Author Topic: Starship Ocean Platform; Advantages and Difficulties  (Read 34458 times)

Offline OTV Booster

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The SH/SS prototype testing thread was clogging up with platform and barge speculation that is better split off for separate discussion.


An offshore launch and landing platform presents both advantages and difficulties. This threads purpose is to discuss the need or lack of need for a platform and to explore options and techniques that make a platform both physically possible and operationally sound, if the need is there.


Because current StarShip testing is limited to Boca Chica we'll limit discussion to operations in that vicinity - for now.


Be good to each other


Phil
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Offline yoram

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Re: Starship Ocean Platform; Advantages and Difficulties
« Reply #1 on: 12/28/2020 05:13 pm »
One potential problem is regulatory, as in getting the FAA and environmental reviews etc. to sign off. Is it known how much trouble SeaLaunch had in this regard?

Offline OTV Booster

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Re: Starship Ocean Platform; Advantages and Difficulties
« Reply #2 on: 12/28/2020 05:57 pm »
One potential problem is regulatory, as in getting the FAA and environmental reviews etc. to sign off. Is it known how much trouble SeaLaunch had in this regard?
speculation: environmental issues should be less. After all, the gulf is filled with drilling rigs and there's no nearby wildlife refuge. The fuel is clean in the sense that it would evaporate or burn clean with no residue. Greenhouse issues don't change with location.


I also think that the FAA would be happier with a platform for safety reasons. The FCC might even be happier with ops moved away from the RF rich mainland.
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Offline punder

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Re: Starship Ocean Platform; Advantages and Difficulties
« Reply #3 on: 12/28/2020 06:08 pm »
Someone at another site concern-trolled the idea of “marine noise pollution.” Assuming the exhaust goes straight into the water, offshore SH launches would inject enormous amounts of acoustic energy into the ocean, on a regular schedule.

Not sure what to think about that.

Online dchenevert

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Re: Starship Ocean Platform; Advantages and Difficulties
« Reply #4 on: 12/28/2020 06:20 pm »
at what distance from the beach does FAA authority end? i.e., 10 miles offshore? 1 mile south of the border with Mexico?

Online DigitalMan

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Re: Starship Ocean Platform; Advantages and Difficulties
« Reply #5 on: 12/28/2020 06:27 pm »
Someone at another site concern-trolled the idea of “marine noise pollution.” Assuming the exhaust goes straight into the water, offshore SH launches would inject enormous amounts of acoustic energy into the ocean, on a regular schedule.

Not sure what to think about that.

A while back I was talking with someone about launching Starships from ocean platforms. A nearby little birdie laughed at the idea that it would bypass environmental concerns.

Offline OTV Booster

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Re: Starship Ocean Platform; Advantages and Difficulties
« Reply #6 on: 12/28/2020 06:37 pm »
The physical difficulties of ocean landing are not insignificant.


Landing would reasonably be on a barge or platform. Other option ideas are welcome. If on a platform there must be a way to transfer the rocket on and off to a barge or other vessel. The transfer vessel needs to be large enough to carry the rocket safely in less than perfect seas. The rocket needs to be moved onto land and eventually transferred to the Boca Chica facility. And propellant has to be available at the launch location. Feel free to point out anything I've missed.


This is collectively, a big job. Each element offers challenges, but AFAIK, nothing that breaks new engineering ground.


One difficulty that always shows up in these threads is where in development an idea applies. Concepts that might fit in for a fully developed system are often way out of line for a first try. We need to be clear where an idea fits in to avoid the back and forth that keeps missing the mark.


We need to look at the individual elements but we also need to look at a notional final system to know the elements to be considered. And there will be a feedback loop between both ends of the system changing both the final concept and the elements it is comprised of. And we need to find a reasonable development path. Where your ideas fit into this picture is important so please, don't skimp on this tidbit of information.


