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Elon Musk Releases Supercut of SpaceX Rocket Explosions (hardocp.com) 61

Eloking shares a report from HardOCP: Elon Musk is demonstrating how one should not land an orbital rocket booster: the video, currently trending on YouTube, is essentially a blooper reel of SpaceX rocket tests that went explosive. While the company has more or less perfected launching Falcon 9 rockets, it is still working hard on recovering as much of the multi-million-dollar system as possible.
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Elon Musk Releases Supercut of SpaceX Rocket Explosions

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  • Gotta love free PR, especially when it is styled as a "look how far we've come" / "look at how much we have figured out" celebration.

    Looking forward to FH later this year and the start of some proper accumulation of mass in usable orbits!

    • by saibot834 ( 1061528 ) on Saturday September 16, 2017 @04:22AM (#55208577)

      My take on the blooper reel, as funny as it is, is that it's supposed to lower expectations for Falcon Heavy. Falcon Heavy was originally supposed to launch in 2013, but the date has been pushed back multiple times in the recent years. Part of the reason is that it never was the top priority -- the Falcon 9 upgrades meant that more payloads could be launched using a single booster instead of three. And SpaceX has to keep NASA happy and fulfill their Commercial Resupply Missions to the ISS & the upcoming Dragon flights (first manned flights).

      But part of the reason why Falcon Heavy was delayed so much is because it is hugely complex. You can just stick two boosters to the side of a core booster and keep it together with some struts, like in Kerbal Space Program. The structural loads are all different and must be accounted for.

      So, I think the timing of the video so close to the scheduled launch of Falcon Heavy in November of this year is supposed to carefully counter the high expectations that the public has, given SpaceX's recent successes. Rocket science is hard, and failures are to be expected. But if you work on the problem for long enough, you eventually get it right. That's the message of the video.

      • What? "Moar boosters" isn't the solution to everything?

      • Verbally he's been saying SpaceX expects two things out of this launch: to collect a lot of data, and to put on a good show for the spectators.
      • by mellon ( 7048 )

        That's true, and it's totally okay. The video was a blast. I laughed, I cried. The lesson in this is that being willing to fail is how you succeed.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        It's so sad that we're so risk-averse as a culture. Nothing worth doing is easy, and with engineering there's no substitute for real-world tests.

        Musk is ambitious, perhaps overly so, but he's getting stuff done. He's pretty the only person really pushing innovation in space in the west; politicians aren't interested; national space agencies don't have the funding and the big aerospace companies are quite happy with their giant profit margins for routine launches. If we're ever going to get off this rock, we

        • Randian theoretics are not the reason why progress in manned space missions requires privatization. It's because private enterprise can tolerate failure. It's inevitable that crews will be lost out there, but government cannot tolerate this without years of soul-searching, political assignment of blame, and the incessant input from Luddite yammerheads.

      • Rocket science is hard

        ...but not exactly brain surgery, is it?

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?... [youtube.com]

  • by execthis ( 537150 ) on Saturday September 16, 2017 @03:40AM (#55208469)

    "unscheduled rapid disassembly" love it.

    seeing the final two successful landings is really poignant after seeing all the failures.

    go team SpaceX!

  • It's still more successful and impressive overall than North Korea's pathetic launch success rate.
  • Is the Liberty Bell March used in comedy video because it was used by Monty Python's Flying Circus, or is there just something intrinsically funny about that piece of music? Or does it just have the right timing for comedy?
    • by robbak ( 775424 ) on Saturday September 16, 2017 @04:25AM (#55208587) Homepage
      All three, really. Great timing and unusual sounds to match with events, changes in feel to match to seams, and it was never a serious piece of music. And Monty Python references always make people smile.
    • by Megane ( 129182 )
      Just to check, I muted the audio and tried watching it while playing Yakkety Sax (the other famous comedy music) in my head. It was just too fast for the video. I tried speeding up the video to 2x but it didn't help much.
  • by Eloking ( 877834 ) on Saturday September 16, 2017 @04:22AM (#55208583)

    If you're to fail, fail hard and with style!

