Questions tagged [landing]

Questions regarding the specific part of flights, during which a spacecraft touches down on the solid ground of a celestial body.

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Difference between BlueOrigin and SpaceX rocket landings?

So, SpaceX has finally landed their booster back to the land. BlueOrigin has achieved the same thing in a recent past, but I have read so many people commenting and criticizing the comparison of ...
Riley Willow's user avatar
62 votes
4 answers
12k views

How were Perseverance's cables "cut" after touching down?

In the NASA conference today regarding Perseverance's successful landing on Mars, they talked about how you can see the cable that held the rover in this picture below (I circled the cable). I'm ...
F16Falcon's user avatar
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62 votes
6 answers
20k views

Why does the SpaceX reusable launcher use vertical rather than horizontal landing?

As alternatives to vertical retro-engines landing: horizontal landing using wings, already discussed in Why is it preferable for SpaceX to land their booster vertically rather than fly it down with ...
mins's user avatar
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57 votes
2 answers
28k views

How does the Falcon 9 first stage avoid burning up on re-entry?

Now that a Falcon 9 first stage has successfully landed after a launch mission, I want to know how the first stage can avoid burning up when coming back down to earth. There doesn't appear to be any ...
Rickest Rick's user avatar
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56 votes
7 answers
6k views

What technological breakthroughs were required to land booster stages?

It is only recently that SpaceX developed first stages that can land again, and be reused. The (until recent) non-existent landing of re-useable rockets is presumably, partially, due to a lack of ...
Wouter's user avatar
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55 votes
4 answers
40k views

What was the fate of the main core of the first Falcon Heavy launch?

February 6th 2018 saw the first test launch of SpaceX's Falcon 9 Heavy rocket. During the main core's landing on the marine landing pad, the connection was lost. As such it is not immediately clear ...
JAD's user avatar
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50 votes
2 answers
12k views

How does the SpaceX Falcon 9 first-stage straighten for landing?

I just saw this video of supposed "SpaceX Rocket Camera Landing Footage Fakery" with over a million views. The narrator repeatedly says it's complete garbage because he doesn't understand ...
Hugo's user avatar
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48 votes
3 answers
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Why is an airbag landing on the moon not viable?

In this related question, it was explained that the differences in design between a Mars rover and moon rover were too substantial to substitute one for another. One of the points made was that the ...
R. Barrett's user avatar
48 votes
1 answer
5k views

Why were the Space Shuttle Orbiter's landing gear not level?

Looking at an image of the orbiter on the ground, it's obvious the nose landing gear is positioned higher than the other landing gear in the wings, making the nose of the orbiter droop down. As far as ...
DrKlutz's user avatar
  • 583
46 votes
4 answers
10k views

Why was Venus rather than Mars targeted for the first interplanetary landings?

This is a question about early planetary missions. It looks like there was only one early (unsuccessful) landing mission to Mars and that subsequently Venus became the target for interplanetary ...
user2705196's user avatar
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43 votes
4 answers
11k views

Why can't Falcon 9 fairings touch the water?

SpaceX is spending considerable effort to catch Falcon 9 fairings into a giant net on a ship. I am aware that salt water ruins almost everything in the long run, but the fairings are a composite ...
filo's user avatar
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36 votes
3 answers
6k views

Why was it necessary to program InSight with an ability to land in dust storms?

If the entire event of EDL (Entry - Descent - Landing) is going to take only 7 minutes and if the command to begin could be signalled based on ground weather conditions, why was it necessary to take ...
karthikeyan's user avatar
  • 4,479
35 votes
7 answers
15k views

How could a 90 m/s delta-v be enough to commit the space shuttle to landing?

Wikipedia claims (although with no citation) that in order to make the space shuttle land, an initial powered delta-v of 322 km/h was applied in orbit, retrograde to the shuttle's orbit. 322 km/h is ...
user's user avatar
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34 votes
8 answers
9k views

Why not land SpaceX's Starship like a plane?

I get the reasoning behind designing Starship to land upright. It doesn't require landing gear and the turnaround is expected to be much faster. But I'm beginning to question that logic. I think the ...
loweryjk's user avatar
  • 457
34 votes
6 answers
21k views

Why did SpaceX attempt to land the booster on a barge instead of somewhere on land?

I understand the benefits of reusability for the rocket booster. But I don't understand why they're landing it on a barge. I've read tons of articles about this but not one has even hinted at an ...
user avatar
33 votes
5 answers
7k views

Why were contact sensors put on three of the Lunar Module's four legs? Did they ever bend and stick out sideways?

In the video Brian Eno on Apollo starting at 08:37 there is Apollo-era movie footage of a lunar module taken from the command module as it prepares for descent ...
uhoh's user avatar
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29 votes
5 answers
6k views

Falcon 9: engines stabilize spin

On CRS-16, the landing Falcon 9 booster entered a spin rotation due to a stalling grid fin hydraulic pump. According to Musk, the engines stabilized the spin. How is this possible? The main engines ...
Everyday Astronaut's user avatar
29 votes
4 answers
2k views

What started the explosion on the crashed Jason-3 stage landing on the barge?

