Author Topic: SpaceX's Autonomous Spaceport Drone Ship Discussion Thread 1  (Read 240160 times)

Offline catdlr

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Re: SpaceX's Autonomous Spaceport Drone Ship Discussion Thread
« Reply #200 on: 11/24/2014 09:07 pm »
I see no issue with a small support team on the barge (2 people), going out to the coordinates, transferring to a support ship that will then be standing by a few miles? away. At least for the initial run(s).

Isn't that somewhat the procedure used for Sea Launch? Then re-man it after launch.
« Last Edit: 11/24/2014 09:08 pm by catdlr »
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Offline SoulWager

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Re: SpaceX's Autonomous Spaceport Drone Ship Discussion Thread
« Reply #201 on: 11/24/2014 09:38 pm »
I see no issue with a small support team on the barge (2 people), going out to the coordinates, transferring to a support ship that will then be standing by a few miles? away. At least for the initial run(s).

Even for something as mundane but important as checking to ensure the deck is cleared of any debris that may have come loose or blown aboard, etc. I'd think they would inspect the deck as a matter of mission check-list.

I wonder when the barge will depart for a Dec. 16th debut landing? How long do we think it will be "on-site" before the landing attempt. 2 to 3 days?
I don't think debris on the deck would be as big a problem as it might be on an aircraft carrier, because you don't have to worry about it getting sucked into an air intake. You just might have to worry about it getting blown into something valuable by the rocket exhaust.

Offline CameronD

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Re: SpaceX's Autonomous Spaceport Drone Ship Discussion Thread
« Reply #202 on: 11/24/2014 09:58 pm »
Look, sometimes new technology changes things. With a self-powered barge, you don't need a tug. A support vessel with crew, sure, but you don't need to tow the vessel into place. And yes, you /can/ just give it GPS navpoints (combined with dead-reckoning short-term backup).

Also, hydraulic power transmission is a pretty good idea. Hydraulic motors are very power-dense.

I agree.  If the head of this company is at the forefront of autonomous vehicle deployment (and some of their current vehicles are being sold as "autonomous-ready"), it shouldn't be much of a stretch to think of something as slow as a barge moving in and out of a port on it's own.

Speed is of no relevance to the liability issues with this.  If another vessel hits it, or it hits another vessel (usually a recreational fisher-type in his dinghy) or it 'damages the environment' in some way (breaks down and drifts ashore, leaks fuel, etc, etc.), rest assured the local authorities will slap them down for a breach of COLREGS..

That's why the only options I think they have for 'autonomous' operation see the barge either (a) manned on its way in and out of port or (b) close escort the entire way.

Mind you, the boat operator's liability doesn't change a bit, but cameras and sensors on a telescoping stalk can do just as well (perhaps better) as Captains Schettino, Lee, and Hazlewood.

Only when they're working...  if not, the result is the same. ;)

« Last Edit: 11/25/2014 12:06 am by CameronD »
With sufficient thrust, pigs fly just fine - however, this is not necessarily a good idea. It is hard to be sure where they are
going to land, and it could be dangerous sitting under them as they fly overhead.

Offline IRobot

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Re: SpaceX's Autonomous Spaceport Drone Ship Discussion Thread
« Reply #203 on: 11/24/2014 10:09 pm »

I think the Thrustmaster announcement I read on Saturday said these were diesel-hyrdraulic powered units, not diesel-electric, as are some other azimuth thruster designs.
They are. I was just working on one a few weeks ago. Ours are completely electricity free and started by compressed air. It makes them intrinsically safe in explosive environments. That could be a factor here.
The weak link is the diesel generator, not the engines. The engines are outside of the vessel hull, with only a simple electric cable providing power. In any case, the propulsion part is usually well isolated from other critical areas with risk of explosion.

A simple monitoring camera, an electric switch or a computer pose much more risk of explosion on a ship like that, because they have to operate in explosion-risk areas, while the propulsion and power plant are separated.

