Stack Exchange Network

Stack Exchange network consists of 175 Q&A communities including Stack Overflow, the largest, most trusted online community for developers to learn, share their knowledge, and build their careers.

Visit Stack Exchange

Questions tagged [spacex]

Space Exploration Technologies Corporation, or SpaceX, is a private space exploration company. It was the world's first privately held company to successfully launch a cargo mission into space.

75
votes
6answers
25k views

Is the SpaceX Falcon Heavy payload (a Tesla car) space junk?

Yesterday SpaceX succeeded in the first Falcon Heavy launch, but the payload, a Tesla car has no real useful purpose (except for company prestige). Thus, can it be considered as space junk ? How long ...
68
votes
5answers
9k views

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 ...
67
votes
9answers
40k views

Why is SpaceX considering Methane as fuel for their next engine, the Raptor?

Currently, SpaceX has developed the Merlin 1 family (1B (Falcon 1), 1C (Falcon 9 v1.0), 1D (Falcon 9 v1.1/F9-R/Falcon Heavy), vacuum versions and sealevel versions) which are LOX/RP1 based. (75-...
59
votes
6answers
25k views

Can I drive Elon Musk's Tesla after it's been in space for 100 Years?

We know that the the payload of the maiden Falcon Heavy flight will be... Elon Musks's Tesla Which will be placed in "Mars Orbit" Assuming it is serviced and road ready when launched with the keys in ...
59
votes
6answers
15k 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 ...
58
votes
8answers
31k 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 ...
54
votes
4answers
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 ...
53
votes
4answers
19k views

What are the towers around the SpaceX launch pad used for?

I noticed four(?) towers around the SpaceX launch pad during yesterday's aborted launch Image credit NBC News What are the towers used for? Tracking? Radio communications?
53
votes
3answers
46k views

What happens to the Falcon 9 second stage after payload separation?

In a Falcon 9 launch, the second stage looks like it achieves orbit along with the payload. But is that impression accurate? Does SpaceX need to do anything to deorbit the stage? I can see a few ...
52
votes
2answers
18k 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 ...
52
votes
1answer
6k views

In Starman's roadster, where's the Towel?

Did Starman forget his towel? A towel is the essential thing every explorer needs to carry, right? Can't get very far without it.
51
votes
3answers
16k views

Why would NOAA restrict the ability of SpaceX to live stream the second stage?

I was watching the live stream of the Iridium-5 launch and they mentioned that NOAA had restricted their ability to live stream the second stage and that SpaceX was working to remove this restriction. ...
48
votes
2answers
10k 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 and would ...
47
votes
1answer
6k views

Is Starman wearing a seatbelt?

While staring at the live feed of a crash dummy in a convertible in outer space, I was wondering: Is this crash dummy following safety conventions and wearing a seat belt? I somehow doubt that it ...
44
votes
3answers
9k views

Is a SpaceX launch completely automated?

Once the engines are ignited and liftoff occurs, are any operators/controllers on the ground making any manual changes to the flight? Or are they simply monitoring the entire event until the boosters ...
43
votes
2answers
7k views

What is that haze on Starman's windshield?

There is a haze on the top half of Starman's windshield? It was not there in the first day o fthe launch and the video feed. It looks like fogged window, but assume it cannot be that. What is it and ...
42
votes
3answers
10k views

SpaceX merlin engine failure

On SpaceX's website, they make a claim that their rockets are the safest and most reliable in the industry. This is because apparently it can complete its mission even if up-to two of its engines fail ...
41
votes
4answers
9k 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 ...
36
votes
3answers
4k views

Why was AMOS-6 mounted on the rocket for a test fire?

I understand that the static test is a general test of pre-launch procedures, but risking a multi-million dollar payload for a test seems remarkable. Couldn't they use a mass simulator or something? ...
34
votes
3answers
7k views

Why is there any launch window at all for the Falcon Heavy test flight?

Why is the window only ~3 hours long, why not 2? why not 5? why not "until it launches"? I'm guessing range safety, they could only get a TFR that long?
33
votes
2answers
4k views

SpaceX and propulsive landing on Mars — what just happened? (and why?)

There is some news that I've just read about in the Pod Bay SE chat room: Wired: SpaceX's Mars Plan Hits a Pothole. Up Next: The Moon? Ars Technica: Elon Musk’s Mars rocket may be about to lose half ...
32
votes
3answers
7k views

What is the primary reason for SpaceX motion to have astronauts board Dragon before fueling up the rocket?

News piece: NASA supports SpaceX plan to fuel rockets with astronauts on board. The move is criticized by many as unnecessarily dangerous. From what I understand though, it shouldn't be necessary - ...
32
votes
3answers
5k views

Will the Falcon Heavy be far enough in 12 seconds to not cause damage?

Elon Musk has stated that he will consider it a success if the Falcon Heavy gets far enough away from the launch pad to not cause damage if it blows up. The Falcon Heavy underwent a 12 second static ...
32
votes
6answers
18k 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 ...
32
votes
1answer
9k views

Why does the Falcon 9 consume hydraulic fluid?

