Author Topic: SpaceX Eastern Range Landing Facilities  (Read 226206 times)

Offline meekGee

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Re: SpaceX Eastern Range Landing Facilities
« Reply #260 on: 12/29/2015 08:31 PM »
I find the idea that a booster can navigate from 100km up and then find itself in need of a "rally point" only 150m away from its proper target rather cute.


Absurdity factor = 0. 


Not true at all.  RC copters have nothing in common with this

I'll add this then.

The contingency pads would only be utilized in order to enable the safe landing of a single vehicle should last-second navigation and landing diversion be required.

- George Gassaway

I can't see that.

If that was the case, make a larger pad.  But what if the unforseen emergency takes it between the contingency pads?  The distance between them is larger than the distance back to the mother-pad....

Given that only the center pad has a gravel zone around it, I am sure it is the crash pad.

All stages initially aim for it.  Then each stage, after relighting and passing health checks (which is 30 seconds and some 5000' out) diverts to its pre-assigned pad.  It is such a tiny divert that you won't even be able to see it.

Any stage that does not pass the health check will attempt to land on the crash pad to the best of its ability.

This is different than the "major divert" which is performed by the grid fins for the entirety of the atmospheric descent, by actively "pulling" towards shore.  The purpose of the major divert is to guarantee that the stage does not end up outside of LZ1 or more broadly inland over population centers.

Yes, the EIS not withstanding.
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Offline cscott

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Re: SpaceX Eastern Range Landing Facilities
« Reply #261 on: 12/29/2015 09:12 PM »
@meekGee with all respect, the way you've formulated your theory it is unfalsifiable.

Occam's Razor might suggest, "just build a single pad to start with, and build it as large as you can in case the first few landings run into trouble.  Later on, once the bugs are shaken out, you can build a few more (as needed) and make them smaller."

Isn't that a simpler explanation?

Offline meekGee

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Re: SpaceX Eastern Range Landing Facilities
« Reply #262 on: 12/29/2015 09:27 PM »
@meekGee with all respect, the way you've formulated your theory it is unfalsifiable.

Occam's Razor might suggest, "just build a single pad to start with, and build it as large as you can in case the first few landings run into trouble.  Later on, once the bugs are shaken out, you can build a few more (as needed) and make them smaller."

Isn't that a simpler explanation?

I don't know if it's simpler.  It's certainly an explanation, and like any good guess, it is unfalsifiable too...

I don't think you need to build a 3x diameter pad just because you're not sure.

When I look at the 5 pad layout, it makes sense to me as I describe, and I think they'll build it the same way even in the future (e.g. other sites), even after they've worked out the kinks in the process.

This is because the possibility of a crashing stage is real, and if it's happening late in the game, it won't fall in the ocean, and so you need a containment pad somewhere.  (And the stage might be sick but still be able to land)

To give the dreaded airplane analogy, you see in airports a cleared but unpaved area past the landing strips.  It's not because they're still working out the kinks, but because the possibility of airplanes overshooting the runway is real, even with mature jetliner technology.

In the landing pads, you might want 5 large gravel-surrounded pads, but I think there's just not enough space there...

Emphasis on "I think".  It's obviously only conjecture.
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Offline edkyle99

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Re: SpaceX Eastern Range Landing Facilities
« Reply #263 on: 12/29/2015 09:58 PM »
Yesterday I was flying to Miami and realized I would pass by the cape. I took out my 300mm and got a couple good shots of the landing pad. If you'd like I can post the original RAW files as you guys are pros at photo editing.

Awesome!

Can see the logistics area (rectangular) which supports the idea that the stage was driven by the crane (what an awesome sight!) to a common area where "de-legging" occurs.  (The crane is still there)

Too cool.
The rectangular area with the crane is the site of the original LC 13 blockhouse. 

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Offline georgegassaway

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Re: SpaceX Eastern Range Landing Facilities
« Reply #264 on: 12/29/2015 10:55 PM »
My last message was a bit of a trick, and unfortunately it worked.  Sorry,  I got tired of the attitude that no way would SpaceX use the contingency pads that way, when I know (remember)  better.

Because that is exactly their justification for being allowed to build the contingency pads in the first place.

So,  I quoted the exact words from the environmental impact study that SpaceX commissioned,
as their own justification and explanation for why they needed those other pads. 
A little surprised nobody recognized it, and very surprised at the attitudes that  SpaceX would never plan to do such a thing.

