According to a Video: Even with the cosmic dust after SpaceX launched the world’s largest and most powerful rocket; What is the real damage on Stage Zero of Starbase, and what needs to be done before the next Orbital Flight Test.
You’d think that all of it would be enough today, but SpaceX certainly doesn’t disappoint as it continues to launch Falcon 9s throughout the week. Also iSpace’s HAKUTO-R mission attempted to land on the Moon during the week.
There are so many things to dive into! Today we’re going to talk about the pitfalls that came to light after everyone went back to the starbase. Check it out! Right here, next to the booster, a huge piece of concrete is flying. I think everyone can breathe a sigh of relief that no such debris hit the rocket itself! It would have made for a very short flight.
But see here the damage that is visible in these pictures. SpaceX had quite a RUD, or in this case there was a lot of unscheduled digging going on. The exhaust was so strong that it stripped one of the cross-sections of the hexagonal foundation even down to bare rebar.
This is what it looked like during construction in 2020 vs now. All this debris was just flying everywhere. And as Elon said, let’s hope it doesn’t gronk the launchmount! So as might be expected, the pad was off-limits to any crew for a while while things were being properly secured.
There were initially some rumors that SpaceX had lost complete control of the orbital launch mount. Something that matches up somewhat with this pulsed exhaust going on here. The first crew later made their way towards the launch site.
And you can see them dodging all the debris on the highway to make their way to the generator. Interestingly, today the launch site is not connected to any power grid, so SpaceX needs to use these generators for all electrics.
In this case they probably needed to get there quickly to top it up with fuel. Crews slowly made their way through the evening clearing debris all over the highway. Be aware that up to this point the road and beach were still completely closed.
On Saturday afternoon the media were finally allowed to get out their remote cameras, and oh boy, did they have a blast. Take this shot from LabPadre, for example, that’s where the NASASpaceFlight vehicle is hitting a piece of concrete straight up.
Most if not all of the remotes suffered a fairly disastrous fate, but not before capturing some stunning imagery! SpaceX sure has been feeding off some awesome shots since the big event. The color of the exhaust at this point in liftoff, shown here beautifully in this photo! really love that shot.
I think the one uploaded by labpadre is another unique one, and this shot taken by Trevor Mahlman is just crazy. Take a look at Shockwave and how dynamic its interaction with Plum is. If you haven’t seen it yet, you might want to watch the full video, because it was insane.
Anyway, once the media retrieved their cameras from the outside parking lot, the road was fully reopened, but with a slight hitch. The road right next to the Orbital Tank Farm was closed, so everyone needed to go straight to the dunes.
Starship Gazer and RGV Aerial Photography were both among the major investigators. Let’s start with the first launch tower! Overall the tower arms look really great, apart from some minor damage to the pads here and there.
They also look pretty decent considering the stabilization arms. Even the cameras on the ends. The ship quick disconnect also looked pretty cool. None of the electrical connections appear to be frayed or frayed.
This is all great news! However, near and below the drawworks hoist system at the base of the tower, things weren’t looking so wonderful. In fact it looks like this side wall was completely torn to pieces.
All the debris that flew inside. Some of those fragments even tried to go back inside, clearly visible by these dents in the door and one of the shielding sections. It really puts it into perspective how fast this wreck was moving! However, the interior was damaged.
Will the hoist still work? Well, once Monday rolled around the chopsticks went right back towards their resting position at the base of the launch tower, so, I think it’s safe to say that any damage is minimal.
At the orbital launch mount and pad, that’s where the bulk of the damage has happened. Where did all this debris come from? It became clear in no time. SpaceX will have a very hard time verifying whether all the footings are still structurally sound.
Particularly important here as it appears that the main stacks of both legs have been exposed. And yes, your eyes are not deceiving you here. This little extension of shielding that we’ve affectionately started calling the doghouse isn’t completely horizontal anymore.
