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Questions tagged [reuse]

Questions regarding the reuse of parts or equipment.

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67 votes
8 answers
39k views

Why would SpaceX not use parachutes for the final descent of the first stage?

According to what I've read, SpaceX tried to use parachutes to recover the first stage of the Falcon 9, but it did not survive reentry. Now they plan to use 2 separate rocket burns to land: Reentry ...
neelsg's user avatar
  • 5,223
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
  • 1,096
56 votes
1 answer
7k views

Why use water tanks from a retired Space Shuttle?

In 2015, technicians entered the retired Space Shuttle Endeavour to remove the water tanks, with the goal of reusing these tanks on ISS. The space shuttle Endeavour is retired and on display at the ...
Nightrider's user avatar
  • 2,035
44 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
  • 1,442
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
30 votes
3 answers
5k views

Did the Challenger SRBs fail due to design for reuse?

All that I know about the Challenger tragedy was that some o-rings failed in the reusable solid rocket boosters (SRBs) due to the low temperatures that day. I'm curious if such an accident would have ...
tau's user avatar
  • 403
30 votes
3 answers
7k views

Why won't they recover the Falcon 9 from CRS-14?

According to the upcoming livestream of SpaceX CRS-14 (resupply of ISS): SpaceX will not attempt to recover Falcon 9’s first stage after launch. Why not? Wasn't that the whole point of (among ...
Mast's user avatar
  • 601
29 votes
6 answers
12k views

Isn't Starship way too big?

The Shuttle was designed with a huge payload of 20 tons. This was supposed to not be a problem since: the reusability would drive down costs until satellite operators dropped expensive space hardware ...
Abdullah is not an Amalekite's user avatar
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
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
  • 881
27 votes
4 answers
10k views

Why is SpaceX building the Big Falcon Ship before the Big Falcon Rocket?

I believe that SpaceX is planning on building the BFS (Big Falcon Spacecraft) before the BFR (Big Falcon Rocket), which serves as the first stage for the second-stage BFS. Does anyone know why they ...
Slarty's user avatar
  • 9,560
26 votes
3 answers
5k views

How can the reusable Falcon 9 succeed when the reusable Space Shuttle failed?

Space Shuttle was designed to be partially reusable but was later shut down because it turned out to be very expensive to run compared to disposable spacecraft. Now Falcon 9 is suddenly reusable to a ...
sharptooth's user avatar
  • 1,161
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
24 votes
4 answers
4k views

Are SpaceX Falcon rocket boosters significantly cheaper to operate than traditional expendable boosters?

The title pretty much sums it all up. I remember somebody once remarked about the space shuttle program that “the space shuttle was originally designed to be a space truck. But the shuttle is to ...
Romeo_4808N's user avatar
23 votes
3 answers
4k views

How does SpaceX plan to achieve reusability of the Falcon 9 *second* stage?

Update 08 April 2017: Elon Musk tweeted an indication that they're revisiting the possibility of second stage recovery, so this question is again relevant, and the details of the new solution may be ...
Russell Borogove's user avatar
22 votes
4 answers
6k views

Why are only 2 out of the 3 boosters on Falcon Heavy reused?

In this picture it shows that the side boosters of the Falcon heavy will land. However, the middle booster is not going to land. Why is this the case?
The Rocket fan's user avatar
22 votes
2 answers
4k views

Do Falcon 9s get a thorough wash or a fresh coat of paint (they look clean pre-reflight)?

Before/during reflight, the boosters look white and clean, but after, they don't. I'm not sure if that's soot and/or burned paint. I looked but it doesn't seem to have been asked before. RE Is Falcon ...
ymb1's user avatar
  • 2,423
22 votes
3 answers
2k views

Were decommissioned Cold War missiles repurposed for peaceful spaceflight?

Those formerly on either side of the Iron Curtain can now admit that the Cold War had its plusses and minuses. The key minus, of course, is that the United States and the Soviet Union constructed ...
HDE 226868's user avatar
  • 3,227
22 votes
3 answers
4k views

Why did the grid fin of the CRS-8/SES 10 booster burn?

