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Thread: We Now Know Why SpaceX Falcon Heavy's Core Booster Failed to Land

  1. #1
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    Default We Now Know Why SpaceX Falcon Heavy's Core Booster Failed to Land

    We Now Know Why SpaceX Falcon Heavy's Core Booster Failed to Land (ARTICLE LINK)



    Image: Boosters landing back at The Cape. It never gets old.
    SpaceX/YouTube


    Excerpt
    A week after the successful launch of the Falcon Heavy, the most powerful rocket ever built, SpaceX has analysed what went wrong, and Elon Musk has taken to Twitter to explain why the core booster did not land as it was supposed to.

    The simultaneous landing of Falcon Heavy's two side boosters was like a finely choreographed work of art, as they gently touched down in tandem on landing pads at Cape Canaveral.

    But the main core booster, supposed to land on offshore drone ship Of Course I Still Love You, missed its target by 100 metres (328 feet) because two of its three engines had failed to fire.

    It landed in the Atlantic Ocean at a speed of 484 kilometres (300 miles) per hour, the impact of which damaged two of the drone ship's thrusters.

    On Twitter, Musk explained that the problem was a shortage of ignition fluid.

    "Not enough ignition fluid to light the outer two engines after several three engine relights," he explained. "Fix is pretty obvious."

    He didn't elaborate, but the most obvious solution is more ignition fluid.

    The explanation was one of two very interesting conversations in which Musk was participating earlier this week. In the other, he revealed that SpaceX is adding a third drone ship to its fleet of autonomous ocean landing barges.
    #include [std-disclaimer]

    Hope the voyage is a long one.
    May there be many a summer morning when,
    with what pleasure, what joy,
    you come into harbors seen for the first time...

    Ithaka, by Cavafy
    (Keeley - Sherrard translation)

  2. #2
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    Default Re: We Now Know Why SpaceX Falcon Heavy's Core Booster Failed to Land

    Wait, his ships are named after ships in Iain M. Banks' Culture novels?!

    I love this even more now.

    What are you doing about it?




  3. #3
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    Default Re: We Now Know Why SpaceX Falcon Heavy's Core Booster Failed to Land

    I am extremely impressed with Space-X, but am becoming very conflicted about Elon Musk. A long time critic of the Tesla business model, but with SpaceX he is disrupting an industry that sorely needs disrupted. But I until recently I haven't really held the Tesla slow-motion train wreck against him. Last week, when wanting to comment on Norman's post about the man I had to do a quick lookup of a couple of facts, and I came across an article about Tesla's quarterly conference call last week. The article was very critical, so I went back and read the transcript. Ok, I knew he had oversold the Tesla story to investors for a long time, but I was still completely shocked about the quarterly conference call. He was so smug and disingenuous. And the pie in the sky comments that he made that had absolutely nothing to add but to deflect criticism and play up him being this great visionary. And I was even more shocked about how the wall street analyst let him get away with it. I have read countless quarterly corporate conference call transcripts through the years and I have never seen anything like this.

    Here are some of the absurd comments
    "So I'm hopeful that people think that if we can send a Roadster to the asteroid belt, we could probably solve Model 3 production".

    No one challenged him on SpaceX being a different company than Tesla, with only him as a common resource.

    On commenting on bringing the S3 production numbers up :

    Yes. We expect the new automated lines to arrive next month in March, and then it's already - it's been - it's working in Germany. So, that's got to be disassembled, brought over to the Gigafactory, and re-assembled and then brought into operation at the Gigafactory. It's not a question of whether it works or not. It's just a question of disassembly, transport, and reassembly.
    So they don't even have the factory in place now, that they needed to make last quarters production numbers and it will be in place by the end of March and all of this will make the next quarter work. Can't be done.

    At one point he is talking upgrading his factories so they can produce more than Toyota (I think that is who owned his existing factory) did in the same plant:

    "Look, we use the Hyperloop for that. ..... We are looking at building tunnels, using The Boring Company's thing (56:04), because we have, for example, our seats production is at a separate building on Page. And we have a bunch of trucks moving seats back and forth between both the primary Fremont production and the seat factory..."

    He cannot get his factory up to a fraction of the output that other car companies can when rolling out a new model, so he starts talking about using new and unproven technology from his other companies. You cannot make this stuff up.