Edit: while I was putting this together several posts came in. Just pretend this is the second post.  8)
« Last Edit: 12/28/2020 06:40 pm by OTV Booster »
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Offline OTV Booster

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Re: Starship Ocean Platform; Advantages and Difficulties
« Reply #7 on: 12/28/2020 06:46 pm »
Someone at another site concern-trolled the idea of “marine noise pollution.” Assuming the exhaust goes straight into the water, offshore SH launches would inject enormous amounts of acoustic energy into the ocean, on a regular schedule.

Not sure what to think about that.
AIUI, high power sonar sends dolphins into a tizzy. I imagine it's like somebody setting off a fire trucks siren next to you while eating dinner. Sonar is high frequency. Rocket engines are mostly low frequency.


Johnneyhinbos. If you're listening, you're our go to guy on this type of question.
We are on the cusp of revolutionary access to space. One hallmark of a revolution is that there is a disjuncture through which projections do not work. The thread must be picked up anew and the tapestry of history woven with a fresh pattern.

Offline OTV Booster

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Re: Starship Ocean Platform; Advantages and Difficulties
« Reply #8 on: 12/28/2020 06:53 pm »
Someone at another site concern-trolled the idea of “marine noise pollution.” Assuming the exhaust goes straight into the water, offshore SH launches would inject enormous amounts of acoustic energy into the ocean, on a regular schedule.

Not sure what to think about that.

A while back I was talking with someone about launching Starships from ocean platforms. A nearby little birdie laughed at the idea that it would bypass environmental concerns.
I doubt the EPA would issue an automatic pass but without a reef nearby and clean propellants, my gut sez your birdie friend  might have been trolling a bit. I mean hey, they've got oil rigs down there.


A Johnnyhinbos Q again.
We are on the cusp of revolutionary access to space. One hallmark of a revolution is that there is a disjuncture through which projections do not work. The thread must be picked up anew and the tapestry of history woven with a fresh pattern.

Online DigitalMan

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Re: Starship Ocean Platform; Advantages and Difficulties
« Reply #9 on: 12/28/2020 07:32 pm »
Someone at another site concern-trolled the idea of “marine noise pollution.” Assuming the exhaust goes straight into the water, offshore SH launches would inject enormous amounts of acoustic energy into the ocean, on a regular schedule.

Not sure what to think about that.

A while back I was talking with someone about launching Starships from ocean platforms. A nearby little birdie laughed at the idea that it would bypass environmental concerns.
I doubt the EPA would issue an automatic pass but without a reef nearby and clean propellants, my gut sez your birdie friend  might have been trolling a bit. I mean hey, they've got oil rigs down there.


A Johnnyhinbos Q again.

Environmental reviews and concerns don't necessarily mean denials. Fail to mitigate? That is another story.
« Last Edit: 12/28/2020 07:32 pm by DigitalMan »

Offline OTV Booster

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Re: Starship Ocean Platform; Advantages and Difficulties
« Reply #10 on: 12/28/2020 08:31 pm »
Landing and takeoff are both desirable for ocean ops (opinion). Takeoff requires fueling so my guess is that landing only will be done for early testing.

But what will they land on? Barge and platform are the only options that come to mind. A barge landing means no transfer from a platform. OTOH, a platform can be bigger and more stable in higher seas. If they referb a drilling platform that isn't stripped it will already be tricked out for hoisting, but with an unknown weight capacity. Height might be fine.

A barge is still needed to move the ship back to land with platform landing but it could be a simpler build. With no landing platform on it, a lower CG. No or minimal GSE. No heatshielding. No precision station keeping (maybe). Less electronics (maybe). And with a less expensive build more can be built to make a pipeline that would support a later higher launch tempo.

Still, for earliest testing, one of the F9 barges might be Good Enough. Personally, they feel too small for a final cut. I'm addicted to margin.


Edit: added a word (underlined).