After a successful reentry burn of the stage, around 10 seconds after engine shutdown, one of the fins glows red, then begins to burn. My question is why would this burn after the stage already ...
Jake Blocker's user avatar
  • 4,285
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
  • 2,907
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
10k views

How did the Falcon 9's 1st stage return back to Cape Canaveral?

SpaceX's original plan was landing the 1st stage to a landing ship, that waits far away from the launch site, and it was like this: But tonight, the rocket's first stage landed at Cape Canaveral. ...
IHateToxicPlatforms's user avatar
20 votes
7 answers
12k views

Why can the Falcon 9 be reused while the SLS cannot?

In reading about SLS, I learned that the reason they won't reuse their rocket is that the weight of the parachutes to enable recovery is too much of a sacrifice. How is the weight of the hardware and ...
Asalt's user avatar
  • 211
20 votes
7 answers
19k views

How stable would a Falcon 9 first stage be after it has landed on a drone ship?

Presumably, the booster would be a very light, very tall tube (Most of the fuel spent) standing on 4 fairly small legs on a ship in the middle of the ocean. It would also still contain some LOX and ...
neelsg's user avatar
  • 5,223
20 votes
2 answers
2k views

What are the two bright objects separating from the Falcon 9?

On the recent Iridium 1 launch the separation of the first and second stages can be seen at T+3:50. In the following screenshot we see the second stage burning at the lower left of the frame and the ...
Happy Phantom's user avatar
19 votes
1 answer
3k views

Is Falcon 9 repainted before reuse?

Before reusing the first stage of Falcon 9, is it repainted? If yes then why?
Joe Jobs's user avatar
  • 2,650
18 votes
6 answers
3k views

Why aren't there any space tugs in use?

Ion thrusters are capable of providing the same amount of delta-V for far less fuel (e.g. Falcon 9 v1.1 second stage specific impulse is 340 seconds, while some ion-thrusters have a specific impulse ...
user avatar
18 votes
2 answers
6k views

Falcon 9 fairings cost and reusability

I read that SpaceX is starting to work on fairings reusability. I couldn't find any information, so I would like to know more about them. In particular, I remember a quote from Musk saying that ...
pastullo's user avatar
  • 1,216
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
17 votes
5 answers
5k views

Reusable spacecraft: why still have fairings detach, instead of open/close?

Why do reusable rockets (e.g. SpaceX Falcon 9) still utilize detachable fairings? SpaceX keeps trying to find a way to recover the $6M fairings for obvious cost saving reasons, why not have them ...
ToolUsr's user avatar
  • 179
17 votes
2 answers
2k views

Why is the first stage from the Falcon 9 SES-12 mission not recovered?

Youtube video here At 4:13 minutes into the Iridium-6/GRACE-FO NASA Launch, the commentator mentions: The first stage is not going to be recovered, so there won't be any views from the drone ship ...
user avatar
17 votes
1 answer
1k views

What are the challenges of turning a rocket stage around and firing its engines into a supersonic wind?

So I went to the link in a recent question and discovered SpaceX turns its first stage around while it is going, what, several km/s in the upper atmosphere, restarts 3 of the engines and fires ...
kim holder's user avatar
  • 21.4k
17 votes
2 answers
2k views

Has SpaceX re-used a first stage twice yet?

SpaceX has re-used a first stage once, several times now. Has it re-used the same first stage twice yet? If not, has a particular mission been named that will be the first second re-use?
uhoh's user avatar
  • 149k
16 votes
2 answers
5k views

Did the fairings from the Falcon Heavy test flight get recovered?

According to the flight plan that Elon Musk posted on Twitter, there's a section listed as 'Fairing Recovery', was this section successful? Did the Fairings get recovered?
CBredlow's user avatar
  • 1,247
15 votes
4 answers
3k views

What objects have been sent to space twice?

Just out of curiosity, and because we hopefully are at the dawn of reusable launchers, what items have been sent to orbit from Earth, then landed on Earth and sent back to orbit? The space shuttles ...
LocalFluff's user avatar
15 votes
4 answers
1k views

Vertical-takeoff, vertical-landing (VTVL) vehicle falling orientation

The SpaceX Grasshopper vehicle (formally a VTVL vehicle) tests have been increasing the height that their tests can climb to before doing the vertical landing. Throughout all these tests it keeps ...
AlanSE's user avatar
  • 16.3k
15 votes
1 answer
1k views

What is the value of the cross-track angle between the two designated CRS-4 first stage recovery zones?

