Author Topic: Falcon Heavy Test Flight  (Read 10777 times)

Offline bknight

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Re: Falcon Heavy Test Flight
« Reply #135 on: April 25, 2019, 09:13:38 AM »
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« Last Edit: April 25, 2019, 10:11:59 AM by bknight »
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Offline Dalhousie

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Re: Falcon Heavy Test Flight
« Reply #136 on: April 25, 2019, 08:21:02 PM »
Actually, now that I think about it, I remember reading somewhere that SpaceX did offer a ride at a discount to several customers (including NASA), but had no takers.  Nobody wanted to risk it.
Well, I can understand that when the flight is going to a useless solar orbit, not earth orbit or a planet.

There are plenty of  things that can be done in such an orbit - Mars flyby,asteroid flyby, various free return missions.  There was seven years to plan a useful payload.

Offline ka9q

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Re: Falcon Heavy Test Flight
« Reply #137 on: April 25, 2019, 08:59:32 PM »
Exactly, if Musk had been willing to shoot for a precise trajectory on the first launch. That would also require shooting for a particular launch date and time, and holds are common during countdowns of new rockets (happened on this one).

I'm not sure, but the burn out of earth orbit might have been a burn-to-depletion as an engineering test, since normally the stage shuts down when the desired orbit is reached. So the final solar orbit was uncertain. And of course it all happened several months before the launch window opened to Mars, so there was no way it was going there.

Offline Dalhousie

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Re: Falcon Heavy Test Flight
« Reply #138 on: April 26, 2019, 07:23:35 PM »
Exactly, if Musk had been willing to shoot for a precise trajectory on the first launch. That would also require shooting for a particular launch date and time, and holds are common during countdowns of new rockets (happened on this one).

I'm not sure, but the burn out of earth orbit might have been a burn-to-depletion as an engineering test, since normally the stage shuts down when the desired orbit is reached. So the final solar orbit was uncertain. And of course it all happened several months before the launch window opened to Mars, so there was no way it was going there.

Despite these constraints All most every first launch carries a useful payload. Except this one. Planetary launch windows, especially for small payloads on large rockets, extend over many weeks.
« Last Edit: April 26, 2019, 07:36:33 PM by Dalhousie »

Offline jfb

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Re: Falcon Heavy Test Flight
« Reply #139 on: April 30, 2019, 01:50:41 PM »
Exactly, if Musk had been willing to shoot for a precise trajectory on the first launch. That would also require shooting for a particular launch date and time, and holds are common during countdowns of new rockets (happened on this one).

I'm not sure, but the burn out of earth orbit might have been a burn-to-depletion as an engineering test, since normally the stage shuts down when the desired orbit is reached. So the final solar orbit was uncertain. And of course it all happened several months before the launch window opened to Mars, so there was no way it was going there.

Despite these constraints All most every first launch carries a useful payload. Except this one.

First Falcon-9 launch carried a boilerplate Dragon containing a wheel of cheese.
Ares 1-X had a boilerplate upper stage.
First Antares launch carried a mass simulator for Cygnus.
First few Zenit launches carried mass simulators.

That's not an exhaustive list.

Again, I remember reading that SpaceX shopped for a customer for the FH maiden flight but had no takers.  So they created their own mission.
And they've blown up enough customer payloads that I don't blame anyone for not taking that risk.

Offline smartcooky

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Re: Falcon Heavy Test Flight
« Reply #140 on: April 30, 2019, 06:21:56 PM »
Exactly, if Musk had been willing to shoot for a precise trajectory on the first launch. That would also require shooting for a particular launch date and time, and holds are common during countdowns of new rockets (happened on this one).

I'm not sure, but the burn out of earth orbit might have been a burn-to-depletion as an engineering test, since normally the stage shuts down when the desired orbit is reached. So the final solar orbit was uncertain. And of course it all happened several months before the launch window opened to Mars, so there was no way it was going there.

Despite these constraints All most every first launch carries a useful payload. Except this one.

First Falcon-9 launch carried a boilerplate Dragon containing a wheel of cheese.
Ares 1-X had a boilerplate upper stage.
First Antares launch carried a mass simulator for Cygnus.
First few Zenit launches carried mass simulators.

That's not an exhaustive list.

Again, I remember reading that SpaceX shopped for a customer for the FH maiden flight but had no takers.  So they created their own mission.
And they've blown up enough customer payloads that I don't blame anyone for not taking that risk.

I'll also point out that Rocket Labs' first launch, "Just a test", carried no payload, and just as well, because it failed to reach orbit!

Clearly, from the research I have done, it seems that the first launch for a completely new type of spacecraft, a mass simulator of some kind (not a live, customer payload) seems to be normal. It is also clear that SpaceX offered rides on the test flight, and got no takers.

This doesn't seem matter to the haters, they're gonna hate. I'm disappointed to see them here too, in a fact-based place of reason and critical thinking.

