zanl188
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SpaceX's Grasshopper

Tue Dec 25, 2012 8:41 pm

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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zanl188
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RE: SpaceX's Grasshopper

Tue Dec 25, 2012 8:58 pm

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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nomadd22
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RE: SpaceX's Grasshopper

Wed Dec 26, 2012 12:28 pm

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.
Anon
 
zanl188
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RE: SpaceX's Grasshopper

Wed Dec 26, 2012 3:57 pm

2nd stage is the difficult bit. Personally I think they'll be doing well to get the 1st stage back.
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GST
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RE: SpaceX's Grasshopper

Wed Dec 26, 2012 5:00 pm



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]
 
zanl188
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RE: SpaceX's Grasshopper

Wed Dec 26, 2012 5:18 pm

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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GST
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RE: SpaceX's Grasshopper

Wed Dec 26, 2012 6:24 pm

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!
 
zanl188
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RE: SpaceX's Grasshopper

Wed Dec 26, 2012 6:47 pm

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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GST
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RE: SpaceX's Grasshopper

Wed Dec 26, 2012 8:51 pm

Yes they do if working correctly, but the [remote] potential for harm remains which is what I was referring to.
 
nomadd22
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RE: SpaceX's Grasshopper

Wed Dec 26, 2012 11:58 pm

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]
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zanl188
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RE: SpaceX's Grasshopper

Sat Jan 12, 2013 2:03 pm

Some onboard video from last months test...

http://youtu.be/nUV6oqCFrFU
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zanl188
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RE: SpaceX's Grasshopper

Thu Mar 14, 2013 12:45 am

Latest test. Twice as high as the previous... Note the cowboy figure for scale...

http://youtu.be/orUjSkc2pG0
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zanl188
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RE: SpaceX's Grasshopper

Wed Jul 10, 2013 10:20 pm

Another Grasshopper test from earlier this month...

http://youtu.be/eGimzB5QM1M
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maxter
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RE: SpaceX's Grasshopper

Thu Jul 25, 2013 1:20 pm

Nice, thanks for the links. I have no doubt that SpaceX can achieve what many others deem too difficult
maxter
 
zanl188
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RE: SpaceX's Grasshopper

Wed Aug 14, 2013 11:37 pm

Flew a relatively aggressive lateral manuever yesterday.

http://youtu.be/2t15vP1PyoA
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zanl188
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RE: SpaceX's Grasshopper

Wed Sep 11, 2013 11:19 pm

I wonder if SpaceX had to pay for lost dairy production?

http://youtu.be/HXdjxPY2j_0
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kanban
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RE: SpaceX's Grasshopper

Thu Sep 12, 2013 1:21 am

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.
 
zanl188
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RE: SpaceX's Grasshopper

Sun Sep 15, 2013 1:07 pm

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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nomadd22
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RE: SpaceX's Grasshopper

Sun Sep 15, 2013 1:16 pm

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.
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zanl188
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RE: SpaceX's Grasshopper

Fri Sep 27, 2013 11:33 pm

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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zanl188
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RE: SpaceX's Grasshopper

Sun Sep 29, 2013 2:42 pm

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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zanl188
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RE: SpaceX's Grasshopper

Sun Sep 29, 2013 4:18 pm

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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zanl188
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RE: SpaceX's Grasshopper

Sun Sep 29, 2013 10:22 pm

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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travelavnut
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RE: SpaceX's Grasshopper

Mon Sep 30, 2013 7:45 am

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!  
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zanl188
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RE: SpaceX's Grasshopper

Sat Oct 05, 2013 4:47 pm

"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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zanl188
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RE: SpaceX's Grasshopper

Sat Oct 12, 2013 6:36 pm

Interesting view of Mondays Grasshopper test flight to 744 meters. View from a quadracopter.

http://youtu.be/9ZDkItO-0a4
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zanl188
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RE: SpaceX's Grasshopper

Wed Oct 16, 2013 2:28 pm

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...

http://youtu.be/RtDbDMRG3q8?t=2m22s
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zanl188
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RE: SpaceX's Grasshopper

Sun Oct 20, 2013 2:50 pm

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maxter
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RE: SpaceX's Grasshopper

Tue Oct 29, 2013 4:17 pm

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 fitted to F9 even if not used for an actual recovered landing/return.
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nomadd22
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RE: SpaceX's Grasshopper

Tue Oct 29, 2013 5:29 pm

Quoting maxter (Reply 28):
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 fitted to F9 even if not used for an actual recovered landing/return.

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 capability and won't have any extra fuel or recovery gear included.
The next Grasshopper will test mainly from Spaceport America in New Mexico after a few flights at McGregor. It's reported to have 3 engines for this stage of testing.
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nomadd22
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RE: SpaceX's Grasshopper

Tue Nov 05, 2013 11:38 pm

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 — and that is a full Falcon 9 first stage, 9 engines and retractable landing gear. So that is the vehicle that we will be bringing to New Mexico".
Anon
 
zanl188
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RE: SpaceX's Grasshopper

Wed Nov 06, 2013 12:03 am

Quoting nomadd22 (Reply 30):
"So what we're moving to now is what we call the Falcon Niner — Falcon 9R reusable — and that is a full Falcon 9 first stage, 9 engines and retractable landing gear. So that is the vehicle that we will be bringing to New Mexico".

Will this be Grasshopper 2 then? They'll need to fly it quick if they intended to recover CRS-3.
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maxter
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RE: SpaceX's Grasshopper

Thu Nov 07, 2013 5:04 am

Yes thanks for that, wonder if they use it for CRS3 then, if so where will the recovery location be?