You can find it here, in a Feb 10th  article about SpaceX leasing LC-13:

Quote
http://spacenews.com/spacex-leases-cape-canaveral-launch-pad-for-falcon-landings/

SpaceX’s plan calls for constructing a 60-meter by 60-meter square concrete landing pad surrounded by four
additional 45-meter diameter “contingency” pads, according to a 2014 environmental impact statement prepared
 for SpaceX and the Air Force.

The contingency pads would only be utilized in order to enable the safe landing of a single vehicle should last-
second navigation and landing diversion be required.
There are no plans to utilize the contingency pads in order
to enable landing multiple stages” at once, the assessment said. The document was prepared by Gator
Engineering and Aquifer Restoration, Inc. of Lake Mary, Florida.

In addition, SpaceX plans to build a steel stand to secure the stage during “post-landing operations” the impact
statement said. The company does not expect more than 12 landings a year.

The full environmental impact study is here, see page #17:

http://www.patrick.af.mil/shared/media/document/AFD-141107-004.pdf

So, this is what SpaceX says the contingency pads were for, in the environmental impact study created for their behalf.

Now if you do not  not believe it, still want to call it absurd, take it up with Musk. :)

- George Gassaway
« Last Edit: 12/29/2015 11:10 PM by georgegassaway »

Offline meekGee

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Re: SpaceX Eastern Range Landing Facilities
« Reply #265 on: 12/30/2015 12:34 AM »
My last message was a bit of a trick, and unfortunately it worked.  Sorry,  I got tired of the attitude that no way would SpaceX use the contingency pads that way, when I know (remember)  better.

Because that is exactly their justification for being allowed to build the contingency pads in the first place.

So,  I quoted the exact words from the environmental impact study that SpaceX commissioned,
as their own justification and explanation for why they needed those other pads. 
A little surprised nobody recognized it, and very surprised at the attitudes that  SpaceX would never plan to do such a thing.

You can find it here, in a Feb 10th  article about SpaceX leasing LC-13:

Quote
http://spacenews.com/spacex-leases-cape-canaveral-launch-pad-for-falcon-landings/

SpaceX’s plan calls for constructing a 60-meter by 60-meter square concrete landing pad surrounded by four
additional 45-meter diameter “contingency” pads, according to a 2014 environmental impact statement prepared
 for SpaceX and the Air Force.

The contingency pads would only be utilized in order to enable the safe landing of a single vehicle should last-
second navigation and landing diversion be required.
There are no plans to utilize the contingency pads in order
to enable landing multiple stages” at once, the assessment said. The document was prepared by Gator
Engineering and Aquifer Restoration, Inc. of Lake Mary, Florida.

In addition, SpaceX plans to build a steel stand to secure the stage during “post-landing operations” the impact
statement said. The company does not expect more than 12 landings a year.

The full environmental impact study is here, see page #17:

http://www.patrick.af.mil/shared/media/document/AFD-141107-004.pdf

So, this is what SpaceX says the contingency pads were for, in the environmental impact study created for their behalf.

Now if you do not  not believe it, still want to call it absurd, take it up with Musk. :)

- George Gassaway

I am not sure what you're referencing by "that way", but:

We all saw the EIS.   Which was followed in short order by a SpaceX video showing all three cores landing at LZ-1.

So something's gotta give.

It was discussed to death, and I think the best explanation was that the EIS is simply a first step, to be amended later, and so irrelevant to the eventual CONOPS.

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Offline cscott

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Re: SpaceX Eastern Range Landing Facilities
« Reply #266 on: 12/30/2015 07:24 AM »
If you want to take the EIS document literally (which was written by Gator Engineering, not Musk, and is a draft, not final), then the fact that none of the "contingency"  pads have actually been built would support the contention that subsequent development has confirmed they are not necessary (since last minute diversions are unlikely to occur).

But it's more likely that the draft EIS reflects a misunderstanding, one possibly corrected in the final version, or an error that was deemed immaterial.  As @meekGee noted, we have numerous subsequent confirmations that they do in fact intend to land multiple cores at LZ-1.
« Last Edit: 12/30/2015 07:37 AM by cscott »

Offline Jim

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Re: SpaceX Eastern Range Landing Facilities
« Reply #267 on: 12/30/2015 11:22 AM »
.

Now if you do not  not believe it, still want to call it absurd, take it up with Musk. :)


It is very easy not to believe it since it contains many errors such as " square concrete landing pad" and "The company does not expect more than 12 landings a year.".

