Author Topic: SpaceX VAFB landing facilities  (Read 13064 times)

Offline acsawdey

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SpaceX VAFB landing facilities
« on: 06/03/2016 05:26 PM »
I found some interesting stuff pertaining to SpaceX's plans for landing first stages at VAFB, so others suggested I should start a separate thread for this.

The application (second link below) has some details about boostback and landing including 3-D trajectory back to the landing pad or the ASDS offshore, noise impact from sonic boom and rocket engines, what debris was recovered from the failed landings, and probably other things I didn't recognize as significant.

Quote
In accordance with the regulations implementing the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) as amended, notification is hereby given that we have issued an incidental harassment authorization (IHA) to Space Explorations Technology Corporation (SpaceX), to incidentally harass, by Level B harassment only, marine mammals incidental to boost-backs and landings of Falcon 9 rockets at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, and at a contingency landing location approximately 30 miles offshore.

Federal Register: Takes of Marine Mammals Incidental to Specified Activities; Taking Marine Mammals Incidental to Boost-Backs and Landings of Rockets at Vandenberg Air Force Base

And this time I found the application materials as well:

SpaceX Falcon 9 Rocket Recovery in California and the Pacific Ocean (2016)

Offline Lar

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Re: SpaceX VAFB landing facilities
« Reply #1 on: 06/03/2016 06:03 PM »
Great find... thanks for starting this thread. The federal register thing dates back a bit though, does it not? Or was there a similar notice in the past for something else SpaceX related?
"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 yokem55

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Re: SpaceX VAFB landing facilities
« Reply #2 on: 06/03/2016 06:52 PM »
Do other launch providers that just drop their stages into the ocean have to file such things? Seems to me dropping a whole atlas v or delta stage into the ocean would pose more risk to the whales than trying to recover them....

In other news, I want a "Save the whales, fly SpaceX" t-shirt .
« Last Edit: 06/03/2016 06:53 PM by yokem55 »

Offline acsawdey

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Re: SpaceX VAFB landing facilities
« Reply #3 on: 06/03/2016 07:25 PM »
Great find... thanks for starting this thread. The federal register thing dates back a bit though, does it not? Or was there a similar notice in the past for something else SpaceX related?

I believe I had noticed and posted the preliminary government response earlier, which was also in the federal register. This is the final ruling, and this time there was enough information to find SpaceX's application that was submitted which is where the interesting stuff is.

Offline Jim

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Re: SpaceX VAFB landing facilities
« Reply #4 on: 06/03/2016 08:24 PM »
Do other launch providers that just drop their stages into the ocean have to file such things? Seems to me dropping a whole atlas v or delta stage into the ocean would pose more risk to the whales than trying to recover them....

In other news, I want a "Save the whales, fly SpaceX" t-shirt .

It isn't whales, it is pinnipeds.

Offline rpapo

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Re: SpaceX VAFB landing facilities
« Reply #5 on: 06/03/2016 08:32 PM »
Do other launch providers that just drop their stages into the ocean have to file such things? Seems to me dropping a whole atlas v or delta stage into the ocean would pose more risk to the whales than trying to recover them....

In other news, I want a "Save the whales, fly SpaceX" t-shirt .

It isn't whales, it is pinnipeds.
Even less to worry about, then.  Pinnipeds (seals) stick relatively close to shore.
An Apollo fanboy . . . fifty years ago.

Offline acsawdey

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Re: SpaceX VAFB landing facilities
« Reply #6 on: 06/03/2016 08:38 PM »
Even less to worry about, then.  Pinnipeds (seals) stick relatively close to shore.

One of the inputs to the calculation is the average number of pinnipeds per square kilometer of open ocean for a whole bunch of species likely to be found in the area of the ASDS. As you say, not very many.

Offline Jim

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Re: SpaceX VAFB landing facilities
« Reply #7 on: 06/03/2016 10:35 PM »
Do other launch providers that just drop their stages into the ocean have to file such things? Seems to me dropping a whole atlas v or delta stage into the ocean would pose more risk to the whales than trying to recover them....

In other news, I want a "Save the whales, fly SpaceX" t-shirt .

It isn't whales, it is pinnipeds.
Even less to worry about, then.  Pinnipeds (seals) stick relatively close to shore.

it isn't a threat from debris, it is the sonic booms that make them rush to the water trampling the pups.

Offline llanitedave

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Re: SpaceX VAFB landing facilities
« Reply #8 on: 06/03/2016 11:04 PM »
The solution is obvious:  require the sea lions to wear hearing protection.
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Re: SpaceX VAFB landing facilities
« Reply #9 on: 06/04/2016 01:01 AM »
The solution is obvious:  require the sea lions to wear hearing protection.

That just reminded me of this tweet.
https://mobile.twitter.com/talulahriley/status/320421724644573184

And the followup

https://mobile.twitter.com/talulahriley/status/320422298618302464

Sorry if offtopic

Offline Zed_Noir

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Re: SpaceX VAFB landing facilities
« Reply #10 on: 06/04/2016 01:21 AM »
The solution is obvious:  require the sea lions to wear hearing protection.
Better solution is to play music gradually louder prior to the launch so as not to startle the sea lions. My suggestion is Wagner's Ride of the Valkyries. :) Yes, from loudhailers mounted in helos like in  the Apocalypse Now movie.

