Author Topic: Falcon Transport System seen finally at KSC  (Read 37011 times)

Offline Jim

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Re: Falcon Transport System seen finally at KSC
« Reply #40 on: 08/05/2016 03:25 PM »

A relevant question - why did SpaceX need to buy this instead of using what they had done for transporting used stages the last few times? Is it just cheaper than renting the service of a rigger?

It isn't just the last few times after landing.  It is every time a first stage leaves Building AO to go to the hangar.
« Last Edit: 08/05/2016 03:26 PM by Jim »

Offline Mike_1179

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Re: Falcon Transport System seen finally at KSC
« Reply #41 on: 08/05/2016 03:44 PM »

It isn't just the last few times after landing.  It is every time a first stage leaves Building AO to go to the hangar.

Wasn't aware they were using Building AO for stage storage / processing. So the comments (years ago) about the stages being too long for Building AO weren't accurate? http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=30385.msg1026216#msg1026216

Or is only used for temporary storage, processing is done elsewhere.
« Last Edit: 08/05/2016 03:45 PM by Mike_1179 »

Offline gongora

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Re: Falcon Transport System seen finally at KSC
« Reply #42 on: 08/05/2016 03:46 PM »
It's not "I Said, I've Got A Big Stick", it's I Said, I've Got A Big Stick.  And I'm not sure we can give it a Culture ship name until they install an autonomous driving system.

p.s. (does the [size] tag not work on this forum?)

p.p.s.  This actually made me pull the book off the shelf and look up the quote.
Two characters in the book are discussing Culture ship names:
Quote
  'I Said, I've Got A Big Stick.'
  'Sorry?'
  'It's called, I Said, I've Got A Big Stick.  You have to say it quietly.  When you write it, it's in small type.  An OU [Offensive Unit], as you might imagine'.
  'Oh, right.'
  'Probably my favourite.  I think that's just the best.'

« Last Edit: 08/05/2016 04:24 PM by gongora »

Offline edkyle99

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Re: Falcon Transport System seen finally at KSC
« Reply #43 on: 08/05/2016 03:50 PM »

It isn't just the last few times after landing.  It is every time a first stage leaves Building AO to go to the hangar.

Wasn't aware they were using Building AO for stage storage / processing. So the comments (years ago) about the stages being too long for Building AO weren't accurate? http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=30385.msg1026216#msg1026216

Or is only used for temporary storage, processing is done elsewhere.

I believe that the building - the bay itself - was modified a bit to handle the longer stages.

Online douglas100

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Re: Falcon Transport System seen finally at KSC
« Reply #44 on: 08/05/2016 03:53 PM »

....There is one very important thing that all those suggesting the retriever could easily replace the cranes missed : The polygon of support of two cranes working together is huge, and the stage is located right in the middle. To make it possible for the retriever to replace them, you'd need one hell of a counterweight or a hold-down as there certainly is for the erector.

Good point. I'd actually thought of outrigger arms like Jim mentions above. I imagined the retriever looking something like this:
Douglas Clark

Offline Jim

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Re: Falcon Transport System seen finally at KSC
« Reply #45 on: 08/05/2016 04:06 PM »

Good point. I'd actually thought of outrigger arms like Jim mentions above. I imagined the retriever looking something like this:



Good idea, but those outriggers would interfere with the legs.  If the retriever goes in after landing, it has to avoid the legs.  Then grab the stage and allow for leg retraction or removal.

Offline John Alan

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Re: Falcon Transport System seen finally at KSC
« Reply #46 on: 08/05/2016 04:07 PM »
As it stands... this rig just replaces the 'for hire' rig shown in Jim's post with a rig they now own...
It's should pay for itself in time... moving stages around the cape...
And it only as built can carry a stage set on top by two cranes...

However...
All this talk does bring up a question...  ???
Does an empty S1 really need a strong-back to lay it down...  :-\

I mean the hold downs are rated to hold ALOT...
And it's empty... nothing on top... center of gravity is down near the bottom...

The big issue I see in the overall big picture is they can't get the unit up on the barge and under the rocket...
They will always likely use one crane to put the beanie cap on and steady the rocket...

