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SpaceX's Grasshopper  
User currently offlineZANL188 From United States of America, joined Oct 2006, 3433 posts, RR: 0
Posted (1 year 3 months 3 weeks 2 days 10 hours ago) and read 15792 times:
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Another space commercialization idea that may or may not work out is SpaceX's Grasshopper. The idea is to fly a Falcon 9 first stage back to its launch site & reuse it, thereby lowering the cost of getting to orbit.

Recently SpaceX had another successful test of the Grasshopper, flying the 12 story tall vehicle to a height of approximately 12 stories and then landing. Amazing thing to me here, vs other similiar vehicles, is the sheer size of the thing... It's BIG, note the vehicles around the launch pad...

http://youtu.be/B4PEXLODw9c


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36 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineZANL188 From United States of America, joined Oct 2006, 3433 posts, RR: 0
Reply 1, posted (1 year 3 months 3 weeks 2 days 10 hours ago) and read 15787 times:
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Animation of what a fully reusable Falcon 9 launch (less the trunk it seems) might look like...

http://youtu.be/OX2-qEC7P_I



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User currently offlinenomadd22 From United States of America, joined Feb 2008, 1763 posts, RR: 0
Reply 2, posted (1 year 3 months 3 weeks 1 day 18 hours ago) and read 15612 times:

I'd been wondering how they'd get the 2nd stage on the ground since an M1D would be way too powerful. It looks like 4 small thrusters. Super Dracos don't seem likely since you'd have to add hypergolic tanks.


Andy Goetsch
User currently offlinezanl188 From United States of America, joined Oct 2006, 3433 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (1 year 3 months 3 weeks 1 day 15 hours ago) and read 15563 times:
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2nd stage is the difficult bit. Personally I think they'll be doing well to get the 1st stage back.


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User currently offlineGST From United Kingdom, joined Jun 2008, 930 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (1 year 3 months 3 weeks 1 day 14 hours ago) and read 15539 times:



Quoting zanl188 (Reply 3):
2nd stage is the difficult bit.

Whilst that is probably true on the propulsion end, I'm not sure it is on the navigational side. The second stage is inserted into orbit and can be directed to de-orbit at any time with little fuel requirement and with the considerable aerobreaking meaning relatively little fuel will be needed to steer and retard the module for the final pad landing. The first stage does not get into an orbit, therefore to get it back to the initial launch pad requires you to burn not only to decelerate but indeed to reverse direction onto a ballistic trajectory back to the pad. This needs far more fuel, even for a relatively light stage. Much better IMO to land somewhere like the Azores (or possibly even further afield) and ship the rocket back home from there, which would still offer a saving over building a new one.

Of course the remote landing pad would somewhat complicate the weather requirements for go/no go decisions if the economics of the launch operation actually require the launcher to be reusable in every instance.

[Edited 2012-12-26 09:04:27]

User currently offlinezanl188 From United States of America, joined Oct 2006, 3433 posts, RR: 0
Reply 5, posted (1 year 3 months 3 weeks 1 day 14 hours ago) and read 15529 times:
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Quoting GST (Reply 4):
Much better IMO to land somewhere like the Azores (or possibly even further afield) and ship the rocket back home from there, which would still offer a saving over building a new one.

Quite a bit of fuel would be needed to get as far down range as the Azores. Seems to me the thing to do would be to land on a large barge, maybe an old oil tanker, or a spit of land somewhere.

The other problem with going back to the launch site is range safety. Titusville is just on the other side of the river from the launch site... would be bad to drop a first stage on the neighbors.



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User currently offlineGST From United Kingdom, joined Jun 2008, 930 posts, RR: 0
Reply 6, posted (1 year 3 months 3 weeks 1 day 12 hours ago) and read 15507 times:

Quoting zanl188 (Reply 5):
Quite a bit of fuel would be needed to get as far down range as the Azores. Seems to me the thing to do would be to land on a large barge, maybe an old oil tanker, or a spit of land somewhere.

More fuel than reversing direction? I'm not so sure. But I agree a floating pad would seem to be the most practical first stage recovery site as you can put it wherever is most convenient. Of course if it is convenient for first stage recovery it would almost certainly be in a location that you can easily bring the second stage down onto after payload insertion too which simplifies things massively.

Quoting zanl188 (Reply 5):

The other problem with going back to the launch site is range safety. Titusville is just on the other side of the river from the launch site... would be bad to drop a first stage on the neighbors.

True, but is it any worse than a first stage going boom shortly after liftoff and raining rocket fuel on the vicinity? I'd love to see the relative risk assessments of those!


