SpaceX's first Falcon 9 Block 5 returns to port in pristine condition

Discussion in 'SpaceX' started by Eric Ralph, May 15, 2018.

  1. Eric Ralph

    Eric Ralph Member

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    #1 Eric Ralph, May 15, 2018
    Last edited by a moderator: May 15, 2018
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    SpaceX’s first launched and landed Falcon 9 Block 5 booster has returned to port after a handful of days at sea, hopefully marking the beginning of a long and storied future of commercial missions. The booster - numbered B1046 - appears to be in extraordinarily good shape, more or less unscathed after a relatively high-energy reentry. Photographer Tom Cross documented the historic return in person at Port Canaveral.

    [​IMG]B1046 arrives at Port Canaveral after an eventful inaugural launch and landing. (Tom Cross)

    After detaching from the rocket’s second stage, which went on to successfully inject Bangladesh’s first communications satellite into a geostationary transfer orbit, B1046 reached a peak of around 110 km before reentering Earth’s atmosphere. Traveling 2 kilometers (1.2 miles) per second, Block 5 eventually completed a soft landing 500 miles off the Florida coast on the drone ship Of Course I Still Love You. The 25th successful Falcon 9 booster recovery, B1046 marked that historic achievement in proper style, dressed with large, black sections of the new SpaceX-developed thermal protection system, among dozens of other major improvements included in the launch vehicle’s “Block” upgrade.

    [​IMG]Technicians attach an interstage-grabber to lift the booster. (Tom Cross)[​IMG]Compared to past high-energy GTO recoveries, B1046 is in extremely good condition. (Tom Cross)[​IMG]The central aluminum grid fin of 1029 features a dramatic lack of several vanes, likely melted off during the intense heat of reentry. (Reddit, u/thedubya22)[​IMG]Again, B1046 looks almost pristine thanks to its new thermal protection system, described as a sort of felt that is both extremely heat-resistant and hydrophobic. (Tom Cross)

    While not visible, the most significant improvements are likely to be found at the base of the first stage’s octaweb - now assembled with bolts instead of welds - in the form of a dramatically improved heat shield around its nine Merlin 1D engines (also upgraded, of course). One of the Falcon recovery technicians showed some exceptional interest in the shield and Merlins, likely documenting their condition in extreme detail to inform engineering reviews of the pathfinder rocket after its first flight test. Per CEO Elon Musk’s pre-launch phone call with members of the press, SpaceX means to do an extremely thorough disassembly and analysis of B1046 in order to (hopefully) validate many thousands of hours of design, engineering, modeling, and testing. If those reviews are promising, it’s extremely likely that B1046 will be reassembled and flown many more times, perhaps one day becoming another historic monument to SpaceX’s reusability program and Block 5 upgrade.

    [​IMG]A technician examines the booster’s brand-new leg retraction mechanism, likely to be operationally trialed for the first time sometime today or tomorrow. (Tom Cross)[​IMG]Octagrabber hangs on to B1046 as OCISLY arrives in port. (Tom Cross)[​IMG](Tom Cross)[​IMG]A SpaceX technician spied taking photos of the Block 5 rocket’s Merlin engines and octaweb heatshield. (Tom Cross)

    Meanwhile, this mission also marked another routine operation for SpaceX’s robotic stage-securing robot, unofficially nicknamed Roomba or Octagrabber. This custom-built robot is used to better ensure the safety of SpaceX’s recovery crew by allowing them to remain on an accompanying vessel while securing the booster robotically, significantly lowering the chances of it sliding around or tipping over in high sea states.

    Article: SpaceX's first Falcon 9 Block 5 returns to port in pristine condition
     
  2. I\'d like to know if the Block 5 variant is designed to be launched while standing on its legs. That would make it much more \"aircraft like\" in function but lots more weight on the legs. Just sayin.
     
  3. Sobre a SpaceX, O que é que os diretores têm um Gerador ou um Motor Eletromagnético Autossustentável com AUTONOMIA de 02 (dois) anos? Acredito que seria fantástico esse momento para um SpaceX ou não?
     
  4. Venkatesh Ravi

    Venkatesh Ravi New Member

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    Nope it will not be capable of launching from its legs since firstly the legs cannot handle the full weight of the rocket with fuel. Secondly its 1 thing to cope with the Aerodynamic stresses of the legs with single engine running at half thrust and quite another to do that with 9 engines at full thrust. It will need to be put back on the launch pad for relaunch but do expect upgrades to pads that will make it much faster
     
  5. john.hind

    john.hind New Member

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    Good grief, the quality of the wiring to the leg release latches looks like something I'd throw together from bell wire in an experiment, not a robust aerospace job designed to survive ten flights!
     
  6. Buzz Aldrenalin

    Buzz Aldrenalin New Member

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    I've heard the same argument from simpletons who looked at the lunar lander and determined that there was no way something so fragile could have landed on the moon.
     
  7. dr-apo

    dr-apo Guest

    I wonder if there are any plans or ability to partially refuel on the ship and fly back to launch site, taking off directly without mounting to a launch stand.  Just lift off with maybe 3 engines and fly back.  I thought I read that the new landing legs are capable of self retracting, but maybe I read that wrong.  .   If Musk wants to turn these things over in a day, he can\'t have it steaming back home on barge at 20mph from 500 miles down range.
     
  8. Venkatesh Ravi

    Venkatesh Ravi New Member

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    Yeah I wonder what credentials you have to evaluate and make such a claim. Moreover its their design they know what their parts are what needs what to make relights not you.
     
  9. Null

    Null New Member

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    Likely shore power and data cables.
     

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