However...  ;)
If a transporter was designed to take the place of the base used now to service the stage, defuel, remove legs..
Deploys the mobile version of a base and waits for the crane to set S1 it on...
Has it's own set of base legs set 45* from the rocket legs to steady it against any winds expected...
One leg is actually the transporter... 2 to each side at 90*
S1 sets on with legs 45* to the transporter direction...
Once ready... use the suspension to rock the base end up higher off the ground...
Retract the steady legs... then hydraulically rotate the base up 90* and lay the rocket down with no strong back

In a pinch... leave the S1 legs on... rock it back to clear and take the whole mess to cover...
You would never get that down the roads with the stoplights and wires hanging...
But if they had a building close by...

Just thinking out loud...  ::)   ;)
« Last Edit: 08/05/2016 04:21 PM by John Alan »

Online douglas100

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Re: Falcon Transport System seen finally at KSC
« Reply #47 on: 08/05/2016 04:11 PM »
Yeah, I think I underestimated the leg span in that drawing.
Douglas Clark

Online Alastor

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Re: Falcon Transport System seen finally at KSC
« Reply #48 on: 08/05/2016 04:14 PM »

....There is one very important thing that all those suggesting the retriever could easily replace the cranes missed : The polygon of support of two cranes working together is huge, and the stage is located right in the middle. To make it possible for the retriever to replace them, you'd need one hell of a counterweight or a hold-down as there certainly is for the erector.

Good point. I'd actually thought of outrigger arms like Jim mentions above. I imagined the retriever looking something like this:

That kind of system could work too.
But as noted by Jim, I think it may require to build a new retriever from scratch if you start modifying it that deeply. There is only so much equipment it can support.

That doesn't mean we won't ever see such a system, of course. I think it is possible that they consider the current equipment to be experimental and go on to build something with more functionalities when rapid reuse becomes a thing.

Then, in that case, I imagine if they ever build such a system, they will build it so that it can grab the stage with the legs attached and move it away from the pad/barge so that the landing platform is available while they work on the stage.
They may even want to make it so that the servicing of the stage can be done while attached to the truck and just have several retrievers at each pad available.

That way, they could process several stages at the same time in kind of a chain process, so that instead of having the workers and equipment moving around, they have the stages moving from workshop to workshop (chemicals clearing, legs removal, inspection and telemetry acquisition, cleaning, various refurbishment, repainting, legs attachment, ...).

But again, if they do so, I believe it to be a "very" long term project, and it probably wont involve this vehicle (even though "very long term" is very relative, when it comes to SpaceX).

Offline Jim

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Re: Falcon Transport System seen finally at KSC
« Reply #49 on: 08/05/2016 04:18 PM »

They may even want to make it so that the servicing of the stage can be done while attached to the truck and just have several retrievers at each pad available.

That way, they could process several stages at the same time in kind of a chain process, so that instead of having the workers and equipment moving around, they have the stages moving from workshop to workshop (chemicals clearing, legs removal, inspection and telemetry acquisition, cleaning, various refurbishment, repainting, legs attachment, ...).


No, they still would put them on dollies like these.  Retrievers would cost too much
« Last Edit: 08/05/2016 04:20 PM by Jim »

Online Alastor

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Re: Falcon Transport System seen finally at KSC
« Reply #50 on: 08/05/2016 04:26 PM »

They may even want to make it so that the servicing of the stage can be done while attached to the truck and just have several retrievers at each pad available.

That way, they could process several stages at the same time in kind of a chain process, so that instead of having the workers and equipment moving around, they have the stages moving from workshop to workshop (chemicals clearing, legs removal, inspection and telemetry acquisition, cleaning, various refurbishment, repainting, legs attachment, ...).


No, they still would put them on dollies like these.  Retrievers would cost too much

Do you see any deep reason that a truck couldn't replace the dollies ?

I mean, dollies are certainly cheaper, so once all the operations that need the stage to be vertical are done, sure, that makes a free retriever to service another stage. So there is certainly a big financial incentive here. But dollies are not self propelled, as far as I know, so if they need the stage to move around a lot, or even go vertical, wouldn't it make sense to keep the retriever ?

