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That was something like the vision that popped into my mind when I first heard about this. They are going to need the equivalent of a giant robot arm mounted on the tower that can move fast, reach in or out, left or right, and position a position a C-shaped 'hand' under the grid fins. What big structures do we have that can move fast like that?

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1 hour ago, Brotoro said:

That was something like the vision that popped into my mind when I first heard about this. They are going to need the equivalent of a giant robot arm mounted on the tower that can move fast, reach in or out, left or right, and position a position a C-shaped 'hand' under the grid fins. What big structures do we have that can move fast like that?

I don't think it'll need to be particularly fast-moving. Here's my idea of what it'll look like:

4wzWTTA.png

Essentially, Super Heavy could be caught using a large ring-shaped crane structure which would have freedom of motion in all axes. This would allow the booster to land with a couple of metres of error and then be lowered precisely back into the launch mount. This crane would run on a track attached to the vertical launch tower, allowing it to place the booster on the launch mount and then move to the bottom of the tower to allow the grid fins to retract and another launch to take place.

It really seems like SpaceX wants Super Heavy to be an extension of the launch pad, boosting Starships part of the way into orbit before returning for almost immediate reuse.

Edited by RealKerbal3x
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7 hours ago, Brotoro said:

What big structures do we have that can move fast like that?

Didn't you watch the Cloverfield?

<snip>

 

I have weird feelings about the SpaceX biological dept

Spoiler

images?q=tbn:ANd9GcQDBEdsuKaDg1SIrTg44GV

but feel impressed by their future plans

Spoiler

 




 

Edited by Geonovast
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4 hours ago, RealKerbal3x said:

 

Better but don't see the point of the wires, simply have the U claw attached to the tower with option to rotate and move a bit out and inn. Yes they give some flex but better to build that into the hooks and the claw to tower mounting. Still an stupid idea. Yes superheavy has lifting lugs who is probably near the grind fins for lifting it but gentle lifting and catching is two different things. 

Now the only rationalization for this might be if they go for the offshore pad you don't need an landing pad for superheavy, the crane grabs it over water. 
On the other hand you miss a bit and you hit the tower and the complex claw, the tower who also is your launch tower. 
An landing pad on the other hand is an very simple structure so hard to damage and easy to repair. 

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11 hours ago, kerbiloid said:

Didn't you watch the Cloverfield?

<snip>

 

I have weird feelings about the SpaceX biological dept

  Hide contents

images?q=tbn:ANd9GcQDBEdsuKaDg1SIrTg44GV

but feel impressed by their future plans

  Hide contents

 




 

Giant monster movies are all the rage.  Too bad our planet is too small and dense to support such life.

(Blue whales are only about 9 storeys in length, and weigh abt. 100 tons)

 

Far more dangerous is the swarm of little fast moving buggers:

<snip>

 

 

Edited by Geonovast
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I'm thinking something like this would be most structurally stable. I don't think I've ever seen a piston that big, so you might have it actually move with cables, but you can still provide the normal force against the ground like this.

GU0j2CR.png

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28 minutes ago, cubinator said:

I'm thinking something like this would be most structurally stable. I don't think I've ever seen a piston that big, so you might have it actually move with cables, but you can still provide the normal force against the ground like this.

GU0j2CR.png

Why not just use a hinged tower like Electron uses at launch?  Keep your pistons - but hinge the bottom of the legs and have the two sides come together to catch each other and support the fins.

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2 hours ago, cubinator said:

I'm thinking something like this would be most structurally stable. I don't think I've ever seen a piston that big, so you might have it actually move with cables, but you can still provide the normal force against the ground like this.

I wonder if it could really be just this simple. We keep comparing Superheavy to F9, but it can do one thing F9 cannot, which makes all the difference: hover. That’s going to allow incredible accuracy, no need for complex moving booster-grabbers (the best part is no part), just a great big shock absorber. Thinking that further, SpaceX already uses Tesla technology, they could conceivably borrow from the latter’s guidance and machine learning systems and land the SH visually, using cameras (among other sensors). If the algorithm can keep a Model X between the lines, threading a needle with a Superheavy should be comparatively easy, they could even cover the launch/landing stand with high-contrast markers, kinda like motion-capture rigs, no need to adapt the system to existing roadways, after all. Now, say, combine that with Starship hot-gas thrusters for translation control without gimballing and tilting the booster, then a setup like what @cubinator and @RealKerbal3x mentioned above seems pretty plausible. Might even be able to be retrofitted to the existing launch structure in Boca. 

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2 minutes ago, CatastrophicFailure said:

I wonder if it could really be just this simple. We keep comparing Superheavy to F9, but it can do one thing F9 cannot, which makes all the difference: hover. That’s going to allow incredible accuracy, no need for complex moving booster-grabbers (the best part is no part), just a great big shock absorber. Thinking that further, SpaceX already uses Tesla technology, they could conceivably borrow from the latter’s guidance and machine learning systems and land the SH visually, using cameras (among other sensors). If the algorithm can keep a Model X between the lines, threading a needle with a Superheavy should be comparatively easy, they could even cover the launch/landing stand with high-contrast markers, kinda like motion-capture rigs, no need to adapt the system to existing roadways, after all. Now, say, combine that with Starship hot-gas thrusters for translation control without gimballing and tilting the booster, then a setup like what @cubinator and @RealKerbal3x mentioned above seems pretty plausible. Might even be able to be retrofitted to the existing launch structure in Boca. 

