SpaceX Falcon Heavy Center Core Booster in Pieces

The SpaceX Falcon Heavy Center Core booster landed safely on the drone-ship but then fell over. It has now returned to dock in pieces. The bottom half is the drone-ship.

SOURCES – SpaceX, Twitter Spacecoast_stve, Tom McCool
Written by Brian Wang

9 thoughts on “SpaceX Falcon Heavy Center Core Booster in Pieces”

  1. Assuming that is true, you could still put shoes on the feet. Another 50 lb on the thing is not going to make much of a difference to cargo capacity. And if one in 20 are lost or damaged because you don’t have this magnetic thing, that is a lot greater loss. They are probably thinking about very expensive fixes like some kind of advanced stabilization for the barge to keep it from rocking so violently. A little steel and electromagnets is comparatively pretty cheap. You could probably get away with one scrap magnet and a steel plate big enough to cover the landing pad. You need a bank of batteries to run it…don’t know if he has any connections there 😉
    The only issue might be what they may have done to reinforce the deck. And the timing of turning the thing on is important. You don’t want to turn it on early. If only 2 feet are down the attraction to the other feet could pull them fast rotating the rocket and slamming it into the water. You want to turn it on the instant all 4 feet are down. That can be done with simple electronics…don’t need an AI or anything. Each foot would have a signal that goes into the plate when contact is made. When all 4 signals are detected the magnet is switched on for a minute. Then it turns off. If contact is lost with one or more of the feet, it is instantly turned back on to pull it that one millimeter. Holds that for a minute again. That way the magnet does not need to stay on. It would only grab it, if it is about to tip.

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  2. Actually, most good SS alloys are “austenitic”, not “ferritic”, which is to say, they’re not ferromagnetic. Just having Iron as the primary constituent of the alloy isn’t enough to make steel magnetic. A lot depends on the crystal structure.

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  3. I did consider that. But I figured either they are, or it would be really easy to put a shoe on them. Also, they have a hydraulic piston which almost certainly is ferromagnetic. Even if that does not make direct contact, there should be plenty of attraction to hold the rocket in place. And even if all of this is wrong, it would be really easy to just replace the bolts with ferromagnetic ones.
    I did a quick search https://www.spacex.com/news/2013/04/12/falcon-heavy-landing-legs
    Though the legs themselves are carbon fiber and aluminum, it appears to me that that hydraulic cilinder is some sort of stainless steal. That should be enough. I don’t think they would use aluminum there. You want a hard smooth surface that is resistant to corrosion. There are other things it could be, but I doubt it is any of these as off the shelf just makes more sense.

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  4. I like it. An array of electromagnets that could identify the location of the leg pads and energize maximally at those locations. Then robotic arms or aerial drones to attach auto tightening restraints. This would secure it in short time before the next swell hit without endangering workers.

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  5. I think the reason the core fell over is that the core segment is not compatible with the large stabilizing arms present on the drone ship. unfortunate oversight but this will get fixed. A good first problem to have when the mission envelope goes off successfully and the engine is recovered for testing, what was lost was mostly tankage and hydraulics. NBD. expected on a small barge when you have big swells.

    failure is the mother of improvement.

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  6. They should use electromagnets to hold the feet (like they use for scrap), then get people to chain it down. As long as it lands fine, and the struts are intact, it should stay there.

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  7. those titanium grid fins aren’t light, that’s probably why the top half snapped off when it fell over (which probably means it half fell overboard, and the motion of rotation at the deck edge cleaved it)

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