(I agree my scenario is going quite far away from the current processing flow. But if they have let's say a dozen stage in processing at any time in the far future, it may make sense to have a stage moving from building to building rather that require an insanely large building that can handle all stages)

EDIT : I didn't see the part where you talked about cost. I guess you edited that in in the meantime. Then I guess I agree with you. There is a huge incentive in terms of cost to use the dollies at the moment.
« Last Edit: 08/05/2016 04:31 PM by Alastor »

Online Hobbes-22

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Re: Falcon Transport System seen finally at KSC
« Reply #51 on: 08/05/2016 05:11 PM »


....There is one very important thing that all those suggesting the retriever could easily replace the cranes missed : The polygon of support of two cranes working together is huge, and the stage is located right in the middle. To make it possible for the retriever to replace them, you'd need one hell of a counterweight or a hold-down as there certainly is for the erector.

I don't think they need that much of a counterweight.
If they place the pivot point above the last axle, the vehicle has to be able to lift the empty stage (30-40t?) plus its frame (10t?) at a distance of say, 5 m.
A 5-ton counterweight at the front of the vehicle (50 m away) is enough to counteract that. And that's ignoring the weight of the vehicle itself (easily 30t), and without jacks supporting the back end, both of which would reduce the amount of counterweight needed.


Offline Joffan

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Re: Falcon Transport System seen finally at KSC
« Reply #52 on: 08/05/2016 05:15 PM »
While I could support using a Banks ship name, there is an obvious acronym: Falcon Transport Wagon FTW.
Max Q for humanity becoming spacefaring

Offline Jim

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Re: Falcon Transport System seen finally at KSC
« Reply #53 on: 08/05/2016 05:19 PM »
so if they need the stage to move around a lot, or even go vertical, wouldn't it make sense to keep the retriever ?


They don't need to go vertical again until launch.  And as for move around?  Everything would be done in the same facility on the dollies.


 But if they have let's say a dozen stage in processing at any time in the far future, it may make sense to have a stage moving from building to building rather that require an insanely large building that can handle all stages)


Not really.  There isn't much work that can be separated.  Most everything can be done in one place, no need to move the stage.
« Last Edit: 08/05/2016 05:22 PM by Jim »

Offline manoweb

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Re: Falcon Transport System seen finally at KSC
« Reply #54 on: 08/05/2016 06:08 PM »
Is the massive white piece part of the auction or was it acquired separately by SpaceX? I am trying to figure out is the 37k$ price includes everything or not.

Offline Jim

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Re: Falcon Transport System seen finally at KSC
« Reply #55 on: 08/05/2016 06:48 PM »
Is the massive white piece part of the auction or was it acquired separately by SpaceX? I am trying to figure out is the 37k$ price includes everything or not.

The white part is an Spacex addition.

Offline John Alan

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Re: Falcon Transport System seen finally at KSC
« Reply #56 on: 08/05/2016 06:53 PM »
I guess what they really need at the Cape is a taller building to store and refurbish S1's in...
5 rocket lanes wide or so... same as building at 39... just much taller...
Tall enough with overhead traveling cranes to clear an S1 stood up vertically plus say 30ft...
Lined on both sides with walk thru fixed bases that stages can be stored vertically on securely...
Support areas, storage areas, etc behind bases and on the other side of the main walls both sides...
Catwalks up top both sides to assist with installing/removing beanie caps as needed...
Catwalks on the bases to secure and unsecure stages... elevator at far end to reach top or bottom catwalks...
One big end door with two lanes used for road trucks bringing in new or taking away used...
Also used to load and unload stages from this new FTS or any variations that follow...
An open area to stand up or lay stages down using two of many overhead cranes...
Rest is shop area to do refurb and swap out components if needed...

I can picture this shot... taken from the far end top catwalk just off the elevator...
50 spaces for 50 stages (25 a side) and about 1/2 in use... new, refurbs, and sooty ones...
Semi truck backing in a stage from Tx while RTS parked next to it is ready to load a refurb going to 40 for reuse...
Several stages laid down on rotary fixtures being worked on in the lower foreground...
And in the center bay.. a refurb was just pulled from along the wall and is starting to be turned to lay it down on the FTS...