Online eriblo

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Re: SpaceX's Autonomous Spaceport Drone Ship Discussion Thread
« Reply #204 on: 11/24/2014 10:11 pm »
The size of the blue squares at the corners, if these are the HPUs of a Thrustmaster Portable DPS, are consistent with the 3.5m x 1.7m of the smallest model, OD300N, providing 300hp/225kW and 40 kN per pod. Sounds too low for main propulsion to me, but might be enough for station keeping (the requirements of which I know nothing about :) )?
« Last Edit: 11/24/2014 10:12 pm by eriblo »

Offline Nomadd

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Re: SpaceX's Autonomous Spaceport Drone Ship Discussion Thread
« Reply #205 on: 11/24/2014 10:59 pm »
 It's not technology. It's terminology. If it's self propelled, it's not a barge. It's a boat. Thrustmasters don't count as real propulsion in most cases because they're addons, usually temporary and they'd be terrible at it. They have large, high pitch props made for low speed operation and fast response for position maintaining or low speed maneuvering. They're not what you'd want to make a 100 mile trip.
 Of course, terminology like that tend to get blurred when you cobble together non standard vessels like this. I haven't seen the history of this thing yet, but there are lots of old service platforms and buoy tenders and such that have to be very stable in seas to do their job.
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Converted this into the discussion thread. Will use my article (done, we're just working more cool renderings) will kick off the update thread.

Offline Jcc

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Re: SpaceX's Autonomous Spaceport Drone Ship Discussion Thread
« Reply #207 on: 11/24/2014 11:42 pm »
It's not technology. It's terminology. If it's self propelled, it's not a barge. It's a boat. Thrustmasters don't count as real propulsion in most cases because they're addons, usually temporary and they'd be terrible at it. They have large, high pitch props made for low speed operation and fast response for position maintaining or low speed maneuvering. They're not what you'd want to make a 100 mile trip.
 Of course, terminology like that tend to get blurred when you cobble together non standard vessels like this. I haven't seen the history of this thing yet, but there are lots of old service platforms and buoy tenders and such that have to be very stable in seas to do their job.

Right, if it's a barge it needs to be towed or pushed. And, wouldn't that vessel be a good place to have the crew stationed a safe distance away? Tow it to the landing zone, turn on the station keeping system, move the tow boat away until the stage lands, go back and have the crew secure the stage, then tow it back to port. Seems pretty obvious to me, and if the "autonomous drone spaceport" goes haywire, abort the stage landing to the water, and the tow vessel can quicky secure it and avoid liability.
« Last Edit: 11/24/2014 11:43 pm by Jcc »

Offline robertross

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Re: SpaceX's Autonomous Spaceport Drone Ship Discussion Thread
« Reply #208 on: 11/24/2014 11:47 pm »
It's not technology. It's terminology. If it's self propelled, it's not a barge. It's a boat. Thrustmasters don't count as real propulsion in most cases because they're addons, usually temporary and they'd be terrible at it. They have large, high pitch props made for low speed operation and fast response for position maintaining or low speed maneuvering. They're not what you'd want to make a 100 mile trip.
 Of course, terminology like that tend to get blurred when you cobble together non standard vessels like this. I haven't seen the history of this thing yet, but there are lots of old service platforms and buoy tenders and such that have to be very stable in seas to do their job.

Terminology counts for a lot too.

Thrustmasters are a valid form of propulsion, but it depends on what your intentions are.
The primary purpose is station keeping, but they could be used outside of that.
Variable pitch propellers are also quite common in larger thusters. Judging from their size, they likely are variable pitch.

The hydraulics for running the blade are likely hydrostatic, and they likely have auxiliary hydraulics to run azimuth control and raise/lower functions (via cylinders).

Online jaufgang

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Re: SpaceX's Autonomous Spaceport Drone Ship Discussion Thread
« Reply #209 on: 11/25/2014 12:58 am »
It's not technology. It's terminology. If it's self propelled, it's not a barge. It's a boat.

I think that's just not the case.  What defines a barge is the wide flat hull and low profile, not the lack of propulsion.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barge refers to both self-propelled and un-propelled barges.  Try googling "self propelled barge" and see the results you get.

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OK folks, here's our article, with some history, some things you know by now, some L2 info and some epic renderings from our L2 artist Nathan.

http://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2014/11/spacex-autonomous-spaceport-drone-ship/

I'll set up a standalone update thread later for full coverage, given this is already a busy thread, as expected.

