Catch the Super Heavy RN — Elon Musk breaks the patterns and canons of traditional rocketry once again, creating Starship-Super Heavy
The development of the program continues at an accelerated pace at the SpaceX Boca Chica cosmodrome in Texas
Just imagine what the future Super Heavy launch vehicle is. It will be a 72m stainless steel «tower» with a diameter of 9m, with ~ 28 Raptor engines (probably, the number of engines will be slightly less in the end). And such a colossus, with a take-off weight of 3 680 000 kg, at the final stage of landing, Elon Musk proposed to catch in order to optimize the process of preparing a re-launch, removing from it the component of the LV transportation from the landing site back to the launch complex.
The very procedure of launching the launch vehicle after completing its part of the mission to put the payload into orbit has already been worked out on the Falcon 9 launch vehicle. drone ship swaying on ocean waves. So there is no doubt that this process will be performed just as masterly by the RN Super Heavy. Moreover, if we recall the flight of SN8, or rather its final stage, then it also very accurately descended to a given area. It can be stated that the accuracy of the return process is almost perfect, and has been worked out not only on the Falcon 9.
But it is one thing to land a Falcon 9, and then take it for troubleshooting and check all the elements of the launch vehicle; it is another thing to «catch» the Super Heavy launch vehicle when returning to the launch pad. What does Elon offer?
That is, now, instead of retractable supports, according to the Falcon 9 principle, at the final stage of landing, the launch vehicle will have to enter a narrow corridor, where it will be caught by the capture mechanism, and lattice aerodynamic landing rudders will act as supports. I spoke about the already worked out accuracy of landing, so there probably will not be a special problem here. However, the question of the strength of the joints of the titanium «fins» themselves will arise, since they will carry the entire weight of the launch vehicle for a short time. And such strength requirements will be imposed on the «capture» mechanism. SpaceX has not yet officially released renders of future changes, and how the «capture» mechanism on the engineering tower might look and work.
Why is this change being made, after all, it would seem that you can stop at the Falcon 9 landing pattern, which has already confirmed its reliability? Elon explained this by the fact that the abandonment of landing supports as part of the launch vehicle «saves weight and cost, and also allows you to immediately rearrange the carrier rocket to the launch pad, preparing it for takeoff in less than an hour», and also philosophically added «Legs, of course, will do, but the best part is not a part, the best step is not a step. «
Elon also said that the first tests of the Super Heavy prototype will take place «in a few months», but this year. Probably by this time the prototypes of #starship will already be sent to high-altitude test «jumps» several times, and possibly even to suborbital altitude.
The coming 2021 will be the same breakthrough year for all #spacex projects (Starlink, Starship-Super Heavy, and others) as it was for #tesla.
Ilon, by trial and error, through the use of non-standard solutions, goes to the task —
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