« Last Edit: April 30, 2019, 06:24:00 PM by smartcooky »
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Offline jfb

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Re: Falcon Heavy Test Flight
« Reply #141 on: May 01, 2019, 12:39:50 PM »
Exactly, if Musk had been willing to shoot for a precise trajectory on the first launch. That would also require shooting for a particular launch date and time, and holds are common during countdowns of new rockets (happened on this one).

I'm not sure, but the burn out of earth orbit might have been a burn-to-depletion as an engineering test, since normally the stage shuts down when the desired orbit is reached. So the final solar orbit was uncertain. And of course it all happened several months before the launch window opened to Mars, so there was no way it was going there.

Despite these constraints All most every first launch carries a useful payload. Except this one.

First Falcon-9 launch carried a boilerplate Dragon containing a wheel of cheese.
Ares 1-X had a boilerplate upper stage.
First Antares launch carried a mass simulator for Cygnus.
First few Zenit launches carried mass simulators.

That's not an exhaustive list.

Again, I remember reading that SpaceX shopped for a customer for the FH maiden flight but had no takers.  So they created their own mission.
And they've blown up enough customer payloads that I don't blame anyone for not taking that risk.

I'll also point out that Rocket Labs' first launch, "Just a test", carried no payload, and just as well, because it failed to reach orbit!

Clearly, from the research I have done, it seems that the first launch for a completely new type of spacecraft, a mass simulator of some kind (not a live, customer payload) seems to be normal. It is also clear that SpaceX offered rides on the test flight, and got no takers.

This doesn't seem matter to the haters, they're gonna hate. I'm disappointed to see them here too, in a fact-based place of reason and critical thinking.

Don't trust my recollection regarding no takers on the maiden FH flight - I can't remember where I saw that.  I do know that SpaceX lost a customer payload on the maiden Falcon 1 flight (FalconSAT), which may have informed the boilerplate Dragon on the maiden F9 launch. 

From what I've found so far, it's not uncommon to launch live payloads on a brand-new vehicle, but it's not an overwhelming majority, either.  For every example of a mass simulator I can point to, someone can probably point to a live payload (such as on Apollo IV, which carried a fully functional CM). 

It depends on the program, the customer, the vendor, everything. 

And, honestly, it shouldn't matter to anyone other than SpaceX whether the maiden FH flight carried a live payload or not.  F9's been hauling the mail for the better part of a decade now, they had the money to spend on a test, they were using discontinued F9s for the side boosters, etc. 

Offline Dalhousie

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Re: Falcon Heavy Test Flight
« Reply #142 on: May 02, 2019, 04:50:12 AM »
Exactly, if Musk had been willing to shoot for a precise trajectory on the first launch. That would also require shooting for a particular launch date and time, and holds are common during countdowns of new rockets (happened on this one).

I'm not sure, but the burn out of earth orbit might have been a burn-to-depletion as an engineering test, since normally the stage shuts down when the desired orbit is reached. So the final solar orbit was uncertain. And of course it all happened several months before the launch window opened to Mars, so there was no way it was going there.

Despite these constraints All most every first launch carries a useful payload. Except this one.

First Falcon-9 launch carried a boilerplate Dragon containing a wheel of cheese.
Ares 1-X had a boilerplate upper stage.
First Antares launch carried a mass simulator for Cygnus.
First few Zenit launches carried mass simulators.

That's not an exhaustive list.

Again, I remember reading that SpaceX shopped for a customer for the FH maiden flight but had no takers.  So they created their own mission.
And they've blown up enough customer payloads that I don't blame anyone for not taking that risk.

I'll also point out that Rocket Labs' first launch, "Just a test", carried no payload, and just as well, because it failed to reach orbit!

Clearly, from the research I have done, it seems that the first launch for a completely new type of spacecraft, a mass simulator of some kind (not a live, customer payload) seems to be normal. It is also clear that SpaceX offered rides on the test flight, and got no takers.

This doesn't seem matter to the haters, they're gonna hate. I'm disappointed to see them here too, in a fact-based place of reason and critical thinking.

Don't trust my recollection regarding no takers on the maiden FH flight - I can't remember where I saw that.  I do know that SpaceX lost a customer payload on the maiden Falcon 1 flight (FalconSAT), which may have informed the boilerplate Dragon on the maiden F9 launch. 

From what I've found so far, it's not uncommon to launch live payloads on a brand-new vehicle, but it's not an overwhelming majority, either.  For every example of a mass simulator I can point to, someone can probably point to a live payload (such as on Apollo IV, which carried a fully functional CM). 

It depends on the program, the customer, the vendor, everything. 

And, honestly, it shouldn't matter to anyone other than SpaceX whether the maiden FH flight carried a live payload or not.  F9's been hauling the mail for the better part of a decade now, they had the money to spend on a test, they were using discontinued F9s for the side boosters, etc.