If you watch the truly awesome video of the Jason-3 first stage landing on the ASDS Barge Just Read The Instructions, it is pretty clear that for one thing, they landed it. Then the leg gave out, ...
geoffc's user avatar
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28 votes
1 answer
4k views

Why the soot pattern on the nosecone of Falcon Heavy side booster?

When a SpaceX booster is landed, we are used to seeing soot deposited all over it, usually in a specific pattern. You can read more about that in this question: Why the strange bands of soot of the ...
geoffc's user avatar
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28 votes
2 answers
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What is the "emergency crush core"?

In his tweet Elon Musk said: "Rocket is extra toasty and hit the deck hard (used almost all of the emergency crush core)" What is he talking about?
Stefan Mihai Stanescu's user avatar
28 votes
1 answer
2k views

What work needs to be done before reusing Falcon 9?

In this article Elon Musk said that first stage of Falcon 9 which landed on the barge in April will be reused in June. Launching and landing wears material down, what parts need to be replaced and ...
mark.g's user avatar
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27 votes
11 answers
10k views

Could the Space Shuttle have landed on any long runway other than those specially reinforced at Kennedy (TTS), and Edwards (EDW)?

Wikipedia writes to say Buran was the first space shuttle to perform an unmanned flight, including landing in fully automatic mode. ... The same article writes further The automated landing ...
Everyone's user avatar
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26 votes
4 answers
3k views

Now that they can land a Falcon 9, what will they do with it?

As most of you, I am super stoked by the amazing success of SpaceX with their Falcon 9 first stage landing back on land! We also know that they have a huge backlog (over 50 flights) and are building ...
pastullo's user avatar
  • 1,216
25 votes
4 answers
6k views

How does the Falcon 9 know where the landing barge/pad is?

The descending Falcon 9 has got to hit (preferably gently) the tiny target of the Autonomous Spaceport Drone Ship (ASDS) in the middle of the ocean. How does the Falcon 9 know where the ASDS is? ...
ForgeMonkey's user avatar
  • 7,119
24 votes
2 answers
16k views

How are the SpaceX Falcon 9 Mod 3 and Mod 4 grid fins different?

Elon Musk tweeted "Flying with larger & significantly upgraded hypersonic grid fins. Single piece cast & cut titanium. Can take reentry heat with no shielding." These have been commonly known ...
geoffc's user avatar
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24 votes
5 answers
15k views

Olympus Mons - viable Mars landing site?

I'm becoming interested in how Mars missions are planning their landings. One aspect I see brought up time and again is Mars' awkward atmosphere - 'just enough there that you have to care about it'. ...
Wutnaut's user avatar
  • 523
23 votes
4 answers
9k views

Why did the Apollo Lunar Module have four landing legs?

Why did the Apollo Lunar Module have four landing legs? Is not just three legs enough? Also, three legs guaranties they always form a plane, four does not, as the fourth leg may dangle. To have the ...
SE - stop firing the good guys's user avatar
23 votes
3 answers
3k views

Can a single Soyuz return a crew of six back to Earth?

Let's say that the ISS has to be immediately evacuated and that one of the two Soyuz is broken. Could the crew quickly remove "unnecessary weight" (seats maybe?) and fit six person to return back to ...
pastullo's user avatar
  • 1,216
22 votes
2 answers
7k views

Why were Space Shuttle astronauts able to walk off the orbiter?

I am watching loads of ISS related videos and there is one detail I recently noticed; At the time, when Space Shuttles were still in operation and visiting ISS, when astronauts returned home, they ...
Pavel Janicek's user avatar
21 votes
5 answers
4k views

Which astronauts or cosmonauts were injured by a hard landing?

Sigmund Jähn, the first German in orbit, was injured during a hard landing of the Soyuz 29 capsule on September 3rd, 1978. He got permanent damages of his vertebral column. Are there other astronauts ...
Uwe's user avatar
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21 votes
8 answers
6k views

Is there any way to land a rover on the Moon without using any thrusters?

Is there any way to land a rover on the moon without using any thruster, with the help of Thermocol, Cotton, Bubble wrap or any other packaging material, like we can receive from online shop?
gaganyaan's user avatar
  • 329
21 votes
4 answers
5k views

Did the soft-landing rockets malfunction in the Soyuz (expedition 50 crew) landing?

I just watched the live feed of the Soyuz capsule landing in Kazakhstan. All the way down the narrator was describing the expected sequence of parachutes and how retro-rockets would fire approximately ...
Caleb's user avatar
  • 422
21 votes
4 answers
10k views

If the Space Shuttle missed its landing approach, what could have been done?

As I understand it, the Space Shuttle was essentially a glider when it was coming back to land, and the engines were not there to facilitate powered flight. So what was the procedure, had the Space ...
Burhan Khalid's user avatar
21 votes
8 answers
6k views

Why isn’t the “JRTI” barge larger?