That unscheduled excavation furthered that preservation. Most of the cryogenic pipes on the bottom will need checking, and I’m sure at least a few will be replaced. Around the wider area, new concrete would need to be recast as here too it had lost its load.
Some of it also ended up in high-pressure tanks, and even further out on Highway 4. Interestingly, at a glance, the launch mount itself doesn’t look too bad. There is clearly damage, but that newly installed exterior shielding looks great.
Cryogenic pipelines here may have had their share of damage, of course some new insulation will have to be reinstalled. Some small pipes, such as the one supplying gaseous nitrogen to the nozzles of the fire suppression system, were completely torn, and electrical wires were left hanging.
Overall though, it’s amazing how cool it looks considering the huge concrete blasts going on beneath it. Now the story on the other side of that shielding where all the control circuitry and hardware is located may be different. We can’t see a warning of over-speculation here.
I think judging from the fact that one of the two blast doors detonated, the pressure inside was probably quite significant. Yes, here it was outside in the grass. They won’t be using that one again! But what about this concrete!? He was something else entirely.
Pieces of all sizes spinning away from the pad base at tremendous speed. Just look at these huge boulders of concrete scattered across the mud plains in the distance. It really puts into perspective how much power we were talking about here. The big question in my mind was vertical tank farm.
After launch, it appeared that there was a small leak in the liquid oxygen shell. The damage done to their exterior is quite deep. Thankfully, most of these tanks are not that important right now. This is the water tank here.
And had pretty messy luck for a while with previous patch ups and leak repairs. He probably needed to change anyway. It looks like a solid pepper with a bunch of holes in all four tanks here.
Although non-water tanks have tanks inside, it is difficult to know how they are vented internally. It will be interesting to see if just the outer shells need to be replaced or if they will somehow eliminate the need to replace entire units.
The cryostation on the orbital berm has taken quite a bit of damage, however the new Massey site is up and running, cryogenic testing for ships, and hopefully soon the boosters will be here anyway! The long and short of the damage report is that SpaceX would really need to include some sort of pad upgrade.
A flame diverter and water deluge system that we’ve been talking about for over a year now. As some of you may remember, we shipped parts over here from Florida, and made a lot of new parts. Elon Musk finally tweeted some insight into the situation, saying that SpaceX began manufacturing a massive water-cooled, steel plate three months ago to go under the launch mount.
But it was not ready in time for launch. Based on previous static fire data, SpaceX thought the new foundation should hold concrete. Looks like that question has been answered.
Fun Chat That One and the link is in the description below. It really has been a fun week of SpaceX launches. Falcon 9 Booster 1061 completed its 13 successful launches and landings, making it 1 of only 5 boosters to achieve such a feat.
The record is currently 15, so this is a very popular booster. It made its name when it carried Crew-1 and Crew-2 to the International Space Station. This time, however, 46 Version 1.5 satellites were headed to Group 3 from Space Launch Complex-4E at the Vandenberg Space Force.
We haven’t really seen a Group 3 launch for ages. They are slated to be scrapped in August 2022 after only 4 flights. They don’t need too many satellites in this orbit. This is because Shell provides coverage in 3 polar regions. This shell is located at the same 560 km altitude, but is instead at an inclination of 97.6°.
The vast majority of Starlink satellites sit at an inclination of 53 degrees, so it’s quite different. There was stage separation, and the booster course for this mission was back on the deck of the drone ship of I Still Love You. The entanglement burns its way out there and through the atmosphere.
Another successful touch down and a blast of dragon fire right there. Seemed a bit unusual, but don’t think it was a problem. Another successful launch and landing from Vandenberg. What you may not know is that the pace at which SpaceX launches in this area could soon get even more insane.
Have you seen this news? Yes! SpaceX is now getting a second launch pad at Vandenberg Space Force Base after being approved to lease Space Launch Complex 6. The same historic site was used by United Launch Alliance.
