Aethon

Blue Origin Thread (merged)

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Elon Musk ‏@elonmusk 8s8 seconds ago

Still working on the Falcon fireball investigation. Turning out to be the most difficult and complex failure we have ever had in 14 years.


Important to note that this happened during a routine filling operation. Engines were not on and there was no apparent heat source.


Support & advice from @NASA, @FAA, @AFPAA & others much appreciated. Please email any recordings of the event toreport@spacex.com.


Particularly trying to understand the quieter bang sound a few seconds before the fireball goes off. May come from rocket or something else.


AJ ‏@ashwin7002 34m34 minutes ago

@elonmusk @NASA @faa @AFPAA there are some videos on YouTube claiming something hit the rocket. Any reality there?


Elon Musk Verified account
‏@elonmusk: 

@ashwin7002 @NASA @faa @AFPAA We have not ruled that out.

If they haven't even ruled that out, it sounds like they've got just about nowhere. This standdown is set to be a long one.

Edited by Kryten

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I know the above quote is pretty messed up, but I can't fix it, there's something wrong with the quote function. I can't edit it, only delete the whole thing.

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Bang sound before the explosion? 

What would happen if a bullet ripped through the fuelline...

It was probably an alien with an alien sniper rifle!

*Puts on tinfoil hat*

 

Edit: Yes bullets from alien sniper rifles are slower than sound!

Edited by Nefrums

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3 hours ago, Kryten said:

I know the above quote is pretty messed up, but I can't fix it, there's something wrong with the quote function. I can't edit it, only delete the whole thing.

Next time just embed the tweets; paste the link and press ENTER. Once it comes up, then submit. Result will look like this:

 

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Wow, I'm amazed that they don't seem to have the slightest clue about what happened. A bang before the explosion could come from anything, including a COPV failure inside the LOX tank, or something snapping. However, their telemetry would have recorded any pressure variations.

LC40 is well inside KSC, with a radius of over 15 km being off-limits to civilians. Sniper rifles typically have a range of 1000m. Breaching several perimeters and trekking 15 km through a swampland that happens to be one of the most heavily restricted and patrolled military areas while carrying a sniper rifle isn't going to be easy... 

Similarly, you would need a pretty heavy drone to be able to fly over 15 km from outside of KSC. Civilian drones have a max range of 1 or 2km. A drone that big couldn't have gone undetected.

So basically, either a sniper or a drone couldn't operate without the USAF being involved, which puts both of those hypotheses seriously into wacky conspiracy territory.

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45 minutes ago, Nibb31 said:

Wow, I'm amazed that they don't seem to have the slightest clue about what happened. A bang before the explosion could come from anything, including a COPV failure inside the LOX tank, or something snapping. However, their telemetry would have recorded any pressure variations.

LC40 is well inside KSC, with a radius of over 15 km being off-limits to civilians. Sniper rifles typically have a range of 1000m. Breaching several perimeters and trekking 15 km through a swampland that happens to be one of the most heavily restricted and patrolled military areas while carrying a sniper rifle isn't going to be easy... 

Similarly, you would need a pretty heavy drone to be able to fly over 15 km from outside of KSC. Civilian drones have a max range of 1 or 2km. A drone that big couldn't have gone undetected.

So basically, either a sniper or a drone couldn't operate without the USAF being involved, which puts both of those hypotheses seriously into wacky conspiracy territory.

Not that I am suggesting a sniper rifle was involved, but the longest known kill shot with a rifle is 2475 meters. (It was immediately repeated by the same sniper killing a second person.)

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I've now had a good look at the planning docs for the CCAFS expansion. LC-36 and LC-11 (which are adjacent to each other) are to be merged into one large complex for launch, integration, engine testing, vehicle refurbishment (both capsule and first stage) and 'spaceflight participant preparations'. Not landing, however; that's to be done on an 'ocean-going platform' 750 nautical miles downrange, off the coast of Carolina. There's no hint of a landing pad in the application that I can see, so it looks like barge landing is the plan for the indefinite future. Landing of their crewed Space Vehicle is to be on land in Texas.

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39 minutes ago, mikegarrison said:

Not that I am suggesting a sniper rifle was involved, but the longest known kill shot with a rifle is 2475 meters. (It was immediately repeated by the same sniper killing a second person.)