The barge that SpaceX's Falcon 9 was trying to land on is creatively called "Just Read The Instructions"(hereafter known as JRTI). I've been told that SpaceX is using the barge to avoid a land based ...
Coomie's user avatar
  • 2,897
21 votes
3 answers
6k views

How did the Vostok ejection seat safely eject an astronaut from a sealed space capsule?

Wikipedia's Yuri Gagarin says: At about 23,000 feet (7,000 m), Gagarin ejected from the descending capsule as planned and landed using a parachute. and the section Vostok_programme; Vostok 3KA ...
uhoh's user avatar
  • 149k
21 votes
1 answer
3k views

Why was there only a single Falcon 9 landing on ground-pad in 2021?

According to Wikipedia, there was only one Falcon 9 booster landing on ground-pad in 2021, all other 30 launches at least attempted to land on a drone-ship. Comparatively, 2020 and (so far) 2022 both ...
Speedphoenix's user avatar
  • 5,324
21 votes
3 answers
5k views

How far off did Apollo 11 land?

Armstrong wasn't able to land exactly in the designated landing location, as far as I know it was too rocky. So he had to fly a bit farther to find a suitable spot. But how much farther from the ...
DarkDust's user avatar
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21 votes
4 answers
4k views

SpaceX first stage landing: Why not use an elevated net above the landing platform to catch the rocket?

The rocket would keep same descent system as now (no parachute). But instead of landing on feet, it would have long grid fins on its top that would be caught by an elevated cable net. The previous ...
Gaddy's user avatar
  • 335
21 votes
2 answers
5k views

Could SpaceX land on the moon today?

Now that SpaceX has a bunch of flown Block 4 Falcon 9 rockets laying around, could they theoretically do a mission to the Moon with landing even if it's just a rocket with no payload? Does it work out ...
Rosen Sofroniev's user avatar
20 votes
3 answers
4k views

Why was Titan the first celestial body beyond Mars to be landed on?

If my memories are accurate, then there's only one celestial body beyond Mars, on which any man-made device was landed. Pictures made there are, in fact, quite popular among space fans. But why Titan?...
Zoltán Schmidt's user avatar
20 votes
2 answers
3k views

Will SpaceX delay launches, if the landing site weather is unacceptable?

With the initial landing attempts, it was not a big deal, twas all an experiment and they only reused Block 1-4 boosters once at best. So holding a launch because of weather at the landing site ...
geoffc's user avatar
  • 79.4k
20 votes
3 answers
8k views

Why does the video feed always fail during Falcon 9 landings?

I'm in love with SpaceX and Falcon 9, I watch every live stream and the most special, most amazing, most thrilling part of each launch is the 1st stage landing. Seeing the smoke (or vapor) clear and ...
Coomie's user avatar
  • 2,897
19 votes
2 answers
2k views

Why do Soyuz landings seem to be overshot?

Soyuz descent module re-entry flight is piloted (one of two modes AUS/computer or RUS/manual), using 8 thrusters, toward the Kazakhstan landing site. The ballistic re-entry occurs only when the other ...
mins's user avatar
  • 5,033
18 votes
4 answers
3k views

Is there a risk that re-entering capsules or other components will hit ships or islands?

How precisely can the splash-down point of re-entering capsules (from Mercury onwards) be known in advance? Wasn't there a risk that capsules would hit a ship or an island? Likewise, Russian and ...
Joshua Fox's user avatar
18 votes
2 answers
941 views

How would a probe land on Europa?

Say we send a craft to Europa which would then launch a probe to land on the surface of Europa. Let's say for the sake of this question that the probe weighs more or less like the Opportunity rover. ...
System Down's user avatar
  • 2,999
18 votes
1 answer
2k views

Which crewed spacecraft provides the gentlest descent and/or landing?

Landing with a Soyuz capsule is often compared to being in a car accident1, it's pretty violent on touch-down. On the other hand, I imagine the Space Shuttle's touch-down to be a little like a rough ...
DarkDust's user avatar
  • 12.6k
18 votes
2 answers
6k views

How will SpaceX achieve landing of the Falcon 9 first stage?

What mechanisms and technologies will be used to control the descent and movement of the falcon 9 rocket's booster stage on its way to the landing pad?
Phizzy's user avatar
  • 864
18 votes
1 answer
2k views

Did any of the Space Shuttles land through rain or rainclouds?

My web research resulted in figuring out that launching Space Shuttles in rain, apart from lightning, wind and turbulence related problems, wasn't permitted due to: brittleness of the heat shield ...
Sergiy Lenzion's user avatar
18 votes
2 answers
3k views

On the Falcon Heavy, why are the side boosters using Ti Grid fins, but not the center core?

Elon Musk showed a picture of the almost ready to fly Falcon Heavy in the HIF (Horizontal Integration Facility, aka rocket barn). You can see the darker, larger grid fins on the side cores, and the ...
geoffc's user avatar
  • 79.4k
18 votes
1 answer
3k views

What control engineering techniques are used for the landing maneuvers of Falcon 9-R?

Which are the main control theories behind the landing maneuvers of the Falcon 9? For the hovering part, as it approaches the landing surface, I guess the inverted pendulum control approaches would do ...
KonstantinosV's user avatar

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