ULA launched the last Delta IV Heavy from Vandenberg last September, now Falcon will handle this stage. Presumably being built to support both the Falcon Heavy and the Falcon 9. United Launch Alliance is actually going to consolidate West Coast launch operations for the new Vulcan Centaur rocket at Space Launch Complex 3.
The same launch complex was used in the final Atlas V launch from Vandenberg. at the end of last year. More Falcon 9 action over the past few days with SpaceX flying the O3b mPower 3 and 4. Place!? Space Launch Complex 40 from Cape Canaveral. These two communications satellites are actually a lot more interesting than you might think.
Here we have stage separation and the second stage continues to push the satellites into space. His final destination? A medium Earth orbit. This class type has a really quite arbitrary definition. You hear us talking about low Earth orbit at that time.
It’s actually almost anything less than 2,000 kilometers. From there it is classified as medium Earth orbit until you reach a geostationary altitude of less than 35,800 km. Instead, these satellites will sit at a distance of about 8,000 km. You get a really nice balance of good coverage here.
You have slightly faster communication times in low Earth orbit, but it’s busier up here, and you’re still battling some small atmospheric pressure over time. Starlink satellites cover less area, and will only last about 5 years or so.
The O3b mPower being above 8,000 km has almost no drag. And each unit can cover more area. High enough to reach 96% of Earth. Communication time, also quite decent. Instead of needing them to cover the orbit with hundreds of satellites, this network only needs 11 big high-powered beasts.
Very large units as you can see from their construction shown by Boeing. I believe they only need 6 of them too. 11 would be just for the extra bandwidth and redundancy. SpaceX’s booster definitely did the long coast burn for re-entry.
Shouted back into the atmosphere, and just read the instructions for landing on the drone ship. Meanwhile, we were waiting for the satellite deployment from the second phase. Sadly, no view of the deployment was obscured by the camera view, but the successful deployment of both was confirmed in the stream.
Launching with that mission, we looked forward to the ViaSat 3 expandable Falcon Heavy launch. Sadly it was cleared in T-59 seconds, so it was pushed back. Keep your eyes out for this one. It should be an exciting mission.
Because of your health, it’s AG1. In the life that I live making videos indoors it is easy to become deficient in important vitamins and minerals. During the short days of winter in Tasmania, I barely get to see any sunlight.
To counteract this, I usually take vitamin D supplements, in particular, as part of my daily routine. How many other vitamins and minerals are generally missing from my diet!? Ahh, who has time to work?
Well, drinking AG1 lets me hit the ground running without having to take a bunch of different supplements. Since using this, I have to say, I am very impressed. Mix one scoop of AG1 in water, and drink it as part of your morning routine.
Sadly, after attempting to land on the Moon’s surface this week, communications were lost in the final stages of descent. After hours of hard work, iSpace released a statement telling us that their 9th milestone of landing on the Moon and establishing communications was no longer achievable.
As stated, Engineers monitored that the estimated remaining propellant had reached the lower limit, and immediately thereafter the descent speed increased rapidly. Thereafter, communication broke down and So yes, a hard landing on the surface of the Moon was the result there.
Now, I just want to emphasize this. It is so common for news sources to immediately publish headlines in a negative way. Bad news sells, doesn’t it? But I want to congratulate iSpace for their transparency, and of course for successfully completing 8 out of 10 milestones of this mission, preparing for launch, orbital maneuvers and all necessary controls to enter lunar orbit is in.
It’s a big deal on all first tries. Through it all, their Mission Control Center has gained valuable data and information that is surely going to give them a better chance in future lunar landing missions. Don’t forget, this was the first private spacecraft to soft-land on the Moon, which also aimed to be Japanese-built.
No small feat! For now though iSpace plans to use the data and knowledge gained in Mission 2 to improve the design. Hopefully there is still Mission 3 coming in 2024 and again in 2025. However, this is one giant leap for the private sector to be able to explore.