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Falcon Heavy Success!

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So a load of junk has been launched into space, into the wrong orbit, and the returning core crashed damaging the recovery drone ship.  All very impressive for sure, but is it really a great "Success!"?  Would a more accurate word be "failure"?  I'm damn sure that would have been said had NASA fouled up to this extent.

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41 minutes ago, Graham Boak said:

So a load of junk has been launched into space, into the wrong orbit, and the returning core crashed damaging the recovery drone ship.  All very impressive for sure, but is it really a great "Success!"?  Would a more accurate word be "failure"?  I'm damn sure that would have been said had NASA fouled up to this extent.

The only objective was testing the design. The Falcon Heavy did not blow up! That was all that was required. Everything else was icing on the cake. The core didn't land successfully but considering the technical aspect of doing such a thing and the fact it is new technology that needs refinement, 2 out of 3 ain't bad. 

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No.  One of the objectives was to launch a craft was made from three of their tested rockets, not something unknown, and this they did.  One objective as to launch  towards Mars - they failed to launch into their desired orbit.  One objective was to recover the entire launch system - they failed to recover the core vehicle, and as an unwanted extra have damaged the recovery ship.  That's not 2 out of three, which is pretty poor in the space business anyway, it's only 1 out of three.  I'm all in favour of what they are doing, but let's have a touch of realism about the achievements.  The icing is the loud PR - the cake needs a bit more attention.  I don't doubt it will get it, but to claim this mission as an overwhelming success is avoiding facing the truth.  I guess honesty is seen as bad PR.

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Not the first time the returning booster has crashed due to running out of fuel

 

 

 

That siad, the publicity they got is priceless.

 

 

Edited by Dave Fleming

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1 hour ago, Graham Boak said:

No.  One of the objectives was to launch a craft was made from three of their tested rockets, not something unknown, and this they did.  One objective as to launch  towards Mars - they failed to launch into their desired orbit.  One objective was to recover the entire launch system - they failed to recover the core vehicle, and as an unwanted extra have damaged the recovery ship.  That's not 2 out of three, which is pretty poor in the space business anyway, it's only 1 out of three.  I'm all in favour of what they are doing, but let's have a touch of realism about the achievements.  The icing is the loud PR - the cake needs a bit more attention.  I don't doubt it will get it, but to claim this mission as an overwhelming success is avoiding facing the truth.  I guess honesty is seen as bad PR.

 

?? I think you are severely underestimating the design changes when three of the rockets are brought together in the Falcon Heavy design.

 

That simultaneous landing of two boosters was a great success. It will be in historical documentaries regarding space travel in the future as the moment of 10 fold cost reduction. 

 

They overshoot Mars to showcase the reach of the system. their intention was never Mars orbit. 

 

The main objective of the mission was to qualify the Falcon Heavy & Falcon 9 second stage for long-coast missions like direct Geostationary Injections to allow the vehicles to compete for Department of Defence missions. Which was successful. 

 

Frankly until this launch I've always been skeptical of SpaceX but now I really think they deserve the hype.  

 

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After 82 successful missions, Ariane V failed to put satellites into quite the right orbit (although they will be able to rise to the correct position).  Just has Falcon Heavy failed to put its payload into the desired orbit (not to orbit Mars, no, that was never claimed).  The Ariane event  has been described as a "bizarre failure".  The Falcon Heavy, however, was a success?

 

It's the PR that gets unreal.  I suggest that the engineers behind the posturing are well aware.

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26 minutes ago, Graham Boak said:

After 82 successful missions, Ariane V failed to put satellites into quite the right orbit (although they will be able to rise to the correct position).  Just has Falcon Heavy failed to put its payload into the desired orbit (not to orbit Mars, no, that was never claimed).  The Ariane event  has been described as a "bizarre failure".  The Falcon Heavy, however, was a success?

 

It's the PR that gets unreal.  I suggest that the engineers behind the posturing are well aware.

Sorry, I do not see how that can be anything other than a "qualified" success.

 

Yes the centre core didn't land. But other than that the launch was succesful. Putting the Tesla roadster on the launch was clever and the knowing nods to the geeks/scifi nuts were perfect. The images of Starman in the roadster above the fragile blue globe earth are pure art. I'm not sure whether the final trajectory was a failure? I don't think that they quite knew what to expect because the burn was to take place after the vehicle had transitted the Van Allen Belts. I think there was a postulated trajectory but it was quite loose as in we'll launch it out there where it will be out of the way.

