You completely missed my point. If you try to eliminate the democratic State, the corporation will become the State. Only it will not be restricted by the laws of a democratic government. It will make its own defacto laws.

            • by Dishevel (1105119)
              No one said anything about eliminating the government.

              Every single time you hear about reducing government power over its people you can only hear "Destroy the state, Anarchy Rules!"

              This is childish. What people are saying is that the State has for quite some time now over stepped its righteous authority over the people and started to become our parents. It has gotten so bad that when you even mention it the masses flip out and wonder why some evil bastard wants to steal all the free shit they "Come up on

              • So then, what is the purpose of the State?

                • by Dishevel (1105119)
                  National Defense, Infrastructure, Foreign Relations, Border Security, Protecting Individual Rights, Protecting trade between the states, Ensuring a uniform set of laws that normal people can understand and follow.

                  Off the top of my head. You could look to the constitution. There you will find the actual enumerated powers of the Federal government. They were enumerated for a reason. The Feds have been chipping away at the freedoms the individual states, local governments and people had to experiment and try

                  • National Defense, Infrastructure, Foreign Relations, Border Security, Protecting Individual Rights, Protecting trade between the states, Ensuring a uniform set of laws that normal people can understand and follow.

                    What happens when the rights of an individual conflicts with the rights of a huge corporation?

                    • by Dishevel (1105119)
                      Ok. Name a Right that an Individual has that conflicts with a Right of a Corporation.

                      If you are talking about environmental damage and or pollution. This is one of the areas where government does need to step in under "Protecting Individual Rights". It historically has. EPA ring a bell? The issue is that as a people we need to distrust this as much as possible. That way the individual rights can be protected but the EPA is constrained by the mistrust of the people into not abusing and expanding its powers.

                    • Government should be small, on the side of the people and transparent when at all possible. Also, Importantly we should never have a regulation or law that we are compelled to live under that can not be easily explained and understood.

                      Ok, I agree with the "on the side of the people" and the "transparent" part. The "small" part might be nice. However, I would like you to consider a thought experiment, basically a reducto ad absurdum. Imagine a world in which there is only one corporation that controls all trade. I mean all. All goods must be bought through this corporation, and all people work through this corporation. What would the role of government be then? What if a person disagreed with that corporation? What if that corpora

                    • by Dishevel (1105119)
                      What you are looking at IS the State, unless you stay constantly vigilant.

                      We already have common sense monopoly laws. They are getting a bit convoluted due to corporations influencing the legislation and regulations. But this is the fault of the voters. If we keep voting in the same people and bitching about the results ...

                    • What you are looking at IS the State, unless you stay constantly vigilant.

                      Yes, exactly. And obviously we are not there yet. However, from what I can see, we are going towards this. It may not be once corporation, but even if it is ten, twenty or thirty corporations that control most economic activity, this is concerning to me. Of particular concern is the American food supply, both its creation and its distribution. Small farms are disappearing, with huge corporate owned farms becoming dominant. I believe this is a dangerous concentration of power.

                      However, the elephant in t

                    • by Dishevel (1105119)
                      People are so worried about how much the other guy has.

                      Lets look at the real important stuff. What information do I have access to? How easy is my life? What is being poor now? Can you move up and down the ladder?

                      Information is power. Today. Most people have more access to information than ever before. Our lives are easier. We have more things making our lives easy. We spend less time keeping the basics up. Poor used to be starvation and death. Now ... Poor is shitty computer, Slow DSL, a crappy feature p

            • by 0123456 (636235)

              You completely missed my point. If you try to eliminate the democratic State, the corporation will become the State.

              Only if you read too many Cyberpunk novels.

              How do you have a corporation without a State, when the very idea of a corporation is the product of the State? How long would Microsoft survive if they had to pay to enforce copyright themselves, without a State to do it for them?

          • By that logic, we should abolish the police and rely on the murderers and rapists and robbers to police themselves, since the police are worse than them. Also, do you really want to return to pre-EPA days, or are you young enough not to remember them? The river in Cleveland catching fire? Love Canal?

            • by Dishevel (1105119)
              I have lived in California most of my life. When I was in grade school we had "Smog Days". We were not allowed to play outside during recess. The EPA and the AQMD fixed it. My kids have never had a smog day. Did they fix the problem and then cut the budget down and keep the standards.

              No. They did not.

              They continually decide that more regulations need to be made. That less pollution is acceptable. They pull more power into their sphere. They go to far. Name 3 regulations put in place to solve a problem tha

    • by thrich81 (1357561)

      I read them both and it is gratifying to see that every comment so far (there aren't many) attached to the two stories you listed (WashPo and Bloomberg) rips ULA and Sen Shelby new ones for their attacks on Space X. I guess ULA's astroturfing isn't quite up to speed yet.

  • With a thick atmosphere and oceans and wide open plains everywhere there is little engineering justification to landing a rocket when you can simply pop a parachute.

    But Mars has a thin atmosphere and you need a working rocket to come home. Are the fins a lattice to simulate mar's thin air?

    Elon is nothing if not forward looking...

    • by Guspaz (556486)

      It'd be impossible to land something the shape of a Falcon 9 first stage precisely enough (and on its landing legs) when using a parachute, and it's easier to simply refuel a rocket than to refuel a rocket and replace the parachutes (which tends to be a somewhat destructive process, if you've seen pictures of the Dragon after parachute deployment, where the parachute cords are stored beneath ablative insulation that they rip out).

      The fins have greater surface area, and work better at high speeds than regula

      • Good to know about the fins... It was just a guess.

        I don't see why parachutes are inevitably destructive for Earth re entry however... Dragon design aside ...

        • by Guspaz (556486)

          Parachutes won't slow down something that big slow enough for it to survive landing on dry land. They put parachutes on the early Falcon 9, it didn't survive even a water landing.

          The shuttle's SRBs used parachutes and survived, but they also hit the ocean, and you can't land in the ocean and be rapidly reusable (need to refurbish after the saltwater damage).

          You also have little to no control over a parachute landing (if you also want to land at a sufficiently slow speed), so instead of being able to land ra

    • little engineering justification, sure. But there's a whole lot of financial justification.

      It's all about operational costs. To retrieve something like an Apollo capsule that pops a parachute and lands in the ocean, they have to deploy fleet of ships and bunch of personnel, which all costs money even though it has nothing to do with rocket engineering. Also landing in salt water will mean extensive refurbishing and/or making the rocket marine-resistant, which leads to even more downtime and money.

      Like in th

  • like apple circa 1978.

Stupidity, like virtue, is its own reward.

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