 8)
« Last Edit: 08/05/2016 07:03 PM by John Alan »

Offline Space Ghost 1962

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Re: Falcon Transport System seen finally at KSC
« Reply #57 on: 08/05/2016 07:35 PM »
It's not "I Said, I've Got A Big Stick", it's I Said, I've Got A Big Stick.  And I'm not sure we can give it a Culture ship name until they install an autonomous driving system.

Given Tesla's self driving technology, don't see why not. And one of the big motivations for self driving vehicles was to do large logistical support trucks to avoid casualties from IED's, so moving big munitions around on a AF base sounds very desirable/supportable.  In that case though, the name Slightly Bent might be more applicable if not for the fear that the software might have a few teething issues ...

Quote
p.p.s.  This actually made me pull the book off the shelf and look up the quote.
Two characters in the book are discussing Culture ship names:
Quote
  'I Said, I've Got A Big Stick.'
  'Sorry?'
  'It's called, I Said, I've Got A Big Stick.  You have to say it quietly.  When you write it, it's in small type.  An OU [Offensive Unit], as you might imagine'.
  'Oh, right.'
  'Probably my favourite.  I think that's just the best.'
Thank you. It's also partly why said same. Do miss the colorful Iain Banks stories and metaphors. RIP.

Offline Jim

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Re: Falcon Transport System seen finally at KSC
« Reply #58 on: 08/05/2016 08:25 PM »
I guess what they really need at the Cape is a taller building to store and refurbish S1's in...
5 rocket lanes wide or so... same as building at 39... just much taller...
Tall enough with overhead traveling cranes to clear an S1 stood up vertically plus say 30ft...
Lined on both sides with walk thru fixed bases that stages can be stored vertically on securely...
Support areas, storage areas, etc behind bases and on the other side of the main walls both sides...
Catwalks up top both sides to assist with installing/removing beanie caps as needed...
Catwalks on the bases to secure and unsecure stages... elevator at far end to reach top or bottom catwalks...
One big end door with two lanes used for road trucks bringing in new or taking away used...
Also used to load and unload stages from this new FTS or any variations that follow...
An open area to stand up or lay stages down using two of many overhead cranes...
Rest is shop area to do refurb and swap out components if needed...

I can picture this shot... taken from the far end top catwalk just off the elevator...
50 spaces for 50 stages (25 a side) and about 1/2 in use... new, refurbs, and sooty ones...
Semi truck backing in a stage from Tx while RTS parked next to it is ready to load a refurb going to 40 for reuse...
Several stages laid down on rotary fixtures being worked on in the lower foreground...
And in the center bay.. a refurb was just pulled from along the wall and is starting to be turned to lay it down on the FTS...

 8)

Why vertical?  Just keep them horizontal until launch. 
The building is cheaper. 

Doesn't this photo say it all. 
http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=40857.msg1566313#msg1566313
Just a couple of manlifts and access stands are all that is needed.
Bring in one end, work on them and roll them out the other end and take them to the HIF at the pad.

And it could be done in multiple buildings, Spacex could use any unused buildings at the Cape.  After all, there isn't just one hangar at an airport for all the planes.

And if they have 50 stages, then something must be wrong with the reuse process.
« Last Edit: 08/05/2016 08:33 PM by Jim »

Offline envy887

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Re: Falcon Transport System seen finally at KSC
« Reply #59 on: 08/05/2016 09:38 PM »


....There is one very important thing that all those suggesting the retriever could easily replace the cranes missed : The polygon of support of two cranes working together is huge, and the stage is located right in the middle. To make it possible for the retriever to replace them, you'd need one hell of a counterweight or a hold-down as there certainly is for the erector.

I don't think they need that much of a counterweight.
If they place the pivot point above the last axle, the vehicle has to be able to lift the empty stage (30-40t?) plus its frame (10t?) at a distance of say, 5 m.
A 5-ton counterweight at the front of the vehicle (50 m away) is enough to counteract that. And that's ignoring the weight of the vehicle itself (easily 30t), and without jacks supporting the back end, both of which would reduce the amount of counterweight needed.

Every heavy vehicle with a crane or boom has hydraulically actuated stabilizer legs. Just put a few of those down near the pivot end, and no counterweight is needed at all... the weight of the vehicle is more than enough thanks to that huge lever arm.

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