« Last Edit: 12/28/2020 08:36 pm by OTV Booster »
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Offline JohnLloydJones

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Re: Starship Ocean Platform; Advantages and Difficulties
« Reply #11 on: 12/28/2020 09:32 pm »
Someone at another site concern-trolled the idea of “marine noise pollution.” Assuming the exhaust goes straight into the water, offshore SH launches would inject enormous amounts of acoustic energy into the ocean, on a regular schedule.

Not sure what to think about that.
AIUI, high power sonar sends dolphins into a tizzy. I imagine it's like somebody setting off a fire trucks siren next to you while eating dinner. Sonar is high frequency. Rocket engines are mostly low frequency.


Johnneyhinbos. If you're listening, you're our go to guy on this type of question.

Having worked on sonar systems, I can assure you that sonar systems are not necessarily high frequency. Depends on the purpose.

Online rsdavis9

Instead of transport back to launch site by boat. I think that refuel and hop might become an easier option. Platform could have the small amount of fuel necessary.
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Offline oiorionsbelt

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Re: Starship Ocean Platform; Advantages and Difficulties
« Reply #13 on: 12/28/2020 09:44 pm »
Someone at another site concern-trolled the idea of “marine noise pollution.” Assuming the exhaust goes straight into the water, offshore SH launches would inject enormous amounts of acoustic energy into the ocean, on a regular schedule.

Not sure what to think about that.

A while back I was talking with someone about launching Starships from ocean platforms. A nearby little birdie laughed at the idea that it would bypass environmental concerns.
This came up in another thread some time ago and bubble curtains look like something that may work.
https://canadianpond.ca/air-bubble-curtains-bubble-tubing/?gclid=Cj0KCQiAoab_BRCxARIsANMx4S69fEEKqsHe-TrqYN1TYomIJXgiVHAZoXrtWGmVJO3suaPcEW57lTkaAht0EALw_wcB

Offline Nevyn72

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Re: Starship Ocean Platform; Advantages and Difficulties
« Reply #14 on: 12/28/2020 09:57 pm »
Use both barges and a platform.

Land SS & SH on barges, gives the benefit of flexibility of landing location.

Move the barges to beside the dedicated launch platform and crane onto the launch mount.

Advantages:
- no risk of damage to launch facilities during landing.
- you can land downrange saving on boost back burn -> increased load to orbit?
- you can queue up SS & SH for launch in rapid succession while previous vehicles are returning.
- If work is required the barge can head directly to a maintenance facility rather than tying up the launch/landing platform.
- cargo integration becomes a separate location, thus freeing up launch platform. (ie. Land -> cargo integration facility -> launch platform)

The main disadvantage is the need for multiple landing/transport barges and a separate cargo integration/maintenance facility and dedicated launch facility.
Over all it's much more capital intensive although much lower risk to overall operational continuity.

Online DigitalMan

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Re: Starship Ocean Platform; Advantages and Difficulties
« Reply #15 on: 12/28/2020 10:06 pm »
Someone at another site concern-trolled the idea of “marine noise pollution.” Assuming the exhaust goes straight into the water, offshore SH launches would inject enormous amounts of acoustic energy into the ocean, on a regular schedule.

Not sure what to think about that.

A while back I was talking with someone about launching Starships from ocean platforms. A nearby little birdie laughed at the idea that it would bypass environmental concerns.
This came up in another thread some time ago and bubble curtains look like something that may work.
https://canadianpond.ca/air-bubble-curtains-bubble-tubing/?gclid=Cj0KCQiAoab_BRCxARIsANMx4S69fEEKqsHe-TrqYN1TYomIJXgiVHAZoXrtWGmVJO3suaPcEW57lTkaAht0EALw_wcB

That is very interesting. It's hard to know what might be necessary. I'm looking forward to seeing what any potential concerns are.

If P2P is going to become a thing, hopefully the costs can be minimized at the same time as protecting resources.

