SpaceX Rocket Magic

 

Elon Musk posted a video of a first stage landing.

My father started working on the space program in 1952. He watched what was supposed to be a test firing of Viking 8. There was so much vibration that the bolts came loose and it took off! His TV-3 satellite was on top of the rocket which got four feet in the air before it blew up spectacularly. 

Published in Science & Technology
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  1. OccupantCDN Coolidge
    OccupantCDN
    @OccupantCDN

    Going back to the early days. Redstone. (very early days)

    NASA had thought about recovering the Redstone booster with parachutes and a flotation device… Did some engineering studies, and proof of concept testing but  never got the funding to a real test launch…

    But how different would history have been?

    • #1
  2. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    Cooler than an under-ice lake in Antarctica.

    • #2
  3. Headedwest Coolidge
    Headedwest
    @Headedwest

    Like an old science fiction movie coming to real life. Amazing.

    • #3
  4. Mark Camp Member
    Mark Camp
    @MarkCamp

    Some of us are in a strange place as we watch this video.  

    We know it’s just like the countless simplistic inventions we cooked up when we were kids, knowing nothing about engineering realities… destabilizing thrust vectors, flying through burning explosives, the limitations of control systems, fuel consumption, free fall velocity, the inevitable impracticality of Rube Goldberg mechanical contraptions…

    And yet our rational minds keep repeating, “No, this really happened…and it’s really going to land safely!”

    • #4
  5. CACrabtree Coolidge
    CACrabtree
    @CACrabtree

    Headedwest (View Comment):

    Like an old science fiction movie coming to real life. Amazing.

    As I was watching it come down, I thought about the old James Bond movie You Only Live Twice.  I believe SpaceX really could drop a rocket down inside an extinct volcano.

    • #5
  6. kedavis Coolidge
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    And now, for some humor:

     

    • #6
  7. Jim McConnell Member
    Jim McConnell
    @JimMcConnell

    Fantastic video. Even with our modern technology, that just blows my mind; so many separate actions had to occur to make that a success.

    If you want something to happen, turn it over to Elon.

    • #7
  8. Annefy Coolidge
    Annefy
    @Annefy

    I grew up in Redondo Beach, everyone (except my dad) in the neighborhood worked for TRW or Northrup or Lockheed.  It was heady times in my teens, and I am so enjoying watching Elon accomplish so much in my 60s. (nephew works for SpaceX)

    • #8
  9. Chowderhead Coolidge
    Chowderhead
    @Podunk

    One of our local inventors was Robert Goddard, the father of modern rocketry. I was fascinated by him when I was a boy. I don’t know if he inspired me to be an engineer or it was just in my blood. 

    I remember being in one of the fields where he used to test rockets on Dead Horse Hill in Leicester. I was there for another reason and just wandering around when I seen a little plaque. He tested there and where the Worcester airport is now. He would have been blown away to see that landing. I still am. There are so many variables that need to be controlled, right down to the combustibility of the fuel, cross winds, etc. 

    • #9
  10. Chowderhead Coolidge
    Chowderhead
    @Podunk

    CACrabtree (View Comment):

    Headedwest (View Comment):

    Like an old science fiction movie coming to real life. Amazing.

    As I was watching it come down, I thought about the old James Bond movie You Only Live Twice. I believe SpaceX really could drop a rocket down inside an extinct volcano.

    That’s easy. Backing one in is amazing.

    • #10
  11. Jimmy Carter Member
    Jimmy Carter
    @JimmyCarter

    Beautiful.

    • #11
  12. Django Member
    Django
    @Django

    That reminds me of something from a 1950s science fiction movie but with better special effects. The shot below is from Elegy which is an episode from the first season of Twilight Zone. It shows a landing at “the cemetery”.

    • #12
  13. Richard Easton Coolidge
    Richard Easton
    @RichardEaston

    Chowderhead (View Comment):

    One of our local inventors was Robert Goddard, the father of modern rocketry. I was fascinated by him when I was a boy. I don’t know if he inspired me to be an engineer or it was just in my blood.

    I remember being in one of the fields where he used to test rockets on Dead Horse Hill in Leicester. I was there for another reason and just wandering around when I seen a little plaque. He tested there and where the Worcester airport is now. He would have been blown away to see that landing. I still am. There are so many variables that need to be controlled, right down to the combustibility of the fuel, cross winds, etc.

    Sally Rosen allowed me to copy this letter they received from Robert Goddard’s widow. Milt Rosen was the head of the Viking Rocket program in the 1940s-50s.  Alas, 73 seconds now has a different meaning after Challenger.

    • #13
  14. Chowderhead Coolidge
    Chowderhead
    @Podunk

    Richard Easton (View Comment):
    Sally Rosen allowed me to copy this letter

    That is a fantastic letter from someone with some real credibility. Knowing the area she almost places you there. I agree blowing up stuff is fun, but a controlled explosion is even better.

    I’m sure she was writing to the whole team. I didn’t know that was their house. It looks like every other older house and I’ve been by it many times. Google maps link

    • #14
  15. Locke On Member
    Locke On
    @LockeOn

    Never gets old.

    Seeing a tail-sitter rocket land (as God and Robert Heinlein intended) is cool, but watching a charred, smoking metal cylinder the size of large industrial smokestack pull an actual glide ratio on the way back from space is just bad***.

    • #15
  16. OccupantCDN Coolidge
    OccupantCDN
    @OccupantCDN

    To be fair.

    I didnt think it would work. I know the parachute/air bag thing would have been too heavy to be practical for a first stage booster. But I also thought that engineering concepts proofed by “Marvin the Martian” would also not work…

    I think this is the unique skill set that Elon brings to Aerospace. The cutting edge MCUs (Micro Controller Units) have the processing power to correctly control the descent to the point where velocity and altitude reach 0 at the same moment.  I dont think NASA nor its commune of contractors would ever have conceived of this capability. Let alone tried it. 

    • #16
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