Close, but no cigar: SpaceX reusable rocket sticks landing but tips over

By Shawn Knight · 21 replies
Apr 16, 2015
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  1. SpaceX recently tried for a second time to land its Falcon 9 rocket on a floating drone barge and for the second time, the experiment ended in explosive fashion. If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.

    SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk said via Twitter that the rocket landed fine but excess lateral velocity caused it to tip over post-landing. That’s better than the January landing in which the rocket came down at an angle and violently exploded on impact.

    The eventual goal is to be able to successfully land a rocket in order to reuse it. Musk previously said that if one can figure out how to effectively reuse rockets like we do airplanes, the cost of access to space will be reduced by as much as a factor of a hundred.

    No word yet on when SpaceX will try for a third time.

    Found is a TechSpot feature where we share clever, funny or otherwise interesting stuff from around the web.

    Permalink to story.

  2. stewi0001

    stewi0001 TS Evangelist Posts: 1,681   +1,080

    Oooo so close, you can see that the top thruster was was trying to keep it up
  3. davislane1

    davislane1 TS Grand Inquisitor Posts: 4,737   +3,757

    BS. It clearly makes a successful landing at 0:08 and, if you look very carefully, you can see captain cranky pulling a rug out from under the rocket at 0:10 while giving the finger to Musk.
  4. DurasnoPeach

    DurasnoPeach TS Rookie

    Try, try again. Keep plugging away. You'll make it. Good Luck.
    melkiik and TheDreams like this.
  5. I guess that one is not reusable, time to waste more millions on another one!
  6. They landend more times than twice already. And several times with more success and accuracy. But these were landings on the sea which obviously never ended in reuse of the rocket. Which would be the historic milestone.
  7. Good thing about privatizing space though, these rockets aren't made with tax payer money. They can waste billions as far as I'm concerned.
  8. Rumplestiltskin

    Rumplestiltskin TS Rookie

    Impossible to believe that a tall column, could be held upright on a tossing ship at sea. Add to that the fact that there was no immediate gripper to stabilize the rocket. (even a boat needs rigging that extends to the top of the mast) It needs a land based pad and a substantial grip mechanism to capture it in an upright position, and either hold it there or immediately swing it down horizontally onto the ground.
  9. 9Nails

    9Nails TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,215   +177

    Even if it stuck the landing and got a 10 from the French judge, I'd still watch the video 3 or 4 times! This stuff is just fascinating.
    melkiik likes this.
  10. MilwaukeeMike

    MilwaukeeMike TS Evangelist Posts: 2,890   +1,224

    One might argue that using a rocket only once like the govt does is also a waste of billions in taxpayer money.
  11. trx430ex

    trx430ex TS Rookie

    Fascinating, must have watched it 10 times, just can not get enough of this stuff.

    As a mechanical engineer, perhaps we are going about this the wrong way, instead of trying to catch it from the bottom up. How about catching it from the top down? Build a giant funnel on the barge, "with exhaust venting", and have the rocket land in the funnel. The bottom fins on the rocket would guide it down the funnel, then top fins would pop out and catch the top of the funnel. (Shutdown!) holding it nice and securely undamaged in a transportable structure.
    dms96960 likes this.
  12. Badvok

    Badvok TS Addict Posts: 174   +66

    1. It's his money; 2. It's not millions, the landing was just an extra experiment at the end of launching an ISS resupply capsule; 3. It has the potential to save millions in the long term.
    yRaz and TheDreams like this.
  13. H3llion

    H3llion TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,377   +286

    Nice to see them keep trying instead of giving up after failed tries. Go Elon!
  14. Try adding one parachute... !!!

  15. I don’t get why you would not use a parachute. I assume a parachute would weigh far less than the fuel needed to do this.

    Also, I am sure that using rocket fuel creates more global warming….. Maybe they should use batteries. They are supposed to save the world.
  16. Uncle Al

    Uncle Al TS Evangelist Posts: 3,347   +1,991

    They'll eventually put it all together! After all, that's the reason I bought my kids an old car to start with!!!!
  17. Someone tell them about pillows
  18. melkiik

    melkiik TS Enthusiast Posts: 42   +10

    So close. And to make a rocket hit target that size on reverse is hard enough.
    I think they just need few more times to try it out.

    And why the violent explosion, one would think that kipping to sea would resolve in slush not boom? Or do they blow them up on purposes incase of failure so no one can come and dive the tech and steal it? Some facts needed for a rocket noob *nerd*
  19. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 13,012   +2,536

    Wouldn't it be easier to allow it to be stolen, have somebody get it working, then sue them for patent infringement?

    Really. They should run a cost analysis to see which would be cheaper, further R & D, or patent litigation.

    I hate that ****** ***** ***.

    That said, I come from a time when men were men, VTOL aircraft had propellers, government took on all the big ideas, some of which almost, but didn't quite, come to fruition.:oops:[​IMG]
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2015
  20. dividebyzero

    dividebyzero trainee n00b Posts: 4,891   +1,264

    + (Capricorn) One
  21. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 9,728   +3,701

    That's no excuse for running around and setting all the Teslas on fire. Just don't tell anyone I supplied the matches.

    Seriously though; I've seen mechanical arms programmed to automatically catch objects thrown across a room. I don't see why the same can not be done on a larger scale. The rocket could be caught before it completely touches down, even if it is not perfectly vertical.
  22. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 13,012   +2,536

    By the same token, this is the reason the space shuttles had wings. Because it's too hard to parallel park, in three dimensions, backwards, and doing it without rear view mirrors.

    As far as a mechanical arm goes, yeah but, an arm would only have a finite practical reach, which would, (I'm pretty sure), make the target landing point for the rocket, impractically small.

    All of this is why I think Musk is a crackpot. As soon as one of these fools starts talking about "flying cars", it's just some egomaniac running their mouth. Flying cars are far from a new idea, and even further from a good one.

    So, why can't you use a retrieval arm? Because once Musk gets an idea in his head to do something a certain way, it's all over save for the beg-a-thon for funding.

    Check out the link I posted to the Convair "Pogo". VTOL has been screwed around with for 6 decades, to very little avail. The only practical solutions are the "vectored thrust" aircraft. The Harrier works, but that Lockheed "Osprey", was so over budget, for so long, with so many issues, one could never call it an, 'overnight success'. One major factor with the AV-8, is VTOL or STOL cuts the range of the aircraft by perhaps as much as half. A mission has to specifically require such maneuvers, or they don't use those capabilities. And fuel is an even bigger consideration where space flight is involved. The Brits use the Harrier on their aircraft carriers, on which, they have launch ramps for them. So no VTOL stunts at sea.

    Musk has a god complex, and he's been watching too much Sci-Fi. The two really don't mix well in the mind of a sociopath.. And that's why I hate that ******* ****** ***!:mad:
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2015

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