Jan 18 2016

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SpaceX didn’t ask me, but…

Well, the no-news from “Just Read the Instructions” was that the booster stuck the landing, but a bit too hard for at least one of the landing struts:

Is it me, or does the booster look like it buckled a bit in the middle? The booster may have landed harder than they planned.

I don’t think it’s possible to overstate how difficult this landing is. You can stabilize a platform at sea, but it’ll never be as stationary as the ground.

I wonder if they can get the booster to hover a few feet above the deck, just for a couple of seconds. Every time they try to land on a drone, there seems to be a lot of last-minute lateral movement right before the booster lands. Maybe if they can hover for a couple of seconds, get the drone ship to make its last second adjustment, and then set the booster down the last few feet.

I mean, Grasshopper could hover and move laterally, and it was a prototype for Falcon.

Plus, Falcon v1.2 is supposed to have more thrust, and therefore (presumably?) more fuel after reaching orbit to use for last second hovering. Though the Jason-3 launch was the last of the v1.1. launches, so hovering was probably not an option even if they wanted to do so.

To me, adding a hover maneuver to the landing profile is the easiest potential solution I can think of.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.newspaceraces.com/2016/01/18/spacex-didnt-ask-me-but/

1 comment

  1. Vic

    Perhaps what they need is a platform like the research vessel FLIP: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RP_FLIP . It is essentially a free-floating spar buoy. I participated in ocean optical upwelling experiments with her in the Tactical Airborne Laser Communications program where we needed the optical source (a halogen lamp hung from one of the booms) to be kept at stable depths for accurate airborne optical intensity data collection (my role). A very stable platform in all axis.

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