I think @cubinator's idea would have the best structural stability but unless I'm misinterpreting the scale of his diagram I doubt there's enough space around the launch structure currently under construction for it to fit. And now that I think of it, two retractable arms that can swing into place around the booster (like those on the F9 and Electron strongbacks) is better than the ring design I suggested as Super Heavy doesn't have to 'thread the needle', so to speak.

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4 minutes ago, RealKerbal3x said:

I think @cubinator's idea would have the best structural stability but unless I'm misinterpreting the scale of his diagram I doubt there's enough space around the launch structure currently under construction for it to fit. And now that I think of it, two retractable arms that can swing into place around the booster (like those on the F9 and Electron strongbacks) is better than the ring design I suggested as Super Heavy doesn't have to 'thread the needle', so to speak.

Scale of the supports is slightly exaggerated. There could be three or four of them if needed, which would translate and lower the rocket onto the launch clamps after the landing.

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25 minutes ago, RealKerbal3x said:

I think @cubinator's idea would have the best structural stability but unless I'm misinterpreting the scale of his diagram I doubt there's enough space around the launch structure currently under construction for it to fit. And now that I think of it, two retractable arms that can swing into place around the booster (like those on the F9 and Electron strongbacks) is better than the ring design I suggested as Super Heavy doesn't have to 'thread the needle', so to speak.

So, the question is, which is mechanically and engineeringly easier and more reliable? Threading the needle or giant booster huggers? :P The actual answer will probably surprise, or be Option C... just a few years ago no one would have suspected a stainless steel rocket built in a field, either. 

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1 minute ago, CatastrophicFailure said:

So, the question is, which is mechanically and engineeringly easier and more reliable? Threading the needle or giant booster huggers? :P The actual answer will probably surprise, or be Option C... just a few years ago no one would have suspected a stainless steel rocket built in a field, either. 

This whole 'catching the booster' thing sounds silly but this is the same company that has done the impossible several times. They'll figure out the best way to do it, and none of us will have predicted it :P

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23 minutes ago, CatastrophicFailure said:

just a few years ago no one would have suspected a stainless steel rocket built in a field, either. 

I'll point out that the idea for steel rockets built like that go back at least as far as the "big dumb boosters" of the 1950s. The idea isn't quite the same, because BDBs were intended to be cheap throwaway designs rather than reusuable high-technology rockets, but I guess I'm just baffled by the people who are impressed with SpaceX welding up rockets in the open air. Ships have been built that way basically forever.

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9 minutes ago, mikegarrison said:

but I guess I'm just baffled by the people who are impressed with SpaceX welding up rockets in the open air. Ships have been built that way basically forever.

Not planetships, until now.

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31 minutes ago, mikegarrison said:

I guess I'm just baffled by the people who are impressed with SpaceX welding up rockets in the open air. Ships have been built that way basically forever.

A sort of culture shock, I think. We’re all used to seeing rockets assembled in clean rooms or at least very clean indoor factories, they “seem” such fragile, high-precision things. There is absolutely logic to building a steel rocket not that different from a steel ship, but it’s a mental gear-shift for sure. 

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20 minutes ago, CatastrophicFailure said:

A sort of culture shock, I think. We’re all used to seeing rockets assembled in clean rooms or at least very clean indoor factories, they “seem” such fragile, high-precision things. There is absolutely logic to building a steel rocket not that different from a steel ship, but it’s a mental gear-shift for sure. 

We're also used to orange rockets that are assembled **very** slowly.

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1 hour ago, RealKerbal3x said:

This whole 'catching the booster' thing sounds silly but this is the same company that has done the impossible several times. They'll figure out the best way to do it, and none of us will have predicted it :P

I still call it stupid because its over complicated over landing on the launch clamps who Musk previously talked about.
Now I would rater land on an movable stand away from the pad. That also saves the weight of the legs. 
You land on the most sturdy part of the rocket, the part who has to support thousands of tons. accuracy requirements is the same or lower, you could have some guiding spikes allowing for an 10-20 cm error. 
You can come in a bit tilted because of wind or last minute adjustment,  no issue if top is 1-2 meter out. Option to to move this along the drive direction and even offset or even rotate the landing pad. 
After landing drive it to pad to get lifted onto it. 

Now I say this too is over complex over legs but something who is pretty easy to design. 

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15 hours ago, magnemoe said:

I still call it stupid because its over complicated over landing on the launch clamps who Musk previously talked about.
Now I would rater land on an movable stand away from the pad. That also saves the weight of the legs. 
You land on the most sturdy part of the rocket, the part who has to support thousands of tons. accuracy requirements is the same or lower, you could have some guiding spikes allowing for an 10-20 cm error. 
You can come in a bit tilted because of wind or last minute adjustment,  no issue if top is 1-2 meter out. Option to to move this along the drive direction and even offset or even rotate the landing pad. 
After landing drive it to pad to get lifted onto it. 

Now I say this too is over complex over legs but something who is pretty easy to design. 

It seems a lot less complicated than landing on the launch mount to me. They don't need to have a precision of millimetres with this method, if they design it right they should be able to land within a few metres and still reach the target. And the grid fins are already extremely toughly mounted as the 200t booster is literally hanging from them during its 5g reentry, so beefing them up a little more to take the load of the almost empty vehicle is going to be more mass-efficient than adding dedicated legs.

And SpaceX (well, maybe just Elon) wants Super Heavy to be able to fly again an hour after launch, making landing on a separate structure - even if it's movable - out of the question.

(also, congrats on 10,000 posts :D)

Edited by RealKerbal3x
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