Well thats excluding naval artillary with a range of 16 miles or certain 'howitzers' with ranges of 108 miles. lol. Or an meteorite of course could have struck something. Or a wee little person hiding up there who fortuitously chose the wrong time to light up. Dr. Evil was loitering from his supersecret chinese space hideaway and pointed his ultraprecise magnifying glass at the rocket catching the fuel on fire, just and then satiating his satism by killing a few more fire ants on a nearby ant mound.

Reductio ad adsurbum.

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I can't really hear anything out of the ordinary, but I'm probably not qualified enough to tell.

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It's not likely that the sounds he's talking about are the same ones from the public video. What we have was taken about 4km away, and even the explosion sounds muffled; there's no way we'd be able to hear something relatively quiet. The sounds in the vid are probably either ambient sounds from the junkyard area the vid was filmed in, or the sound of the explosion itself transferred through the ground.

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21 minutes ago, PB666 said:

Well thats excluding naval artillary with a range of 16 miles or certain 'howitzers' with ranges of 108 miles. lol. Or an meteorite of course could have struck something. Or a wee little person hiding up there who fortuitously chose the wrong time to light up. Dr. Evil was loitering from his supersecret chinese space hideaway and pointed his ultraprecise magnifying glass at the rocket catching the fuel on fire, just and then satiating his satism by killing a few more fire ants on a nearby ant mound.

Reductio ad adsurbum.

C'mon you guys, seriously. Knock this crap off. We've been down this road before. 

We all KNOW it was the Kraken!

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Expecting the Martian Colonial Transporter presentation, the Martians undertake despair attempts to prevent the invasion of Terrans.

P.S.
If something sounds like a shot, it can be just a fuse bolt.
Or a demolition charge.

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2 hours ago, Nibb31 said:

Wow, I'm amazed that they don't seem to have the slightest clue about what happened. A bang before the explosion could come from anything, including a COPV failure inside the LOX tank, or something snapping. However, their telemetry would have recorded any pressure variations.

"Not telling us anything" != " they don't the slightest clue about what happened".

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2 hours ago, DerekL1963 said:

"Not telling us anything" != " they don't the slightest clue about what happened".

Yeah, but the plea for recordings on twitter does sound a bit desperate. You would think that they would have cameras pointed at every inch of the rocket as well as all the telemetry they would need. It looks like they are stumped.

Edited by Nibb31

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I'm with Nibb31 on this, I've been following the discussions on NSF (including L2) since the accident, and the recent tweets have few ways to be read other than bafflement at the cause. They might well have ruled out broad areas of concern (perhaps even stage 2 itself) due to telemetry, but if it's a GSE issue of entirely unknown origin, that's fairly crippling for any return to flight in the near future.

Honestly, my reaction to the "popping" audio was to assume it was someone near the camera interacting with a truck or car. Thinking it might be more shows a lack of real data, IMO. You'd think they'd want to give the impression they have a handle on it, not tweet stuff that makes it look like they have nothing (then again, maybe Shotwell is now thinking her boss needs a handler :wink: ).

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Video from any another camera would enlighten a lot. Both "anomaly" exact place and pop sound distance/location.
Unlikely they had only one.

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2 hours ago, kerbiloid said:

Video from any another camera would enlighten a lot. Both "anomaly" exact place and pop sound distance/location.
Unlikely they had only one.

I would expect they had many cameras on the pad and the vehicle. That does not mean they had many microphones.

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14 hours ago, kerbiloid said:

You're lucky your mower does use neither hydrazine, nor liquid oxygen... doesn't?

That information is classified.

11 hours ago, Streetwind said:

If it does, I want pictures. :o

Image result for rocket powered lawn mower
^^^Not mine. Someone built it, though...

On a more relevant note, Wow. The whole twitter thing. When you're at school for the first half of the day, you tend to miss stuff. :D

Maybe something happened to the telemetry recorders, which is why they are looking to the public. (Did someone run RM*?) Or maybe they aren't turned on at that point.
 

 

 

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3 hours ago, Nibb31 said:

Yeah, but the plea for recordings on twitter does sound a bit desperate. You would think that they would have cameras pointed at every inch of the rocket as well as all the telemetry they would need. It looks like they are stumped.