 

It seems you have a problem with the PR you have to remember that this is not NASA, ESA or Roscosmos this is a commercial enterprise and they need to sell their product. I can't think of a better way to advertise, can you?

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1 hour ago, Graham Boak said:

It's the PR that gets unreal.  I suggest that the engineers behind the posturing are well aware

Well, let's look at the things with some detachment. The claimed payload for FH is 66t. At this launch only about 2 were lifted? I wonder why... is the vehicle capable of lifting what it is supposed to lift? Is it clear from this test? Out of three parts that were expected to be returned only one actually did so (we will see if it will be reusable), the central block "missed' the pad (but from the speed of approach it is very lucky for the pad that the block actually missed it), and no one says anything about the second booster....

Now out of all this I can see three positives:

- It is great that something is actually being launched and the development work continues.

- From the public point of view - it is great this type of thing is not done with the taxpayer's money (or so it is claimed).

- From the personal point of view - I am happy that my monetary exposure to Elon's enterprises is 0.

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27 minutes ago, BallsBuster said:

Well, let's look at the things with some detachment. The claimed payload for FH is 66t. At this launch only about 2 were lifted? I wonder why... is the vehicle capable of lifting what it is supposed to lift? Is it clear from this test? Out of three parts that were expected to be returned only one actually did so (we will see if it will be reusable), the central block "missed' the pad (but from the speed of approach it is very lucky for the pad that the block actually missed it), and no one says anything about the second booster....

Now out of all this I can see three positives:

- It is great that something is actually being launched and the development work continues.

- From the public point of view - it is great this type of thing is not done with the taxpayer's money (or so it is claimed).

- From the personal point of view - I am happy that my monetary exposure to Elon's enterprises is 0.

 

Both boosters returned did they not?

 

 

Edited by Dave Fleming

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I used to work in the aircraft industry.  If one of our prototypes had taken off quite happily, but failed to successfully carry out its flight task, and then crashed on landing, do you think we would regard that as a success?  Would anyone believe us if we did?  So where's the difference to this case?  That's just what happened here.  Rocket science has moved past the days when the launch itself was sufficient to declare a success  "As long as it goes up, who cares where it comes down?"  Falcon has shown that they can carry out successful recoveries - though not every time it seems.

 

This flight was not a success.  If it had happened to NASA or Arianespace then no-one would have declared it so, and they'd have been laughed out of town had they attempted it.

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34 minutes ago, Dave Fleming said:

Both boosters returned did they not?

Yes, I stand corrected so it was 66% returnable. But is it re-usable and how it is related with costs?

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On ‎07‎/‎02‎/‎2018 at 4:27 AM, Structor said:

Now where can I get a poster of Spaceman in his Tesla headed for Mars to hang on my wall?

 

Here: Red Bubble

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23 hours ago, Tony C said:

Much of what Elon Musk impresses me but sending his car to orbit Mars permanantly strikes me as, somewhat odd!

 

What with our own issues with space debris, why start leaving something that has no scientific purpose, around another world?

 

Having said that though, I'm pleased that the launch and the recovery, partially, went well though landing the boosters on 3 legs seems precarious.

A couple of clarifications

 

It is NOT going into orbit around Mars.

In fact, it is not going near Mars at all.

 

It has been sent into an orbit around the sun which takes it out beyond the orbit of Mars - and it will continue in this loopy orbit for many thousands of years. At some point in the future it MAY pass within a few thousand miles of Mars but it was not going to do that for a long, long time. It is, in effect, a man-made asteroid orbiting the sun.

 

As for being "space debris", in the orbit it has been placed, there is absolutely nothing else man-made anywhere near it.. It is a tiny object and it is vastly (indeed HUGELY) outnumbered by natural lumps of rock and rubble.

 

People don't REALLY understand how vast space is and the number of objects placed by humans beyond the orbit of Mars over the past 50 years would hardly fill a ship container.

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The combined thrust of the Falcon Heavy is 5.5 million pounds. That is easily capable of lofting 64 tonnes into near earth orbit. 

 

The main test on Tuesday was to show that the arrangement of three boosters would hand together during ascent and not fall apart due to vibration, resonance  or aerodynamic stresses. That objective was achieved with ease.

