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Just watched Elon's video on How Not to Land an Orbital Rocket Booster (ORB), and I just look at that and wonder why they don't build a large metal cylindrical cage on the landing platform so if it falls the (padded) rim of the cage will keep it propped up. The cylindrical cage could even be telescopic and motorized, so there is no fear of accidentally tapping the rim in the landing process, then, once it's in the center, engage the motorized telescopic cylindrical cage to expand up to capture the ORB safely.


Another idea, inspired from the net idea here, would be instead of a net, just two clotheslines,

----- ----- <--- wires
|   | |   |
|   | |   | <--- poles
|   | |   |,

on either side of the landing area, and then when the rocket's in the landing area, clasp the two wires around the circumference of the rocket.

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    $\begingroup$ The tanks are really thin and I doubt they would survive falling over and landing on a rim. $\endgroup$
    – zeta-band
    Sep 14 '17 at 19:22
  • $\begingroup$ @OrganicMarble, ok, so I'm just going to keep my question up as a statistic to add to the consensus that it's stupid to not have something like this. $\endgroup$
    – user20289
    Sep 14 '17 at 19:48
  • $\begingroup$ @JoshKing, exactly! I didn't even know these questions were already asked here. Is it somehow financially beneficial that some of them blow up? $\endgroup$
    – user20289
    Sep 14 '17 at 19:50
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    $\begingroup$ @JoshKing, how do they not technically lose any money? $\endgroup$
    – user20289
    Sep 14 '17 at 19:55
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    $\begingroup$ @JoshKing, I thought the whole idea was to reuse it... $\endgroup$
    – user20289
    Sep 14 '17 at 20:03
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What you're proposing is a complex and expensive engineering solution to a problem which is rapidly becoming irrelevant.

SpaceX's 12 most recent landing attempts as of September 2017 have been successes.

Only two of their failures were due to tip-over after touchdown; the causes of both those tip-overs have been addressed.

Any sort of net, funnel, cage, or other capture mechanism is going to be an extremely complex piece of engineering -- it has to stay out of the way prior to touchdown (otherwise it will cause a disaster in a case where the stage has a high horizontal velocity component), and then snap into place very suddenly to catch the stage before it falls, but not snap into place so hard that it damages the stage. Building, testing, perfecting, and maintaining a rig like that would be more expensive than simply improving the stage itself.

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    $\begingroup$ OK, I will concede. $\endgroup$
    – user20289
    Sep 14 '17 at 21:15