Author Topic: Falcon 9-R Explosion Mid-Flight at McGregor - August 22, 2014  (Read 176363 times)

Offline yokem55

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Well, knowing it was a blocked sensor port is only part of the way towards finding the cultprit. Questions remain (for the public anyway) as to why it was blocked, could it happen again, was their decision to have single point failure modes on F9R-dev the wise decision, and so on ...

In the IT world, it isn't uncommon for experimental, development systems to have substantially less redundancy than production units. A development server might not have ecc ram, or be using a single desktop hard drive instead of the nice raid-5 setup with enterprise drive, or not be setup to make regular backups (no real data to lose). If the dev box blows up, there is some lost time, but otherwise there isn't any loss. It undergoes rapid changes and different experiments that you would never try with production equipment.

Ultimately SpaceX will have to ask themselves, on a development craft, are the costs of a loss due to the lack of redundancy and pre-flight checkouts more or less than the costs of all that preventative hardware and process?

Offline cambrianera

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Ultimately SpaceX will have to ask themselves, on a development craft, are the costs of a loss due to the lack of redundancy and pre-flight checkouts more or less than the costs of all that preventative hardware and process?
Good question. A partial answer is that with SpaceX vertical integration (and design style), their hardware costs much less than average in the sector.
So, in case of failure, make a new one (and feed in all the lessons learned).
Oh to be young again. . .

Offline Jet Black

Apologies for the newbie question; what is meant by vertical integration and what is the alternative?
For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations, for Nature cannot be fooled. -- Richard Feynman

Online JBF

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Apologies for the newbie question; what is meant by vertical integration and what is the alternative?

Vertical integration is where the supply chain of a company is owned by that company. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vertical_integration
"In principle, rocket engines are simple, but thatís the last place rocket engines are ever simple." Jeff Bezos

Offline Jet Black

oh simpler than I thought! I thought it was something specifically relating to rocketry!
For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations, for Nature cannot be fooled. -- Richard Feynman

Offline Paul_G

Apologies for the newbie question; what is meant by vertical integration and what is the alternative?

Hi Jet Black

My interpretation of vertical integration is that the company - SpaceX in this case - make (or at least design) pretty much everything in house, rather than buy from a third party. Sure they don't manufacture every single component on the entire rocket, but the key elements they make themselves.

The alternative is buy rocket engines, buy fuel tanks, and other bits and pieces, that were designed and built to someone elses specs, and then try to work out where the problem is when it doesn't work.

And welcome to the forum.

 :)

Paul

Offline Zardar

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oh simpler than I thought! I thought it was something specifically relating to rocketry!

Well, in rocketry, like most things life, it is never that simple.

There is a second meaning for vertical integration, not relevant in this thread, but you will see it mentioned in other places on this site and elsewhere in rocket forums.

It can also refer to vertical (payload) integration, where, for example a satellite (or often the whole rocket, stage by stage), is affixed to the rocket while the rocket is vertical. (either in a tall building, or at the pad)  Ariaine,  Delta and Atlas generally do it this way.

The other option is Horizontal integration, where the rocket and its payload is assembled while horizontal in a long, relatively low building, and then rolled out to the launch pad and erected. The Russians and SpaceX generally do it this way.

Both have various pros and cons, in relation to the rocket and or the payload itself, as well as the required infrastructure to do the integration. 
Discussions of the various merits can prove long and occasionally heated......

Edit/CR - Dudely's prior post deleted as duplicates 2nd & 3rd paragraphs





« Last Edit: 09/03/2014 03:00 PM by CuddlyRocket »

Offline AJW

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I don't know if this was brought up before, but V1.0 used single string avionics, and V1.1 uses 3 strings.  Is there a chance that F9R was using the earlier avionics package?

Offline mvpel

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... or be using a single desktop hard drive instead of the nice raid-5 setup with enterprise drive, ...

I am compelled to point out that RAID-5 is not "nice." http://www.baarf.com/
"Ugly programs are like ugly suspension bridges: they're much more liable to collapse than pretty ones, because the way humans (especially engineer-humans) perceive beauty is intimately related to our ability to process and understand complexity. A language that makes it hard to write elegant code makes it hard to write good code." - Eric S. Raymond

Offline Lar

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oh simpler than I thought! I thought it was something specifically relating to rocketry!

Many commercial payloads integrate horizontally, many Air Force ones integrate vertically.

SpaceX is a vertically integrated company that so far has done only horizontal integration :).. which makes me smile

I think if you search on this you'll find entire threads about integration of payloads, in case you were wondering.

Edit: removed some dup. This is all off topic technically though.  CR learned how to mod and just did some snipping... so this post may be mod bait...
Edit/CR - I think what remains has just enough novelty! :)
« Last Edit: 09/04/2014 09:04 AM by CuddlyRocket »
"I think it would be great to be born on Earth and to die on Mars. Just hopefully not at the point of impact." -Elon Musk
"We're a little bit like the dog who caught the bus" - Musk after CRS-8 S1 successfully landed on ASDS OCISLY

Offline inventodoc

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Apologies for the newbie question; what is meant by vertical integration and what is the alternative?

Hi Jet Black

My interpretation of vertical integration is that the company - SpaceX in this case - make (or at least design) pretty much everything in house, rather than buy from a third party. Sure they don't manufacture every single component on the entire rocket, but the key elements they make themselves.

The alternative is buy rocket engines, buy fuel tanks, and other bits and pieces, that were designed and built to someone elses specs, and then try to work out where the problem is when it doesn't work.

And welcome to the forum.

 :)

Paul

I think you will find a good comparison of this approach to be SpaceX vs orbital.  Orbital's liquid fueled first stage is from Ukraine and uses aj-26 engines, formerly nk-33s.  ULA builds their stages and buys a lot of components. SpaceX builds and designs their tanks, engines, stages, avionics?, capsules, fairings etc.... SpaceX still buys lots of components from suppliers but they have got to be the most vertically integrated rocket company.

Offline Misha Vargas

In this video, Steve Jurvetson gives his eyewitness account of this incident. He talks about the configuration and height goal of the test.

That link should play from the right spot, but if not, it's at 58 minutes and 5 seconds.
« Last Edit: 09/25/2014 10:55 AM by Misha Vargas »

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