Online Herb Schaltegger

Re: SpaceX Eastern Range Landing Facilities
« Reply #268 on: 12/30/2015 10:18 PM »
As for the EIS ... while I've never actually drafted one, I have drafted plenty of other documents for submittal and filing with various governmental bodies. It's not at all uncommon for initial versions to be amended later, especially a year (or 3 or 5 or 10 ...) as things change. What usually matters is that some virtual checkmark in some low-level procedures manual (as defined and set forth in the relevant section of the CFRs) gets checked off as "done." In essence, in this case, it's almost 100% certain that submittal of the draft EIS that's floating around was the checkbox that had to be marked off. And even once a "final" draft of a document is filed, it's very common to file amendments and supplements as facts warrant.

Contrary to the opinions of most engineers (and most NSF forum members), my experience tells me that government in operation - as slow and creaky as it often can be - is rarely as hidebound and ignorant of reality as it's portrayed. "Government" is usually real people doing moderately-challenging work (and sometimes VERY challenging work), trying to do a decent job in the face of limited budgets and near-constant public derision these days
« Last Edit: 04/04/2016 12:27 PM by Chris Bergin »
Ad astra per aspirin ...

Offline The_Ronin

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Re: SpaceX Eastern Range Landing Facilities
« Reply #269 on: 12/31/2015 01:41 PM »
What's to stop them from reusing LC-11 & 12 like they did with 13 to provide multiple pads (other than USAF and EPA approval)?  Both of the sites are in the same condition that 13 was in prior to it's new role.

Offline Beittil

Re: SpaceX Eastern Range Landing Facilities
« Reply #270 on: 01/04/2016 12:22 PM »
For LC11 my best guess would be that it puts incoming rocket stages a wee bit to close to LC36 where BO is planning on building their launch facilities and where Moon Express also has facilities.

LC12 could be an option I suppose, unless they still consider it to be to close to LC36.

Neither pads seem to have 'significant' historical relevance, unlike LC14 (launch pad of John Glenn) for example.
« Last Edit: 01/04/2016 12:22 PM by Beittil »

Offline The_Ronin

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Re: SpaceX Eastern Range Landing Facilities
« Reply #271 on: 01/05/2016 03:14 PM »
For LC11 my best guess would be that it puts incoming rocket stages a wee bit to close to LC36 where BO is planning on building their launch facilities and where Moon Express also has facilities.

Might be an opportunity for CCAFB to establish a consolidated landing zone for both SpaceX and BO.

Offline Comga

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Re: SpaceX Eastern Range Landing Facilities
« Reply #272 on: 02/11/2016 07:18 PM »
So -- no clue either way as to whether or not a big circle-X has been painted onto the main landing pad at Landing Complex 1, in preparation for tomorrow's landing attempt?

No September image is available on the TerraServer, so the latest remains the one from August which has no X.
There are other resources for overhead photography, but a better hope is for a ground based image Tuesday morning with a smudged, shadowed Space-X. ;)

That image is a half year old today and has still not been superseded by one of the finished pad with the big "X".
What kind of wastrels would dump a perfectly good booster in the ocean after just one use?

Offline acsawdey

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Re: SpaceX Eastern Range Landing Facilities
« Reply #273 on: 04/04/2016 02:07 AM »
There doesn't seem to be a separate thread for Vandenberg landing activities so I'll just post this here. Mods can decide if we should rename this thread or do something different.

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

Quote
NMFS has received a request from Space Explorations Technology Corporation (SpaceX), for authorization to take 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. Pursuant to the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA), NMFS is requesting comments on its proposal to issue an incidental harassment authorization (IHA) to SpaceX to incidentally take marine mammals, by Level B Harassment only, during the specified activity.

https://www.federalregister.gov/articles/2016/03/31/2016-07191/takes-of-marine-mammals-incidental-to-specified-activities-taking-marine-mammals-incidental-to

Offline chalz

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Re: SpaceX Eastern Range Landing Facilities
« Reply #274 on: 04/04/2016 06:20 AM »
https://www.federalregister.gov/articles/2016/03/31/2016-07191/takes-of-marine-mammals-incidental-to-specified-activities-taking-marine-mammals-incidental-to
Thanks for posting, I read the whole thing :) I had to find out for myself how many seals SpaceX are allowed to slaughter. In a triumph for American bureaucracy the answer is none.