User currently offlinezanl188 From United States of America, joined Oct 2006, 3433 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (1 year 3 months 3 weeks 1 day 12 hours ago) and read 15500 times:
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Quoting GST (Reply 6):
True, but is it any worse than a first stage going boom shortly after liftoff and raining rocket fuel on the vicinity? I'd love to see the relative risk assessments of those!

Generally on liftoff the boosters are heading away from populated areas... In this case the booster is headed towards a populated area, big difference.



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User currently offlineGST From United Kingdom, joined Jun 2008, 930 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (1 year 3 months 3 weeks 1 day 10 hours ago) and read 15458 times:

Yes they do if working correctly, but the [remote] potential for harm remains which is what I was referring to.

User currently offlinenomadd22 From United States of America, joined Feb 2008, 1763 posts, RR: 0
Reply 9, posted (1 year 3 months 3 weeks 1 day 7 hours ago) and read 15398 times:

Spacex seems to be getting pretty serious about the Texas site. That would change the 1st stage recovery equation some. Texas to Florida is a whole lot more practical than Florida to the Azores. That would only be about 20% further than the 1st stage impacts now. Just a little lower trajectory could put the 1st stage right where they want it.

[Edited 2012-12-26 16:07:54]


Andy Goetsch
User currently offlineZANL188 From United States of America, joined Oct 2006, 3433 posts, RR: 0
Reply 10, posted (1 year 3 months 5 days 17 hours ago) and read 14693 times:
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Some onboard video from last months test...

http://youtu.be/nUV6oqCFrFU



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User currently offlinezanl188 From United States of America, joined Oct 2006, 3433 posts, RR: 0
Reply 11, posted (1 year 1 month 5 days 6 hours ago) and read 12889 times:
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Latest test. Twice as high as the previous... Note the cowboy figure for scale...

http://youtu.be/orUjSkc2pG0



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User currently offlinezanl188 From United States of America, joined Oct 2006, 3433 posts, RR: 0
Reply 12, posted (9 months 1 week 4 days 9 hours ago) and read 10813 times:
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Another Grasshopper test from earlier this month...

http://youtu.be/eGimzB5QM1M



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User currently offlinemaxter From Australia, joined May 2009, 219 posts, RR: 0
Reply 13, posted (8 months 3 weeks 5 days 17 hours ago) and read 10028 times:

Nice, thanks for the links. I have no doubt that SpaceX can achieve what many others deem too difficult


maxter
User currently offlinezanl188 From United States of America, joined Oct 2006, 3433 posts, RR: 0
Reply 14, posted (8 months 6 days 7 hours ago) and read 9117 times:
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Flew a relatively aggressive lateral manuever yesterday.

http://youtu.be/2t15vP1PyoA



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User currently offlinezanl188 From United States of America, joined Oct 2006, 3433 posts, RR: 0
Reply 15, posted (7 months 1 week 1 day 8 hours ago) and read 7883 times:
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I wonder if SpaceX had to pay for lost dairy production?

http://youtu.be/HXdjxPY2j_0



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User currently offlinekanban From United States of America, joined Jan 2008, 3211 posts, RR: 26
Reply 16, posted (7 months 1 week 1 day 5 hours ago) and read 7851 times:
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Quoting zanl188 (Reply 15):
I wonder if SpaceX had to pay for lost dairy production?

Can't tell if they are dairy cattle.. if they are just skip one step in making yogurt.. they were however probably destined for beef and may be a little tough.


User currently offlinezanl188 From United States of America, joined Oct 2006, 3433 posts, RR: 0
Reply 17, posted (7 months 4 days 18 hours ago) and read 7438 times:
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SpaceX will attempt to soft land the 1st stage of upcoming Falcon 9 launch from Vandenberg.

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/n...cket-set-for-risky-launch/2814865/

This Falcon 9 is the new version with 8 engines arranged in a circle and the 9th engine in the center.

http://www.spacex.com/falcon9

Although no landing gear will be installed on the 1st stage for this flight, they're trying for a soft ocean landing, this does represent the first use of Grasshopper technology.



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User currently offlinenomadd22 From United States of America, joined Feb 2008, 1763 posts, RR: 0
Reply 18, posted (7 months 4 days 18 hours ago) and read 7429 times:

Quoting zanl188 (Reply 17):
This Falcon 9 is the new version with 8 engines arranged in a circle and the 9th engine in the center.

Putting the eight outer engines evenly under the tank walls like that allowed them to simplify and lighten the thrust structure. The new engines are half again as powerful as the old M1Cs and required some major changes in the rocket.
The next Grasshopper should be a lot more production grade. You'll know it's getting serious when they start making flights every week.



