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SpaceX Releases Animation of Planned Falcon Heavy Launch (gizmodo.com.au) 108

intellitech writes: SpaceX CEO Elon Musk recently shared a new (and, really freaking cool) animation demonstrating how the company plans to launch the maiden flight of their Falcon Heavy system later this year, which will be the most powerful rocket since the Saturn V used for the moon landings during the Apollo-era. According to Elon Musk's Instragram post, "FH is twice the thrust of the next largest rocket currently flying and ~2/3 thrust of the Saturn V moon rocket." He also reiterates that there's a "lot that can go wrong in the November launch."

Direct link to the YouTube video.

SpaceX Releases Animation of Planned Falcon Heavy Launch

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  • I am not as skeptical as most that this won't actually happen.

    It will happen. And it changes things, yet again.

    I do love progress. I promise you... this will happen.

    • by Nutria ( 679911 )

      What will happen? (A launch later this year, a successful launch later this year, or a successful launch later this year that also returns the first stages?)

    • by hord ( 5016115 )

      What changes? What is the demand for this?

      • The demand, most obviously, is a means for America to start putting astronauts into space again. No more relying on the Russians to do it.

        And it puts in place a stepping stone to moon trips or mars trips.

        Yes, most of this is regaining lost capability.

        • by hord ( 5016115 )

          The US only put astronauts into space to prove to the USSR and the world that we had superior air and technological capability. That box was checked long ago. There is no demand for astronauts in space. They are a relic of the 60s through the 80s and have been replaced with robots. What lost capability? We can build Saturn V rockets all day.

          I don't see any big changes here. We get bigger rockets to push heavier garbage into our outer atmosphere. Electrolytes.

          • A space Luddite on slashdot. Interesting!

          • Actually you can not build a Sarturn V again.
            There never where any 'version controlled' plans/sketches for them.
            So what you now have are mere ideas on uncorrect blueprints, and if you have luck, some shipping lists for parts (which I doubt).
            Reviving a 40+ year old project is close to impossible, imho.

            • You have so little faith in laser scanners and modern manufacturing CAD/CAM/CAE software?
              • Don't get your point.
                What do you want to scan? A more or less dismanteled Saturn V in a museum?

                To use CAD/CAM you need a model. If you have none ....

                • Yes. Disassemble it, scan it and duplicate all the parts.
                  • If the thing is complete it would work, but then again likely parts are missing. Most likely we can not get the electronics and compiters again. If the software is still available we could emulate it on modern hardware, though.

        • The F9H is not necessary to put astronauts into space. Astronauts will go to the ISS on the regular F9 as soon as NASA decides crew dragon is safe.

      • Large payloads to geostationary orbit with re-usable launch vehicles. SpaceX can just barely do geo with the Falcon 9 and it can't be landed afterwards. They'd really like to be able to geo (where there's a lot of demand) and get the cost savings of reusability.

    • by arth1 ( 260657 )

      It will happen. And it changes things, yet again.

      What will change?
      Isn't this a bit like a small car company saying they'll probably, possibly, real soon now, test a car that's 2/3 as powerful as a 1960s model?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 07, 2017 @07:48AM (#54955021)

    It's not new.

    • by Nutria ( 679911 ) on Monday August 07, 2017 @07:53AM (#54955041)

      Two years is damned recent... when you compare it to when the Great Pyramid was built.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Yep.

      Elon just reposted this to his twitter and now everybody is thinking this is somehow news..

      • by OzPeter ( 195038 )

        Elon just reposted this to his twitter and now everybody is thinking this is somehow news..

        When will non-believers like you give the prophet credit for deeming to communicate with the faithful? It doesn't what he says, or when he says it - instead you should being feeling all joyous inside just hear his missives. /s

        • When will non-believers like you give the prophet credit for deeming to communicate with the faithful? It doesn't what he says, or when he says it - instead you should being feeling all joyous inside just hear his missives. /s

          Oi. I can't tell if the mess you made of the English was intentional or not. Let's try that again...

          When will nonbelievers like you give the prophet credit for deigning to communication with the faithful? It isn't what he says, or when he says it—instead you should be feeling all joyous inside just to hear his missives. </sarcasm>

          Stop posting drunk, Peter.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 07, 2017 @08:11AM (#54955109)

    according to Musk's twitter here [twitter.com]

  • So is this basically three of the regular ones strapped together or a different thing entirely?
    • The concept was "three of the regular ones strapped together", but actually it's required a lot more design changes than originally thought...

      https://youtu.be/XqYPmshyCDU?t=28m24s

    • by Kjella ( 173770 )

      So is this basically three of the regular ones strapped together or a different thing entirely?