Quite sure the sea lions will get use to the noise. After all the Rocket Cows of McGreger take the SpaceX engine tests as non-events.
« Last Edit: 06/04/2016 01:31 AM by Zed_Noir »

Offline chalz

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Re: SpaceX VAFB landing facilities
« Reply #11 on: 06/04/2016 01:23 AM »
This post first mentioned the EIS for the Vandenberg pad. Some discussion and seal jokes followed.
http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=36513.msg1511192#msg1511192

Offline WizZifnab

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Re: SpaceX VAFB landing facilities
« Reply #12 on: 06/04/2016 04:56 AM »
And this time I found the application materials as well:

SpaceX Falcon 9 Rocket Recovery in California and the Pacific Ocean (2016)

Typo on the effective date?  I assume thats meant to be a full year 6/30/2016-6/29/2017.

Offline acsawdey

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Re: SpaceX VAFB landing facilities
« Reply #13 on: 11/10/2016 06:18 PM »
Looks like SpaceX has now got the all-clear to do both ASDS and RTLS from SLC-4W at Vandenberg AFB. Or, at least they've cleared the environmental hurdles and can now ask FAA for licenses to do so.

Quote
After reviewing and analyzing available data and information on existing conditions and potential
impacts, including the 2016 EA, the FAA has determined the issuance of licenses to SpaceX to conduct
Falcon 9 boost-backs and landings at SLC-4W or on a barge would not significantly affect the quality of
the human environment within the meaning of NEPA. Therefore, the preparation of an environmental
impact statement is not required, and the FAA is independently issuing this FONSI. The FAA has made
this determination in accordance with applicable environmental laws and FAA regulations. The 2016 EA
is incorporated by reference into this FONSI.

https://www.faa.gov/about/office_org/headquarters_offices/ast/licenses_permits/media/ea_fonsi_f9_boostback_vafb.pdf

Offline Jim

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Re: SpaceX VAFB landing facilities
« Reply #14 on: 11/10/2016 06:40 PM »
Looks like SpaceX has now got the all-clear to do both ASDS and RTLS from SLC-4W at Vandenberg AFB.

Still need Air Force clearance

Offline Brovane

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Re: SpaceX VAFB landing facilities
« Reply #15 on: 01/04/2017 09:33 AM »
Looks like SpaceX has now got the all-clear to do both ASDS and RTLS from SLC-4W at Vandenberg AFB.

Still need Air Force clearance

Anybody know the hang-up in getting USAF approval?
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Offline FutureSpaceTourist

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Re: SpaceX VAFB landing facilities
« Reply #16 on: 09/11/2017 06:30 AM »
Doesn't give a timeframe for FAA approval but claims most steps in the approval process are completed:

Quote
SpaceX close to landing rocket boosters next to its Southern California launch site

By: Sandy Mazza (sandy.mazza@dailybreeze.com)

POSTED: Sunday, Sept. 10, 2017 - 3:14 p.m.
UPDATED: A DAY AGO

http://www.dailybreeze.com/business/20170910/spacex-close-to-landing-rocket-boosters-next-to-its-southern-california-launch-site

Also talks about something else interesting I've missed:

Quote
While SpaceX hopes to rely on it for most West Coast landings, it also proposed to operate a second Pacific Ocean landing barge 31 miles off the Santa Barbara County coastline to recover boosters diverted from the ground by sensitive base operations.

Some more details in the article (including feedback from NOAA's National Marine Fisheries Service).

Offline Rebel44

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Re: SpaceX VAFB landing facilities
« Reply #17 on: 09/11/2017 11:24 AM »
Doesn't give a timeframe for FAA approval but claims most steps in the approval process are completed:

Quote
SpaceX close to landing rocket boosters next to its Southern California launch site

By: Sandy Mazza (sandy.mazza@dailybreeze.com)

POSTED: Sunday, Sept. 10, 2017 - 3:14 p.m.
UPDATED: A DAY AGO

http://www.dailybreeze.com/business/20170910/spacex-close-to-landing-rocket-boosters-next-to-its-southern-california-launch-site

Also talks about something else interesting I've missed:

Quote
While SpaceX hopes to rely on it for most West Coast landings, it also proposed to operate a second Pacific Ocean landing barge 31 miles off the Santa Barbara County coastline to recover boosters diverted from the ground by sensitive base operations.

Some more details in the article (including feedback from NOAA's National Marine Fisheries Service).

Why would they need a second barge? Flight rate on west coast isnt high enough to need 2nd ASDS there.

Offline Kabloona

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Re: SpaceX VAFB landing facilities
« Reply #18 on: 09/11/2017 12:38 PM »
They don't need two Pacific barges.

Maybe the SpaceX documentation for VAFB referred to JRtI as their "second Pacific barge" (OCISLY at the Cape being their first Atlantic barge) and the reporter got confused and thought they meant two barges in the Pacific, rather than a second SpaceX barge, which is based the Pacific.
« Last Edit: 09/11/2017 12:54 PM by Kabloona »

Offline cscott

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Re: SpaceX VAFB landing facilities
« Reply #19 on: 09/11/2017 03:01 PM »
Yeah, kabloona's interpretation matches mine as well.  The original article itself is very ambiguous about what it means by "second barge"; there's no clear statement they mean anything other than "first is Atlantic, second is Pacific".

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