Andy Goetsch
User currently offlinezanl188 From United States of America, joined Oct 2006, 3433 posts, RR: 0
Reply 19, posted (6 months 3 weeks 1 day 7 hours ago) and read 6969 times:
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First Falcon 9 with the Grasshopper tech and uprated engines launches from Vandenberg on Sunday. I expect SpaceX will attempt to limit expectations, may not see any coverage. http://www.spaceflightnow.com/falcon9/006/status.html


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User currently offlinezanl188 From United States of America, joined Oct 2006, 3433 posts, RR: 0
Reply 20, posted (6 months 2 weeks 6 days 16 hours ago) and read 6764 times:
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Some words from Elon Musk regarding todays Falcon 9 launch:

"I give pretty low odds of this recovery working on this flight," Musk said. "The point of this mission is demonstrating the ascent of the crewed version of the Falcon 9."



Gotta love Musks brevity... Talking about stage recovery in one sentence... and a crewed version of Falcon 9 in the next... Lol!

Launch window opens at 0900 PDT, 1200 EDT, or 1600 GMT. About an hour and 20 minutes from now

http://www.spaceflightnow.com/falcon9/006/130928preview/

Where is MdmeConcorde?

Good luck SpaceX!



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User currently offlinezanl188 From United States of America, joined Oct 2006, 3433 posts, RR: 0
Reply 21, posted (6 months 2 weeks 6 days 15 hours ago) and read 6739 times:
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Launch appears to have gone well.

No word on the 1st stage soft landing other than a relight of the engines was achieved...



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User currently offlinezanl188 From United States of America, joined Oct 2006, 3433 posts, RR: 0
Reply 22, posted (6 months 2 weeks 6 days 8 hours ago) and read 6654 times:
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1st stage soft landing failed. Engines relit as planned however stage developed a roll due to aerodynamic forces. Roll forced propellants away from inlets and engine flamed out.

Next attempt at 1st stage soft landing: CRS-3

Launch video:

http://youtu.be/N0mLlO9enfY



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User currently offlinetravelavnut From Netherlands, joined May 2010, 1535 posts, RR: 7
Reply 23, posted (6 months 2 weeks 5 days 23 hours ago) and read 6581 times:

Elon also tweeted:

Elon Musk ‏@elonmusk 12u Between this flight & Grasshopper tests, I think we now have all the pieces of the puzzle to bring the rocket back home.

And that is pretty damn awesome me thinks!  



Live From Amsterdam!
User currently offlinezanl188 From United States of America, joined Oct 2006, 3433 posts, RR: 0
Reply 24, posted (6 months 2 weeks 14 hours ago) and read 6270 times:
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"SpaceX CEO and Chief Designer Elon Musk has laid out his plans for recovery and reusability of the first stage of the Falcon 9. The debut mission to launch the Cassiope satellite into orbit included a number of events that should help SpaceX recover and possibly even reuse the first stage of the Falcon 9 in 2014."



http://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2013/...plans-reusability-falcon-9-rocket/



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25 Post contains links zanl188 : Interesting view of Mondays Grasshopper test flight to 744 meters. View from a quadracopter. http://youtu.be/9ZDkItO-0a4
26 Post contains links zanl188 : Mission overview video of the last F9 launch. Contains a brief bit of video of the 1st stage relight. This link will start right after 1st stage sep..
27 Post contains links zanl188 : Pic of 1st stage impact... http://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2013/.../spacexs-dragon-moved-february-11/
28 maxter : Probably not known, but where is the best guess that grasshopper testing will go to from 744m? How soon do you believe the landing struts will be fitt
29 nomadd22 : They intend to put legs on CRS-3 in February, but won't delay the rocket if the legs aren't ready. The SE-8 and Thaicom missions require the full F9
30 nomadd22 : So much for my sources. Gwenne Shotwell from SpaceX now says "So what we're moving to now is what we call the Falcon Niner — Falcon 9R reusable —
31 zanl188 : Will this be Grasshopper 2 then? They'll need to fly it quick if they intended to recover CRS-3.
32 maxter : Yes thanks for that, wonder if they use it for CRS3 then, if so where will the recovery location be? Cheers and thanks
33 nomadd22 : I don't think there's serious consideration of landing the CRS-3 booster. They'd like to fly the whole recovery profile and test the leg deployment, b
34 Post contains links zanl188 : Pix here of the Cassiope first stage about to impact. Note engine appears to be firing... http://www.zerognews.com/2013/10/15/...d-video-of-next-gen-f
35 Post contains links zanl188 : CRS-3 will have legs and attempt soft splashdown of the first stage. http://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2014/...port-legs-attempt-soft-splashdown/
36 Post contains images travelavnut : A picture Tweeted by Elon ( https://twitter.com/elonmusk ); "Mounting landing legs (~60 ft span) to Falcon 9 for next month's Space Station servicing
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