Questions tagged [reuse]

Questions regarding the reuse of parts or equipment.

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66
votes
9answers
37k 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 ...
55
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1answer
6k 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 ...
49
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7answers
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 ...
44
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4answers
10k 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 ...
33
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6answers
20k 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 ...
31
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7answers
7k 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 ...
30
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3answers
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 ...
29
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3answers
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 ...
29
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1answer
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 ...
28
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1answer
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 ...
27
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4answers
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 ...
27
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4answers
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 ...
25
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3answers
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 ...
24
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6answers
9k 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 ...
24
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4answers
3k 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 ...
23
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3answers
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 ...
22
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3answers
3k 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 ...
21
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8answers
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 ...
21
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2answers
9k 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. ...
21
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3answers
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 ...
20
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7answers
17k 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 ...
20
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2answers
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 ...
18
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4answers
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 catched by an elevated cable net. The previous ...
18
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2answers
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 ...
18
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2answers
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?
17
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5answers
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 ...
17
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2answers
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 ...
17
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1answer
2k views

Is Falcon 9 repainted before reuse?

Before reusing the first stage of Falcon 9, is it repainted? If yes then why?
17
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1answer
927 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 ...
17
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2answers
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?
16
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4answers
2k 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 ...
16
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2answers
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?
15
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6answers
9k 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 ...
15
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4answers
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 ...
15
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2answers
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 ...
15
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4answers
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 ...
15
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1answer
975 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-...
14
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7answers
5k 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 ...
14
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5answers
7k views

How is SpaceX going to land their Falcon first stage?

SpaceX's attempt at a reusable first stage rocket sounds amazing, but how they're going to get it to land back on the launchpad is beyond me. Assuming that the first stage will separate with a speed ...
14
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3answers
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?
14
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2answers
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 ...
14
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2answers
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 ...
14
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1answer
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 ...
14
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1answer
1k views

What was the first time a “re-used booster” was used to put a payload into orbit?

In the excitement about SpaceX's Falcon recovery and relaunch development program, it's often forgotten in articles like this one that reusable spacecraft were in regular use far back in the 20th ...
13
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3answers
7k 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 ...
13
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3answers
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 ...
13
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3answers
1k views

Why hasn't Dragon been reused before CRS-11?

Given that SpaceX's Dragon has been designed to be reusable ("with minimal rework and fueling"), why hasn't it been, in fact, reused? We've had 6 CRS missions bringing Dragon to ISS and back home (...
12
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1answer
2k views

Why is there a need for getting rid of ISS trash using the empty ATV and similar vehicles

Why is trash from the ISS sent down in some of the cargo vehicles. Would it not make more sense to dump it overboard in the downward + retrograde direction (as described here) and use reusable cargo ...
12
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1answer
2k views

What went wrong, Falcon 9 1.1 first flight with first stage landing attempt?

They are reporting that the three engine relight in the upper atmosphere worked. But the relight of a single engine, lower down for pretend landing on the water generated too much torque and the fuel (...
12
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1answer
1k views

How many 1st stage boosters will SpaceX settle for, for its LEO/GTO fleet?

It’s common knowledge that SpaceX goal is to create a fleet of spacecraft shuttling from Earth to Mars. One milestone they intend to achieve beforehand is having a fleet of 1st stage boosters ...

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