Summary:
  • SpaceX want permission to possibly harm seals for the year June 30 2016-June 29 2017 up to 6 times.
  • Land landings or barge landings 50km offshore were considered.
  • Possible sources of harm - direct impact, oil spill, debris field, percussion from explosive barge impact, sonic boom during retry.
  • Only sonic boom is likely to have any chance of an effect.
  • Study of the effect of sonic booms from many launches show the effects can be significant behavioural change(haul outs at breeding locations) but temporary.
  • Harbour seals and California Sea Lions show more reaction to sonic booms than others that have been studied.
  • Mitigation proposed by SpaceX: 'Unless constrained by other factors including human safety or national security concerns, launches will be scheduled to avoid, whenever possible, boost-backs and landings during the harbor seal pupping season of March through June.'
  • SpaceX should monitor at risk sites for effects and if any animal is injured or killed (a type A harassment which they are not requesting permission for) then they must stop the regulated activities (landings not launches) for NMFS to review.
  • This is a proposed authorization and is still open for public comment, it does not say when it will be closed.

  • Other facts:
  • SpaceX expect to never miss the barge so the question of a stage hitting the water was not studied.
  • The maximum explosive force in a barge impact is 503ibs of TNT equivalent.
  • California piniped populations are a soap opera of ups and downs and roundabouts in recent years.
  • Auditory Brainstem Response experiments have been done on seals which involved them wearing headphones.

  • One factor that was not mentioned in the report is that a landing sonic boom occurs very soon after a launch sonic boom. Given that pinipeds can take from a few minutes to several hours to return to shore if startled this may change the effect from a typical sonic boom. Good luck to the marine biologist who has to determine what behaviour resulted from what effect. Although counting sea lions all day sounds like a cushy job.

    Offline Zed_Noir

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    Re: SpaceX Eastern Range Landing Facilities
    « Reply #275 on: 04/04/2016 09:18 AM »
    For LC11 my best guess would be that it puts incoming rocket stages a wee bit to close to LC36 where BO is planning on building their launch facilities and where Moon Express also has facilities.

    Might be an opportunity for CCAFB to establish a consolidated landing zone for both SpaceX and BO.

    Are you suggesting that Bezos & Musk share a facility at CCAFS?  :o

    As I commented on one of the Blue Origin threads. It is a good idea with likelihood of happening as never. Both Bezos & Musk got the Billionaire oneupmanship issue.


    Offline CameronD

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    Re: SpaceX Eastern Range Landing Facilities
    « Reply #276 on: 04/07/2016 02:56 AM »
    Other facts:
    SpaceX expect to never miss the barge so the question of a stage hitting the water was not studied.
    The maximum explosive force in a barge impact is 503ibs of TNT equivalent.

    That's interesting.. and especially so when SpX have performed 'water landings' several times before and IIRC have publicly stated that 'divert to water' is their plan if they consider it too rough to land (explosively or otherwise) on the barge.

    Surely having a mostly-empty stage land on your head is going to be a bad day for any seal caught in the wrong place at the wrong second.. no?
    « Last Edit: 04/07/2016 02:57 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 mme

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    Re: SpaceX Eastern Range Landing Facilities
    « Reply #277 on: 04/07/2016 03:28 AM »
    Other facts:
    SpaceX expect to never miss the barge so the question of a stage hitting the water was not studied.
    The maximum explosive force in a barge impact is 503ibs of TNT equivalent.

    That's interesting.. and especially so when SpX have performed 'water landings' several times before and IIRC have publicly stated that 'divert to water' is their plan if they consider it too rough to land (explosively or otherwise) on the barge.

    Surely having a mostly-empty stage land on your head is going to be a bad day for any seal caught in the wrong place at the wrong second.. no?
    'Divert to water' implies the rocket changes course.  If the seas are too rough, they move the barge before launch.  The rocket always tries to hit specific GPS coordinates.  Whether the barge is there or not.
    Space is not Highlander.  There can, and will, be more than one.

    Offline cscott

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    Re: SpaceX Eastern Range Landing Facilities
    « Reply #278 on: 04/07/2016 02:50 PM »
    It's a bad day for the seal, but it is multiplied out by the infinitesimal probability of the seal being in that wrong place at that wrong time.  They just need the statistical probability of killing a seal to be well below <some number>, which is different from never killing a seal.

    Offline whvholst

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    Re: SpaceX Eastern Range Landing Facilities
    « Reply #279 on: 04/07/2016 06:47 PM »
    Isn't the much simpler explanation that the big pad is intended to be used for up to four stages simultaneously who under nominal control conditions will each be diverted from the four external pads that are crash pads/emergency pads in case there isn't sufficiently control over them? That way it could handle even a Falcon Heavy with a Raptor reusable S2.

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