 

There are at least two more Falcon Heavy launches schedules for 2018 - both carrying payloads for customers.

 

I am sure as the Falcon Heavy series is refined, it will become a real workhorse. Lifting capacity is the key to opening up the Solar System. Recovery and reuseability is also a major factor in changing access space. SpaceX are doing everything right as far as these two factors are concerned.

 

I see Tuesday's launch as a significant moment in the history of spaceflight.

 

 

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50 minutes ago, Eric Mc said:

A couple of clarifications

 

It is NOT going into orbit around Mars.

In fact, it is not going near Mars at all.

 

It has been sent into an orbit around the sun which takes it out beyond the orbit of Mars - and it will continue in this loopy orbit for many thousands of years. At some point in the future it MAY pass within a few thousand miles of Mars but it was not going to do that for a long, long time. It is, in effect, a man-made asteroid orbiting the sun.

 

As for being "space debris", in the orbit it has been placed, there is absolutely nothing else man-made anywhere near it.. It is a tiny object and it is vastly (indeed HUGELY) outnumbered by natural lumps of rock and rubble.

 

People don't REALLY understand how vast space is and the number of objects placed by humans beyond the orbit of Mars over the past 50 years would hardly fill a ship container.

I have no intention of knocking SpaceX, I'm extremely interested in their progress, it just seems to be an unnecessary, even corny, PR stunt. I also agree that yesterday's events can only be seen as a partial success but given time, hopefully total success will become the norm, if such a thing exists in space flight.

 

As for orbiting Mars, I'm sure that I had read somewhere, possibly on the BBC or JPL website, that it was to be put in a permanent orbit around Mars and I humbly apologise for getting it wrong!

 

As for it being 'space debris', it's man-made, has no scientific purpose and there's no plan for it to return to Earth, so what else can it be called?

 

Littering (?) as it no different to disposing of plastics in the oceans!

 

OK, littering maybe taking things a bit far and OH, for your information, I REALLY do understand how vast and may possibly even be infinite, space is!

Edited by Tony C

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Well I am impressed. This was Sci-fi when I did my Aeronautics and Astronautics degree and here we are. What is impressive is the rate of development and that it is not a national enterprise undertaking it. 

 

I have lost count of the number of paper ideas that I have read over the years - Hotol anyone? - but to have actually done this is impressive. 

 

Will

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Whenever a rocket is launched away from earth there will be bits of it that end up permanently in space (fairings, stages, interstages etc etc). So, the nature of what ends up orbiting the sun is not really of any relevance. It could have been a box of sand, water containers or blocks of concrete. It happens to be a ten year old car in this instance. And to suggest that this launch had no purpose is crass to say the least. Its purpose was to test the system. It did that very effectively.

 

It actually shocks me that people can be so negative. It just shows that whingers and moaners abound and will always find fault with even the most exciting and fun achievements.

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Complete success is when the payload is delivered into the correct orbit. Complete failure is when burning bits of the rocket fall back onto the launch pad. This flight was somewhere in between, but it was a hell of a lot closer to the success end of the spectrum. And as for putting a car into solar orbit, how much media attention would the launch have attracted if they'd put a block of concrete up instead? The very notion of a sports car made the reporters sit up and take notice, and all the other stuff--the dummy in the driver's seat, Bowie on the tapedeck, a towel in the glove compartment--just added to the interest.

 

Elon Musk is Delos D. Harriman come to life.

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So we have a company that allows it's employees time off to watch the efforts of it's workforce perform, including the blue collar guys. Got a new configuration off the ground without exploding and using second hand components. Came up with a whimsical and original mass simulator to prove the payload to Mars. Demonstrated long coast technology before it would be needed for the Moon/Mars missions. Caught the attention of millions around the world. On the other hand the trajectory isn't what they expected although everything worked after a long trip through the Van Allen belt. The centre booster relight failed but it's trajectory was good until that happened. It cost the US taxpayer peanuts compared to say. Mrs Trump's security bill. 

Seems a bloody good result to me. Relight mechanism needs looking at to cope with much higher speed in the atmosphere. Next time should be fantastic.

We haven't seen the cool footage Elon talked about of the centre booster impacting yet (I hope we do) but nobody was in any danger at all.   

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