      Well that was the general idea, take your basic Falcon 9 and strap two more first stages on the side as boosters. Apparently it wasn't quite that easy, though I'm not sure why SpaceX has struggled so much with it. It seems to be the same principle like the Delta IV Heavy [wikipedia.org] and several other existing rockets. One factor can be that SpaceX has been able to boost the F9 launch capacity enough to "steal" some payloads originally planned for FH, it's now more niche than initially planned. On the high-end the FH wi

      • Re:manage a three (Score:5, Interesting)

        by aleksander suur ( 4765615 ) on Monday August 07, 2017 @09:57AM (#54955581)
        The initial idea of moar boosters didn't work because as a center core regular F9 booster can't handle three times the structural load. The schedule hasn't been helped by the fact that they still don't actually have a launch stand that is capable of FH launch, though they should have LC-39A converted soon enough. Plus yeah, prioritization.
        • There will be a market for it.

          The FH will let them put kit out to a further GTO, reducing the amount of fuel the satellite burns to circularize. That leaves more fuel in the satellite, reducing one of the big constraints on the satellite's lifespan. If this lets a customer keep their satellite alie for an extra year or two that's a huge cost savings.

  • by backslashdot ( 95548 ) on Monday August 07, 2017 @11:08AM (#54956001)

    Where the fuck is the Raptor engine? How about an update on that? I am seriously interested in seeing a re-usable methane full flow staged combustion rocket engine.

    • Why in God's name would you want that? Reusable engines are of no interest, we have had resuabe engines for 50 years. The RL-10 could be used for an arbitrary number of flights if you could get it back. They have individual engines with 50+ flight worth of run time with nearly no wear of the major parts since the 60's. The SSMEs were reusable, along with OMS engines (they are going to reuse flown engines for Orion SM at least in some cases). Methane as a fuel is net no better than anything else, less good

  • That animation gives me an incredible feeling of deja vu. I can't quite put my finger on it...

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lYSOmYyNHpU

  • Very nice animation - - - BUT

    1) note the word 'planned' - even Musk is down-playing the full success of the initial launch

    2) only the 2 out-board engines will land at Kennedy - the central engine burns longer and thus Kennedy is outside it's return/landing capability - - - it will land on a barge in the Atlantic

    3) Item of Interest - the 2 out-board engines have been 'flight-tested', they are recycled launch engines

    All-in-all, a very nice YouTube vid - but the odds of some kind of failure are pretty high. Still, I wish the best of luck for Musk and his team. They have done wonders over the last few years in turning the governmentally-controlled space-launch industry into a viable commercial business.

    GO - MUSK - GO . . . It's gonna' be neat to see the 2 outboard engines landing simultaneously at Kennedy.

    cheers . . .

  • Here's one for the BOTE crowd - - -

    How about strapping FOUR outboard engines (or even SIX in a hexagonal array) wrapped around the central engine.
    OK, so the thrust of even 3 full-burn engines over-stresses the vehicle, burn the outboards at 2-at-a-time max thrust, with all others throttled down, then jettison the exhausted engines and ramp up the next 2 to full thrust.

    With a 4x set of outboards, the range is vastly expanded - geosync and moon insertion.

    And with a 6-pack - burning 2 at a time, Mars and the Asteroids become real possibilities.

    For near-earth orbits, the payload capacity becomes HUGE - equal / exceeding the Saturn V with the 4 outboard (plus central core) - - - and REALLY HUGE using the 6-pack plus core configuration.

    Hell, with the 6-pack configuration, you could conceiveably deliver TWO fully loaded engines to low-to-medium orbit so they could be strapped onto another vehicle - - - to be used for Lunar, Mars, and Asteroid missions.

    • Interesting.
      I guess none of the engineers at Space X has thougt about that.

    • > OK, so the thrust of even 3 full-burn engines over-stresses the vehicle, burn the outboards at 2-at-a-time max thrust, with all others throttled down, then jettison the exhausted engines and ramp up the next 2 to full thrust.
      > And with a 6-pack - burning 2 at a time, Mars and the Asteroids become real possibilities.

      Burning 2 at a time is extremely inefficient. Spend some time in Kerbal Space Program and you'll see why this doesn't work. You want to burn as much of your fuel as close to the ground

      • Very true - but if it disassembles your rocket due to stress overload, your totally up the proverbial creek - - - and the docs I've read about the structural stress loads on the Falcon indicate that it can NOT withstand more than 2 engines at full thrust in it's current configuration. So - - - whatcha' gonna' do? - build a completely new rocket, or use what you have and boost the system with PAIRS of engines firing together?
        Hell, the most efficient thrust system today is to fire off a small nuke under your

    • by Kjella ( 173770 )

      Well, boosters create a lot of sideways forces on the main stage. It's been done as a cheap way to increase thrust for greater flexibility, but I imagine that with many boosters you're better off just building a bigger core stage so you get all the force behind it. That's why for example the ITS concept is one huge cylinder, if that's your regular launch size you don't use boosters.

      • Agreed. But if you want to do it NOW, you use what you have - basically the current launch vehicle with extra strap-on engines.

  • The launch should go fine, just like in the video - so long as there's no roof snipers about.

  • How do I know that all the other launches were not just also very good animations? Even Musk says we might live in a simulation!

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