Its also fair to say that spacex, as well as tesla, are doing things that almost no ones been able to do. Spacex has always experimented and achieved milestones of space travel. Since its inception, they are sending missions to the international space station and eventually hope to send humans to mars. However, a significant achievement of spacex has been its reusable launch system development program which works towards facilitating reusability and retrieval of its space, launch vehicles and other parts of the launch rockets. If you look at say the cost of a falcon 9 rocket, which is quite a big rocket, its about a million pounds of thrust and its the lowest cost rocket in the world, and even so its about 50 to 60 million dollars. But but the cost of the fuel and and oxygen and so forth is is only about two hundred thousand dollars. So so, obviously, if we can reuse the rocket um say a thousand times, then that would make the capital cost of the rocket for launch only about fifty thousand dollars. Elon said spacex fairing recovery program, spacex rockets, such as the falcon 9, have meticulously calculated and designed flight plans. Firstly, the payload fairing is a nose cone used to protect the spacecraft payload against the impact of dynamic pressure and aerodynamic heating during launch through an atmosphere. The fairing is 13 meters 43 feet long 5.2 meters 17 feet in diameter, weighs approximately 1 900 kilograms and is constructed of carbon fiber skin overlaid on an aluminum honeycomb core during production, the fairings undergo the acoustic shock and mechanical vibration of launch plus electromagnetic static discharge Conditions were simulated on a full size test article in a huge vacuum chamber.
Payload fairings have traditionally been expendable where they have either burned up in the atmosphere or were destroyed upon impact in the ocean. As early as mid 2015, musk hinted that spacex might be working on fairing reusability, following the discovery of wreckage of an unidentified falcon 9 launch vehicle section off the coast of the bahamas and was subsequently confirmed by spacex to be a component of a payload fairing that Had washed ashore by april 2016, spacex had publicly announced falcon 9 faring recovery as an objective. The cost of the fairing is about 6 million dollars per launch, which accounts for approximately 10 of the overall launch costs. Musk said in 2017.. Imagine if you had 6 million dollars in cash in a pallet flying through the air and was going to smash into the ocean, would you try to recover that? Yes, yes, you would. Secondly, the falcon 9 first stage, booster, is equipped with small thrusters near its nose that bent nitrogen gas. Shortly after separating from the second stage, a control blast flips the rocket to prepare it for its return to the ground to control the descent of the core. Through the atmosphere spacex uses grid fins that deploy from the vehicle after separation, the legs deploy moments before landing. Three of the falcon 9s engines reignite to decrease the rockets reentry velocity and acceleration as it prepares to land safely. Spacex successfully performed a controlled landing of the payload fairing into the ocean.
For the first time, spacex was able to recover the fairing half from the water. After it landed aided by altitude control thrusters and a steerable parachute gently on water, in 2017, the company announced its intent to land the fairings on a dry, flexible structure, jokingly described by elon musk as a floating bouncy castle, with the goal of reusing the fairings, the Cost of a fairing is about 6 million dollars, which accounts for 10 percent of overall falcon 9 launch costs. The bouncy castle idea led to spacex contracting for the fast vessel, mr steven, which was subsequently modified to facilitate a large net being strung between two long arms that extend considerably beyond the width of the ship. Mr steven was equipped with a dynamic positioning system and was first tested after the launch of the paz satellite from vandenberg air force base. The test was not fully successful because the fairing missed the boat by a few hundred meters but landed safely in the water. After being recovered and taken back to port, all four attempts in the first half of 2018 to land a fairing on the recovery ship failed. Despite fitting mr steven with larger nets before the july 2018 attempt in 2019, mr steven was renamed miss tree after being upgraded and refitted with a much larger net with an area of 3700 square meters, 0.91 acres four times the original net size spacex drone ship in The case of the much larger first stage, boosters spacex, has developed autonomous spaceport drone ships, asds derived from an ocean going deck barge its outfitted with station keeping engines and a large landing platform and is autonomously controlled when on station for a landing.
Spacex has three operational drone ships. Now they are capable of position. Positioning originally stated to be within three meters or 9.8 feet, even under storm conditions, using gps position, information and four diesel powered azimuth thrusters. In addition to the autonomous operating mode, the ships may also be tele robotically controlled. The asds is a key operational component in spacexs objective to significantly lower the price of space launch services through full and rapid reusability and was developed as part of the multi year. Reusable rocket development program, which spacex undertook to engineer the technology, the landing sequence included three engine burns to slow the rocket upon descent. The third and final burn the landing burn began just before touchdown and provided the booster with a soft descent. Before landing back from the time, spacex has been attempting this revolutionary exercise in the space industry. They also experienced many failed landings and crashes of rocket components. First flight of falcon 9 version 1.0 attempted to recover the first stage by parachuting it into the ocean, but it burned up on re entry before the parachutes even deployed. Other accidents happened due to engine sensor failures, sticky, throttle valves, landing leg, fracture radar, glitch and so on. Finally, spacex team perseverance has paid off in april 2016. The rockets first stage landed smoothly on spacexs autonomous spaceport drone ship at nine minutes after liftoff making this the first successful landing of a rocket booster on a ship at sea from an orbital launch.
Importantly, elon musk. Recently revealed spacexs newest rocket recovery, drone ship, unlike ships. Of course, i still love you and just read the instructions. Musk says the drone ship, a shortfall of gravitas asog, will be truly autonomous in the sense that its been designed to propel itself to and from the recovery area, without the need for a tugboat cornish space offshore. The drone ship asog, unsurprisingly, wont be operated semi autonomously. On its very first recovery mission, its entirely possible that the regulatory side of things in no way optimized for the operation of autonomous civilian ships will have to catch up to spacex before asog is allowed to attempt a falcon booster recovery with no human intervention. Combined with the ships new octograbber robot, the third of its kind, its not inconceivable that asog will one day be capable of sailing several hundred kilometers downrange, holding its position during landing, robotically safeing and securing a landed booster and sailing back to port with zero human intervention. Of course, given that things can always go wrong with systems as complex as falcon boosters and drone ships, spacex will almost certainly have technicians, tailing asog and a support ship for one or several dozen successful missions before ever. Attempting a fully autonomous recovery without a single human safeguard nearby. Ultimately, though, that means spacexs, crs 23 cargo dragon emission could be the first in a long line of careful steps toward a truly autonomous rocket recovery system that might one day save the company millions of dollars per launch, and that concludes todays episode as always thumbs up.
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