Offline sanman

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Re: SpaceX's Autonomous Spaceport Drone Ship Discussion Thread
« Reply #211 on: 11/25/2014 01:16 am »
Tell me, is there any danger of having a wet, slippery deck which could cause a rocket stage to slide/slip off, even if it doesn't really tip over?

Offline savuporo

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Re: SpaceX's Autonomous Spaceport Drone Ship Discussion Thread
« Reply #212 on: 11/25/2014 01:41 am »
Given the 50% optimistic odds of the barge landing attempt estimated success, i wonder what failure will look like there. For example, tipping over but remaining on the barge and not creating a (huge) fireball would still be a huge success.
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Offline meekGee

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Re: SpaceX's Autonomous Spaceport Drone Ship Discussion Thread
« Reply #213 on: 11/25/2014 01:42 am »
BTW, just for kicks, from a pure feasibility standpoint, it is pretty easy to build the barge so that it can remain manned during the landing, and the crew will remain safe in the event of a "hard landing".

Not that it's the smartest way to go about it, but technically it's not that hard.
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Offline sanman

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Re: SpaceX's Autonomous Spaceport Drone Ship Discussion Thread
« Reply #214 on: 11/25/2014 01:51 am »
I hope that SpaceX releases as much camera footage as possible after the landing, so that we can see what it all looks like from the barge's viewpoint, as well as from the rocket stage's viewpoint. That's going to look pretty cool.

What a safe distance for a manned ship to have from the barge at landing time?

Offline llanitedave

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Re: SpaceX's Autonomous Spaceport Drone Ship Discussion Thread
« Reply #215 on: 11/25/2014 02:05 am »

As for other discussions about fuel and nose cap.  The booster doesn't need a full fuel load, it's just getting itself back to shore with no second stage or payload.  Also, is a nose cap necessary? It doesn't need to go very fast on the return trip.

Depending of course on how large a distance that fly-back covers.  It will probably still have to be a largely ballistic trajectory to avoid excessive fuel consumption, which means the possibility of supersonic velocity.  I think some form of cap over the interstage would be a good idea, and not very difficult to supply.
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Offline SpaceX_MS

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Re: SpaceX's Autonomous Spaceport Drone Ship Discussion Thread
« Reply #216 on: 11/25/2014 02:16 am »
OK folks, here's our article, with some history, some things you know by now, some L2 info and some epic renderings from our L2 artist Nathan.

http://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2014/11/spacex-autonomous-spaceport-drone-ship/

I'll set up a standalone update thread later for full coverage, given this is already a busy thread, as expected.

And that's why this is the go to site here at Hawthorne! Super article!

Offline JohnWT

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Re: SpaceX's Autonomous Spaceport Drone Ship Discussion Thread
« Reply #217 on: 11/25/2014 04:29 am »
I wonder why people here are referring to it as a barge or discussing whether it is a boat.  SpaceX calls it a ship.  Ships are usually self propelled.

Offline dcporter

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Re: SpaceX's Autonomous Spaceport Drone Ship Discussion Thread
« Reply #218 on: 11/25/2014 05:04 am »
(I assume that any separate vessel that's holding support crew would have to be able to make it to safety on its own in case the rocket goes sideways and takes the barge down with it?)

Offline Helodriver

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Re: SpaceX's Autonomous Spaceport Drone Ship Discussion Thread
« Reply #219 on: 11/25/2014 05:18 am »
I wonder why people here are referring to it as a barge or discussing whether it is a boat.  SpaceX calls it a ship.  Ships are usually self propelled.

Its a flat bottomed vessel with a flat bow and stern based on a barge platform, made by a company that builds barges, powered by thrusters that the manufacturer markets as station keeping equipment for barges.  It fits exactly the accepted definition of barge (a flat-bottomed boat for carrying freight, typically on canals and rivers but occasionally oceangoing, either under its own power or towed by another).

Ship sounds cooler and Drone Ship makes for great PR, heck I'll probably refer to it as a ship myself, but its a barge, no matter how many cool toys are mounted upon it.

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