Cheers and thanks
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nomadd22
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RE: SpaceX's Grasshopper

Thu Nov 07, 2013 12:04 pm

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, but it will still wind up in the water. Hopefully, they can get it back intact from there.
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zanl188
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RE: SpaceX's Grasshopper

Wed Jan 29, 2014 5:50 pm

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-falcon-9-demo/
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zanl188
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RE: SpaceX's Grasshopper

Sat Feb 22, 2014 10:36 pm

CRS-3 will have legs and attempt soft splashdown of the first stage.

http://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2014/...port-legs-attempt-soft-splashdown/
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travelavnut
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RE: SpaceX's Grasshopper

Tue Feb 25, 2014 10:32 am

Quoting zanl188 (Reply 35):

CRS-3 will have legs and attempt soft splashdown of the first stage.

http://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2014/...down/

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 flight"

"However, F9 will continue to land in the ocean until we prove precision control from hypersonic thru subsonic regimes"

2014 is turning out be an awesome spaceflight year  
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nomadd22
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RE: SpaceX's Grasshopper

Sat Apr 19, 2014 2:33 am

Well, in the space of two days, the three engine next version of Grasshopper made it's maiden fight at McGregor and CRS3 went off with the 1st stage making a soft landing in the ocean. Apparently, there are two three engine test version of the recoverable first stage. One will stay in McGregor and one will test in New Mexico. The 9 engine Grasshopper 2 story was an old one before they changed it to 3 engines. Gwenne jumped the gun a little with that one.
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zanl188
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RE: SpaceX's Grasshopper

Sat Apr 19, 2014 9:28 am

Quoting nomadd22 (Reply 37):

Video of yesterdays F9R flight:

http://youtu.be/0UjWqQPWmsY

Waiting for hard data on how CRS3 1st stage landing went...

Going to be an exciting year for SpaceX....
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zanl188
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RE: SpaceX's Grasshopper

Sun Apr 27, 2014 12:12 am

Elon Musk / SpaceX press conference regarding CRS-3 boost stage landing. Also took question regarding law suit SpaceX recently filed against US Govt.

http://youtu.be/3p2D701zfZU

Stage landed intact, however broke up due to wave action. They have video however it's of poor quality and they are trying to clean it up prior to release. Musk expects a boost stage to make a landing at Canaveral prior to the end of 2014.
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GDB
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RE: SpaceX's Grasshopper

Sun Apr 27, 2014 6:00 pm

Another step in what could be one of the most significant advances in access to space ever.
The mind boggles when you consider that if this becomes standard on the Falcon range, including planned heavy lift versions, what the implications for not only access to low Earth orbit but potentially also for exploration, including manned, of the Moon, Asteroids and Mars.
 
wingman
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RE: SpaceX's Grasshopper

Mon Apr 28, 2014 3:32 pm

Quoting GDB (Reply 40):
Another step in what could be one of the most significant advances in access to space ever.

And to think, accomplished by one small company essentially still in it's infancy (relatively speaking) that is competing against master rocket builders like Boeing, LM, and even NASA itself. Musk should slap stickers on Teslas that say "My Other Car is a Falcon 9 Soft Lander". This guy is a different category of Homo Sapiens.
 
zanl188
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RE: SpaceX's Grasshopper

Mon Apr 28, 2014 4:05 pm

Quoting wingman (Reply 41):

At $400M a pop on a sole source contract I can understand why ULA wants to ride the gravy train as long as possible. As a taxpayer though I've got to root for Musk & SpaceX.
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nomadd22
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RE: SpaceX's Grasshopper

Mon Apr 28, 2014 7:29 pm

The FH will actually be more of a problem. The center core will be a lot faster and farther downrange than an F9 first stage when it's separates, so it will take a lot more to get it back home.
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Tugger
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RE: SpaceX's Grasshopper

Mon Apr 28, 2014 7:51 pm

Quoting nomadd22 (Reply 43):
The FH will actually be more of a problem. The center core will be a lot faster and farther downrange than an F9 first stage when it's separates, so it will take a lot more to get it back home.

Would you not simply go suborbital and circle round to "get it back home"? A Pacific landing could be fairly simple to achieve I would think.

Tugg
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zanl188
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RE: SpaceX's Grasshopper

Mon Apr 28, 2014 9:50 pm

Quoting tugger (Reply 44):

Adds a lot of weight for thermal protection. Maybe when they sort out a way to recover the second stage.
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AustrianZRH
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RE: SpaceX's Grasshopper

Tue Apr 29, 2014 6:03 pm

Although not entirely related to the recoverable first stage, there's some pretty cool footage of the CRS-3 launch available on the tube:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Od-lON4bTyQ

Launch happens at 40:00, staging at 42:45, and Dragon separation just past 50:00. I found especially the video footage of the red glow of the second stage engine nozzle pretty amazing.

(Did not find a CRS-3 thread on here, so I'm posting it here.)
WARNING! The post above should be taken with a grain of salt! Furthermore, it may be slightly biased towards A.
 
zanl188
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RE: SpaceX's Grasshopper

Fri May 02, 2014 7:23 pm

Latest F9R test, this time to 1000M..

http://youtu.be/ZwwS4YOTbbw
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zanl188
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RE: SpaceX's Grasshopper

Fri May 02, 2014 8:21 pm

FWIW, CRS-3 first stage landing video:

http://www.spacex.com/news/2014/04/29/first-stage-landing-video

Not much there but it's clear the legs deployed as planned
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maxter
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RE: SpaceX's Grasshopper

Mon May 12, 2014 9:41 am

Some info on CRS-3 soft ocean landing outcomes - Elon at the National Press Club

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LcgfHslGjII
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