View Full Version : SpaceX Adopts Lessons Learned From Multiple Booster Landings – Test Fires Recovered 1

2016-Jul-31, 04:11 AM
KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, FL - SpaceX founder Elon Musk’s daring dream of rocket recycling and reusability is getting closer and closer to reality with each passing day. After a breathtaking series of experimental flight tests aimed at safely landing the firms spent Falcon 9 first stages on land and at sea over the past half year the bold effort achieved a major milestone by just completing the first full duration test firing of one of the landed boosters.
On Thursday, July 28, SpaceX engineers successful conducted a full duration engine test firing of a recovered Falcon 9 first stage booster at the company’s rocket development test facility in McGregor, Texas.
“We learned a lot … from the landings”, Hans Koenigsmann, SpaceX vice president of Flight Reliability, told Universe Today during the recent media briefings for the SpaceX CRS-9 space station cargo resupply launch on July 18.
“The key thing is to protect the engines,” Koenigsmann elaborated, while they are in flight and “during reentry”.
The SpaceX team has been perfecting the landing techniques by adopting lessons learned after each landing attempt.
The SpaceX Falcon 9 first stage is outfitted with four landing legs at the base and four grid fins at the top to conduct the landing attempts.
“In general I think the landing concept with the legs, and the number of burns and the way we perform those seems to work OK,” Koenigsmann told Universe Today.
The July 28 test firing involved igniting all nine used first stage Merlin 1 D engines housed at the base of a used landed rocket.
Watch the engine test in this SpaceX video:
Video Caption: Falcon 9 first stage from May 2016 JCSAT mission was test fired, full duration, at SpaceX’s McGregor, Texas rocket development facility on July 28, 2016. Credit: SpaceX
The used 15 story Falcon booster had successfully carried out an intact soft landing on an ocean going platform after launching a Japanese commercial telecommunications satellite only two months ago on May 6 of this year.
Just 10 minutes after launching the JCSAT-14 telecom satellite, the used first stage relit a first stage Merlin 1 D engine. It conducted a series of three recovery burns to maneuver the rocket to a designated landing spot at sea or on land and decelerate it for a propulsive soft landing, intact and upright using a quartet of landing legs that deploy in the final moments before touchdown.
Altogether SpaceX has successfully landed and recovered five of their first stage Falcon 9 boosters intact and upright since the history making first ever land landing took place just seven months ago in December 2015 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.
The most recent land and landing attempt occurred last week on July 18, 2016 during the SpaceX CRS-9 commercial cargo resupply mission under contract for NASA.
Following each Falcon 9 launch and landing attempt, SpaceX engineers assess the voluminous and priceless data gathered, analyze the outcome and adopt the lessons learned.
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2016-Jul-31, 12:04 PM
Way to go SpaceX!