How is this desperate? It seems quite prudent to me. On the pad is one of the few scenarios where us "civilians" might actually have something useful to pass on. Everyone and their brother has a camera these days, and even "cheap" ones are quite good. There's a significant probability that a casual videographer might somehow have filmed something SpaceX missed. 

Contrast this with the previous failure, where the rocket was several miles up and going faster than the speed of sound, making it extremely difficult for anyone but professionals and extreme enthusiasts to track, and therefore, far less likely they got the magic shot. 

 

And either way, we, the civilians, really and truly know absolutely nothing at this point. All we can do is assume, and you know what they say about what "assume" makes of U and ME.

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It's desperate in the sense that they seem to now be relying on amateur footage from miles away to find the cause of the mishap, while they  should have actual close-up footage and telemetry. They supposedly have data from instruments (including accelerometer data, pressure sensors, valve positions, etc...), on board the rocket and GSE, as well as their own cameras, and monitoring equipment from CCAFS (including sismological and meterological data, radar...). Unless maybe that is another area where they cut corners to save money, and don't record data for tests, only for launches...

The fact that the data they have isn't helping them figure out what happened when an anomaly did occur makes you wonder what use there is to actually do these static-tests in the first place.

Edited by Nibb31

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14 minutes ago, Nibb31 said:

It's desperate in the sense that they seem to now be relying on amateur footage from miles away to find the cause of the mishap, while they  should have actual close-up footage and telemetry. They supposedly have data from instruments (including accelerometer data, pressure sensors, valve positions, etc...), on board the rocket and GSE, as well as their own cameras. Unless maybe that is another area where they cut corners to save money, and don't record data for tests, only for launches...

The fact that the data they have isn't helping them figure out what happened when an anomaly did occur makes you wonder what use there is to actually live-test the rocket at all.

Well, it says 'this seems to be the first time anything like this has happened, and even the most remotely similar failure in the US happened 58 years ago'. This is something at the end of the bellcurve for bellcurves, an event rare enough that everybody looking at it can't figure out what the hell happened yet.

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Without implying anything, but i would ask for information from outside if i couldn't exclude an outside cause, even if the chance to get additional info is low. With outside i mean a cause that wasn't covered by sensors and cameras.

Or if parts of information was lost during the "anomaly".

 

Edited by Green Baron

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2 hours ago, CptRichardson said:

Well, it says 'this seems to be the first time anything like this has happened, and even the most remotely similar failure in the US happened 58 years ago'. This is something at the end of the bellcurve for bellcurves, an event rare enough that everybody looking at it can't figure out what the hell happened yet.

What was the event 58 years ago?
The purpose of an life fire test is to check that the engines and their system works well. They might not use launch telemetry but it would be weird if its not all running just to see that it works. 
I have an feeling this is an oxygen leak, would the oxygen tube in detect an leak? Could it be an internal leak in the rocket, as they are pumping oxygen in an smaller leak would be hard to detect. 

 

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18 minutes ago, magnemoe said:

The purpose of an life fire test is to check that the engines and their system works well.

As every such test subjects the engine, especially turbopump, and rocket structural components, to extreme stress (notice that the engine lifetime is up to dozens minutes or so), such fire tests looks like:

A tourist prepares for a camping trip. Keeps in hand a box of matches, takes them out one by one and tries to fire.
(Scratch. Throws away. ) "A bad one."
(Scratch. Throws away.) "A bad one."
(Scratch. Pshh. Fire. Chokes the fire, puts the dead match back into the box.) "A good one."

Edited by kerbiloid

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48 minutes ago, magnemoe said:

I have an feeling this is an oxygen leak, would the oxygen tube in detect an leak? Could it be an internal leak in the rocket, as they are pumping oxygen in an smaller leak would be hard to detect. 

A leak would be detected by a pressure differential, volume pumped wouldn't match volume in the tank, etc...

To get a fireball, you would need two leaks. LOX alone doesn't combust.

34 minutes ago, kerbiloid said:

As every such test subjects the engine, especially turbopump, and rocket structural components, to extreme stress (notice that the engine lifetime is up to dozens minutes or so), such fire tests looks like:

F9 is supposed to be reusable. The Merlin engines are supposed to be rated for over 50 burns.

Not applicable in this time, because the Merlins didn't even get lighted.

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