    Or how about this one: he wants to make the case that other car companies don't know how to efficiently manufacture cars so he makes up an entirely new metric that has little or no bearing on the issue:

    "I went through this math I think on a prior earnings call, but like it sounds like some of the fastest car factories produce a car maybe every 25 seconds. That sounds fast. But if you think of a 5-meter long car, including gap, and a 4.5 meter car with a half meter gap or something, that's only 0.2 meters per second. Like grandma with a walker can exceed the speed of the fastest production line we're in, so really no that fast. Walking speed is one meter per second, so five times faster than the fastest production line on earth.

    "Why shouldn't it at least be jogging speed? I mean in the limit, companies should start caring about the aero drag in the factory, which that's maybe around 20 miles or 30 miles an hour, or call it 30 kilometers an hour, 40 kilometers an hour. It's like, stuff should be moving at that speed....
    Why shouldn't it at least be jogging speed? I mean in the limit, companies should start caring about the aero drag in the factory, which that's maybe around 20 miles or 30 miles an hour, or call it 30 kilometers an hour, 40 kilometers an hour. It's like, stuff should be moving at that speed."

    I am all for thinking outside the box, but this is from company who is producing cars at a rate of less than 10% of its projected numbers, and has NEVER met any of its production promises on any model. And he is trying to say other manufacturers don't know what they are doing, when they happen to make their production forecasts quite regularly.

    That was the first conference call of TSLA I had read, I literally did not expect that. It is beyond being a snake-oil salesman. It is Wall Street fraud, plain and simple. It is time to call Tesla what it is : a Ponzi scheme with full backing by Wall Street.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: We Now Know Why SpaceX Falcon Heavy's Core Booster Failed to Land

    Falcon Heavy is not the 'most powerful rocket ever built' as the link in the OP claims. It's the fourth most powerful. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Falcon_Heavy

    It may be the most powerful rocket in use today however.
    If I had a dollar for every girl who found me unattractive, eventually they would find me attractive.

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    Default Re: We Now Know Why SpaceX Falcon Heavy's Core Booster Failed to Land

    ^ SpaceX is very careful to qualify that the Falcon Heavy is currently in possession of that distinction, the general press, not so much.
    Nosce te ipsum

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    Default Re: We Now Know Why SpaceX Falcon Heavy's Core Booster Failed to Land

    Quote Originally Posted by peb View Post
    That was the first conference call of TSLA I had read, I literally did not expect that. It is beyond being a snake-oil salesman. It is Wall Street fraud, plain and simple. It is time to call Tesla what it is : a Ponzi scheme with full backing by Wall Street.
    This is the core of TSLA as an investment. They keep promising things they have no chance in hell of delivering when they say they will and they have to know it when they are saying Big engineering development projects are hard nobody should expect it accurate to the month or quarter. But knowing you'll be at least close to meeting your quarterly production goals is something you know mid-way through, or even before the quarter starts, if you are a well run manufacturer.

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    Default Re: We Now Know Why SpaceX Falcon Heavy's Core Booster Failed to Land

    Quote Originally Posted by Hugh Conway View Post
    This is the core of TSLA as an investment. They keep promising things they have no chance in hell of delivering when they say they will and they have to know it when they are saying Big engineering development projects are hard nobody should expect it accurate to the month or quarter. But knowing you'll be at least close to meeting your quarterly production goals is something you know mid-way through, or even before the quarter starts, if you are a well run manufacturer.
    I agree, and I have both been part of and heard other companies make "optimistic" promises on bringing products to market. Everyone does that (but the automobile industry does it less than technology companies), and everyone investing should expect that: the company's projections are optimistic with regards to new products coming on line. But TSLA is not just being optimistic, they are being untruthful. They knew good and well six months ago how late the S3 production would be, but kept spouting the same line. On top of that, and this is the key difference: most companies will tout new products optimistically but not include those in their quarter to quarter revenue and profit estimates. Its almost always "this is our product X schedule, and we expect deliveries in the 2nd quarter, but our second quarter estimates do not rely on that". There is typically a rule of thumb with Wall Street analysts: when you make projections: under promise and over deliver.
    Tesla does not even consider that.

    I will make this prediction: when Tesla inevitably goes TU (defined as a major corporate reorganization that leaves holders of common shares practically empty handed), we will read over and over again these same folks mocking some of Musk's absurd statements in these calls. Examples: they are going to use hyperloop tunnels to deliver parts between their factories and how they are going to move cars through a production line at 20 miles per hour. Again, you cannot make this stuff up.

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