According to many news articles, the crash of the Falcon 9 during landing on 1/10/2015 was due to running out of hydraulic fluid for the steerable hypersonic grid fins. This was seemingly confirmed ...
31
votes
6answers
5k views

Why did it take so long for methane to be used as a rocket propellant?

SpaceX have put methane on the map as a rocket fuel, but they weren't the first to consider its use. The first experiments in building a rocket engine that uses methane date back to 2007. Now methane ...
31
votes
2answers
5k views

What holds SpaceX’s rocket in place in this launch?

On a recent launch video, the gantry is at an angle and only loose tethers are attached as the rocket is prepared for launch. What is keeping it upright and in place at this point? The engines haven'...
31
votes
3answers
5k views

Could a Falcon Heavy test flight be responsible for these observations?

We observed a bright, slow moving (in our view for several minutes) large object that eventually left large bright contrails. This was over Northern New Mexico at around 7:29 PM MST. The object was ...
30
votes
3answers
13k views

Why does the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket do a 180 flip for reentry?

I am very new to the rockets and this can be a very dumb question, just that I am not sure if my understanding here is right? All of the rockets engines are at bottom which help it take off and ...
30
votes
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
votes
4answers
6k views

Is it possible to track an object as small as the Tesla Roadster around the Solar System

I have heard that we will soon lose track of the Tesla Roadster launched with the Falcon Heavy test launch. Yet, we know where Voyager is out beyond the Solar System and we followed other satellites ...
29
votes
2answers
36k views

What computer and software is used by the Falcon 9?

I don't know if this would be public, but what CPU / Microcontrollers are used and what software do they run on the Falcon 9? Do they use an OS or is it just bare metal programming? I found some ...
29
votes
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
votes
4answers
7k views

Why does the Falcon 9 have 9 engines?

What are the reasons for using 9 engines in the first stage of the Falcon 9? Why not 8 or 10? Looking at the Raptor engine, they seem to be looking at 9 engines again. Is there some specific advantage ...
28
votes
4answers
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, ...
28
votes
2answers
6k views

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?
28
votes
2answers
3k views

SpaceX CRS-5 Launch: What is the footage that appears to contain bubbles?

I'm currently watching the live stream of the CRS-5 launch. They've been cycling through several different camera angles including one which looks a lot like bubbles in water, or perhaps blobs of ...
27
votes
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 ...
27
votes
1answer
3k views

Was Amos 6 insured for pre-launch operations?

The Falcon 9 rocket, complete with the Amos 6 payload, just blew up (Or RUDed) on the launch pad. I believe the standard language for most launch insurances is that it is only covered after "...
26
votes
7answers
5k views

How can a 9-engine Falcon rocket be cheaper than single engine rockets?

From what I understand, the engine is usually the most expensive part of each rocket, excluding payload. I'm struggling to understand how SpaceX can have one of the cheapest launchers on the market ...
26
votes
3answers
10k views

What makes 21st century fairings so valuable that they'd potentially be recovered and re-used?

I've read in @geoff's answer that SpaceX is doing some experimentation that may lead to fairing recovery capability. In fact I remember hearing Elon Musk mentioning a few years ago that it was being ...
26
votes
2answers
5k views

Why did SpaceX retire Falcon 1?

Why did SpaceX retire Falcon 1? Wouldn't it have been more cost effective then Falcon 9 for lighter missions?
26
votes
3answers
5k views

How can Elon Musk's Tesla actually reach Mars orbit?

So the payload of the maiden Falcon Heavy flight will be... Elon Musks's Tesla This is one part publicity stunt (it's going to be playing David Bowie's Space Oddity, if for nothing more than the ...
26
votes
1answer
4k views

Would this chair support astronaut during launch in Crew Dragon

Recently reporters were allowed to take pictures of Crew Dragon and the SpaceX flight suit. Among them is this picture: I was under the impression that: Chairs needed to be custom molded / adjusted ...
25
votes
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 ...
25
votes
1answer
5k views

Does anyone who works at SpaceX know the paths of classified payloads?

As SpaceX has launched both NROL-76 and OTV-5, does anyone at SpaceX know the trajectory of the vehicle, or is the falcon upper stage under the direct control of the Air Force?
25
votes
1answer
3k views

SpaceX's 4,425 satellite constellation - what's the method to the madness?

The BBC article SpaceX aims to launch internet from space discusses the SpaceX proposal for a dense array of over 4,000 LEO satellites for global internet coverage, and links to SpaceX non-...
24
votes
2answers
12k 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 ...
24
votes
3answers
3k views

When SpaceX claims to build 4 engines/week, which engines do they mean?

In this Tweet (dated 11 Sept 2013) Peter de Selding reported that Gwynne Shotwell of SpaceX said: SpaceX's Shotwell: We're building 7 Falcon 9 fairings/yr now, 15 in 2014, & 4 engines/week ...
23
votes
4answers
9k 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 ...