Offline Lar

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Re: Starship Ocean Platform; Advantages and Difficulties
« Reply #16 on: 12/28/2020 10:22 pm »
Someone at another site concern-trolled the idea of “marine noise pollution.” Assuming the exhaust goes straight into the water, offshore SH launches would inject enormous amounts of acoustic energy into the ocean, on a regular schedule.

Not sure what to think about that.

Curtain wall bubbles was what I heard suggested.

A ring of seabed emplaced pipes/valves/nozzles that can inject large quantities of air into the seawater. They start doing this just before ignition, with sufficient time for the bubbles to rise to the surface from the seafloor. Tne nozzles are close enough together that there is little or no pure water between bubbles

This supposedly forms a curtain wall that will attenuate soundwaves a lot.

I can't remember where I heard this or whether it's ever been done at this scale. It would take a LOT of compressed air, that's for sure!

OK NVM:
This came up in another thread some time ago and bubble curtains look like something that may work.
https://canadianpond.ca/air-bubble-curtains-bubble-tubing/?gclid=Cj0KCQiAoab_BRCxARIsANMx4S69fEEKqsHe-TrqYN1TYomIJXgiVHAZoXrtWGmVJO3suaPcEW57lTkaAht0EALw_wcB

Ninja'ed again :)
« Last Edit: 12/28/2020 10:23 pm by Lar »
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Offline butters

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Re: Starship Ocean Platform; Advantages and Difficulties
« Reply #17 on: 12/28/2020 11:01 pm »
The combination of terrestrial launch and marine landing should be seen as an interim arrangement, in my opinion, because while it probably makes things "sooner," it pretty much rules out the kind of turnaround cadence envisioned for the Starship system. Droneship landing implies F9-like cadence. That seems fine for prototype flight-testing and acceptable for the Starlink launch campaign, but it would be a bummer for propellant tanker campaigns (HLS or Mars cargo), and it would blow up the schedule for NASA human-rating Starship by flying it hundreds of times.

The only way a SS/SH pair launches several times a week is if they both land very close to the launch pad. Even a fixed launch platform with a mobile droneship landing pad positioned a short distance away would significantly complicate operations, but 2-3 weekly launches seems possible in this mode. The F9 droneship experience shows that there's a significant risk of loss-of-vehicle associated with a vertical rocket stage on a pitching deck. The price they pay for a mobile landing platform is the need for something Octograbbery and probably still some risk of losing the vehicle after a nominal landing.

Since they need the Octograbbery solution for the terrestrial launch + droneship landing mode anyway, it would make sense to build the fixed launch platforms with provisions for landing in the future, and continue using droneships for landing until they're confident enough to land on the launch platform. They should probably minimize their investments in droneships and ideally avoid building any launch-only offshore platforms, because this is not viable as permanent infrastructure for a high-rate reusable launch system.

Offline born01930

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Re: Starship Ocean Platform; Advantages and Difficulties
« Reply #18 on: 12/28/2020 11:07 pm »
Having been on a submarine launching a couple SLBM’s I can say they are quite loud even a hundred + feet under water.

Elon mentioned no legs on SH, maybe caught with a derrick while hovering next to the platform. No need barge or transfer crane. I suggested this in jest many years ago on Selenian Boondocks

Offline punder

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Re: Starship Ocean Platform; Advantages and Difficulties
« Reply #19 on: 12/29/2020 12:46 am »
Having been on a submarine launching a couple SLBM’s I can say they are quite loud even a hundred + feet under water.

Elon mentioned no legs on SH, maybe caught with a derrick while hovering next to the platform. No need barge or transfer crane. I suggested this in jest many years ago on Selenian Boondocks
Elon read your post, it sat in his subconscious for years and then came back, meaning you helped form spaceflight reality. Not being sarcastic. One can always dream!   ;D

So you are one of those crazy submariners. That’s pretty impressive. I’d just curl up in a ball and die of fright.

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