For the SpaceX Falcon 9 launch on its Dragon/CRS-4 cargo delivery mission to the International Space Station, according to Spaceflight 101, two downrange safety zones have been identified: The SpX-...
TildalWave's user avatar
14 votes
4 answers
6k views

Why keep expending SpaceX boosters?

SpaceX has only (to my knowledge) landed one set of two Falcon Heavy boosters. All others were expended. SpaceX also said during the early days of the company that each Falcon 9 booster could fly up ...
Deko Revinio's user avatar
  • 1,474
14 votes
7 answers
6k views

Would reusable rockets render the idea of space elevators useless? [closed]

With the expected advances in reusable rocket technology within the next decade, will constructing a space elevator become meaningless? Or will it still be way cheaper, safer and convenient to use ...
harsh99's user avatar
  • 509
14 votes
3 answers
8k views

Were Space Shuttle External Tanks recoverable and reusable?

During the launch of STS vehicle, the two stage 0 Solid Rocket Boosters (SRB) were jettisoned and recovered after they gently parachuted into the ocean: But what happened with the STS External Tanks ...
ReNiSh AR's user avatar
  • 1,621
14 votes
3 answers
3k views

Could the Rocketdyne F-1 have been reused?

Assuming the engine is recovered on a platform at sea similar to SpaceX, could it be refurbished and reflown at a low cost? Would the coking, corrosion, and other problems be any worse than that in ...
Abdullah is not an Amalekite's user avatar
14 votes
3 answers
2k views

Could Falcon 9 splash down IN water?

Why don't they let the Falcon 9 splash down IN water, and then recover it? Wouldn't this reduce both fuel use & potential damage?
sandra's user avatar
  • 149
14 votes
2 answers
3k views

What was the point of the re-entry and landing burn of the first stage of the GovSat-1 launch?

Supposedly SpaceX did not intend to recover the first stage of the GovSat-1 launch. If so, what was the point of doing a re-entry burn and a landing burn, if they were just planning on dumping the ...
lzam's user avatar
  • 243
14 votes
3 answers
4k views

Why didn't the space shuttle SRBs have wings and tires?

Why didn't the space shuttle solid rocket boosters have wings and tires to land the same way the orbiter lands? I don't think they haven't thought of that so there must be something that led them not ...
ALz's user avatar
  • 143
14 votes
2 answers
1k views

Falcon 9R as SSTO

Seeing as the Falcon 9R first stage is close to being reusable, could it be the basis for an SSTO rocket? In other words, does it have enough performance to make it into orbit, and then boost back and ...
Mike Wise's user avatar
  • 575
14 votes
2 answers
3k views

Dragon V2: How many times can the spacecraft be reused? Is the spacecraft's heat shield reusable?

I read that the Boeing CST-100 could be reused up to 10 times, but the heat shield should be changed each time. Here are my questions: How many times can the Dragon V2 be reused? Will it be reused ...
zbarni's user avatar
  • 987
14 votes
2 answers
3k views

What is the cause of this Falcon 9 first stage "dance" after landing?

Recently I watched a video on YouTube by Scott Manley: How To Do A Hoverslam - Things Kerbal Space Program Doesn't Teach. It deals about landing burns of Falcon 9 first stages. It features short clips ...
o115208's user avatar
  • 151
14 votes
1 answer
1k views

Could an EVA Suit meant for Mars be used for EVA on another celestial, or vice-versa?

A quick follow-up to What is the power requirement of a spacesuit? The Apollo 11 crew were in a vacuum out on Luna; their space-suits fulfilled the purpose of a basic space-suit about which Wikipedia ...
Everyone's user avatar
  • 13.6k
14 votes
1 answer
700 views

What is the heat shield refurbishment procedure for a crew Dragon capsule?

How, specifically, is the heat shield replaced or refurbished? More precisely... How do they know it will work for the next mission? :-P
Michael Stachowsky's user avatar

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