  • He does it with real ones, we do it with KSP... the videos are oddly similar.

    • I know this is paid-for PR
    • I know SpaceX technologies were spearheaded by others before it
    • I know SpaceX is a beneficiary of NASA largess and taxpayer funding
    • I know SpaceX is not close to achieving its mission of colonizing planets
    • I know Elon inflates many of his claims
    • I know his company's stock is probably overvalued

    But damn, I love Elon and SpaceX.

  • by Gavagai80 ( 1275204 ) on Saturday September 16, 2017 @06:07AM (#55208805) Homepage

    There are failed landing attempts, not rocket tests. There's a big difference. All of the primary missions of these flights succeeded.

    • There are failed landing attempts, not rocket tests. There's a big difference. All of the primary missions of these flights succeeded.

      Test-landing a rocket is a rocket test.

      • One interesting omission is the pad refueling incident with the earth shattering kaboom. Now, it wasn't supposed to even make a spark at that point but it was a failure.

        But you have to give SpaceX some credit. I've not seen an official NASA, Russian or NK 'blooper' reel done in house. Somebody has a sense of humor and proportion.

        • by Anonymous Coward

          I did an internship at JPL in the 90s and have family that currently work there.

          If someone internally at NASA made a blooper reel like this that would be the end of their career.

          • by WallyL ( 4154209 )

            NASA was taxpayer-funded. The tax payers would have not tolerated videos of the sort. However, the general public likes the self-deprecation of showing failures (without the loss of human life) with a plan to grow beyond them and not give up.

        • I thought that too, but then the difference is that it's easy to be light hearted about losing boosters that would have been lost anyway, whereas being light hearted about destroying customer's payloads doesn't come across so well.

    • There are failed landing attempts, not rocket tests. There's a big difference. All of the primary missions of these flights succeeded.

      Came here to point this out.

      I know some NASA sub-contractor types who are rabidly contemptuous of SpaceX, saying things like "he doesn't even have the mission success rate of North Korea!"

      Oh really? True SpaceX has probably blown up a bigger percentage of its rockets than anyone, but I wasn't aware that anyone had a reusable self-landing booster.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        What bullshit is this?

        SpaceX has lost one rocket during launch and one in a pad accident. Success rate is around 93% which is normal for a launcher. The failure rate is not "bigger percentage than anyone" - it is actually quite low, especially for a new rocket family.

        The number of boosters that blow up after delivering primary mission for every other provider is 100%. For SpaceX it is rapidly getting to be less than 50%. They have so far recovered 16 first stage boosters from 41 Falcon 9 launches without bl

  • Have to say, my favorite part is what I assume are helium bottles skywriting after the to unsuccessful drone ship landings.
  • Tesla Car Chase Ends In Flaming Car Wreck Explosion So Violent It Is Confused For Fireworks

    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/... [zerohedge.com]

  • What I like about the reel is they took the trouble to print the root cause of each of the failures that were captured. It is really intimidating the number of things that can and have gone wrong with a machine like that.

    You have to wonder what potential failures they haven't caught yet. Sticky throttle valve? Failed landing strut? You would think those failures should never have happened in the first place.

    One question: is that landing barge manned? How would you like to have that job?

    • I think the landing barge is a drone (they might have an intern with a err "Manual Power Disconnect" device on board but i think his instructions are Swing and BAIL

    • They are drone ships, both of them. People still do have to come on board after the landing to secure the rocket so it can be brought back to port. That's not exactly a safe job either. But they're testing a robot to do that job.

  • Is is really cool that they not only show their successes and can put things in perspective. It is rocket science, things are complex and do not always work out as planned. Especially the first time. And the second. And...

    It is also motivational for others to see that even highly specialized companies need some learning too. And succeed in the end.

The flow chart is a most thoroughly oversold piece of program documentation. -- Frederick Brooks, "The Mythical Man Month"

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