Here is an exhaustive list from the last 30 years

1.   1989 Delta 2 - GPS satellite
2.   1990 Pegasus - satellite
3.   1993 PLSV - satellite (failed)
4.   1994 Minotaur C – satellites
5.   1994 H-2 - satellites
6.   1996 Ariane 5 – satellite (failed)
7.   2006 F-1 – satellite (failed)
8.   2010 F-9 – dragon boilerplate
9.   2001 GLSV satellite - (failed)
10.   2002 Delta IV – satellite
11.   2002 Atlas V – satellite
12.   2013 Antares – boiler plate + satellites
13.   KZ 1 - satellite
14.   2014 Angara – mass simulator
15.   2017 Long March 5 - satellite
16.   2017 Long March 7 - satellites + boilerplate spacecraft
17.   2018 Electron – engineering test satellite (failed)
18.   2018 FH – rich man’s toy
19.   2018 ZQ-1 – satellite (failed)
20.   2019 OS-1B –technology satellite (failure)

18 out of 20 launches carried functional payloads, that's 90%


Since when as criticism become hate? It's not a question of hate, it is a question of disappointment that an opportunity was wasted on putting a rich man's toy into space rather than something better. They have seven years or more to plan it,and this was the best they could come up with? 

It does matter when an opportunity to do something inspiring and technically useful was turned into an exercise in narcissism.

Offline smartcooky

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Re: Falcon Heavy Test Flight
« Reply #143 on: May 02, 2019, 08:39:00 AM »
18 out of 20 launches carried functional payloads, that's 90%

And 7 of the 18 failed... that's a 39% failure rate

Oops!

Since when as criticism become hate?

Nobody minds your criticism, so long as it remains fair. Yours isn't.

It is simply unreasonable to expect anyone to risk their expensive hardware on a completely new type of launch vehicle when new launch vehicles historically fail at a rate of 1 in 3, and which even the owner thought was a fair chance of exploding on the launch pad.

I also do not buy ka9q's argument that the free ride would offset the cost of a safer launch. If it was only about the money, he might have a valid argument, but it is also about development cost and build time. You might save on the cost of the launch, but you can never get back the loss of revenue (for a commercial satellite) or the missed discoveries (for a scientific one), that would be caused by the months, perhaps years of additional time it would take to build another one.

It's not a question of hate, it is a question of disappointment that an opportunity was wasted on putting a rich man's toy into space rather than something better. They have seven years or more to plan it,and this was the best they could come up with?

As has been stated, offers were made, there were no takers.

It does matter when an opportunity to do something inspiring and technically useful was turned into an exercise in narcissism.

Well guess what? I found it inspiring; my kids and grand-kids found it inspiring - and we all thought is a was a great bit of fun - we cannot be the only ones who did. Perhaps us mere laymen and our dumb kids are just too stupid to understand that rocket science is really serious business, with no room for fun.

For my oldest grandson (he's 11 now) it was the first time he has sat down with me and watched a rocket launch live as it happened. Over twelve months later, all he can talk about is how he wants to be a rocket engineer when he grows up and go to work at Rocketlabs.

Its clear that you think this was just a cheap publicity stunt. I disagree with that characterization, if it ignited a spark in just a few kids to encourage them into becoming engineers or rocket scientists, it will have been worth the effort.

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Offline Peter B

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Re: Falcon Heavy Test Flight
« Reply #144 on: May 02, 2019, 10:15:17 AM »
Exactly, if Musk had been willing to shoot for a precise trajectory on the first launch. That would also require shooting for a particular launch date and time, and holds are common during countdowns of new rockets (happened on this one).

I'm not sure, but the burn out of earth orbit might have been a burn-to-depletion as an engineering test, since normally the stage shuts down when the desired orbit is reached. So the final solar orbit was uncertain. And of course it all happened several months before the launch window opened to Mars, so there was no way it was going there.

Despite these constraints All most every first launch carries a useful payload. Except this one.

First Falcon-9 launch carried a boilerplate Dragon containing a wheel of cheese.
Ares 1-X had a boilerplate upper stage.
First Antares launch carried a mass simulator for Cygnus.
First few Zenit launches carried mass simulators.

That's not an exhaustive list.

Again, I remember reading that SpaceX shopped for a customer for the FH maiden flight but had no takers.  So they created their own mission.
And they've blown up enough customer payloads that I don't blame anyone for not taking that risk.

I'll also point out that Rocket Labs' first launch, "Just a test", carried no payload, and just as well, because it failed to reach orbit!

Clearly, from the research I have done, it seems that the first launch for a completely new type of spacecraft, a mass simulator of some kind (not a live, customer payload) seems to be normal. It is also clear that SpaceX offered rides on the test flight, and got no takers.

This doesn't seem matter to the haters, they're gonna hate. I'm disappointed to see them here too, in a fact-based place of reason and critical thinking.

Don't trust my recollection regarding no takers on the maiden FH flight - I can't remember where I saw that.  I do know that SpaceX lost a customer payload on the maiden Falcon 1 flight (FalconSAT), which may have informed the boilerplate Dragon on the maiden F9 launch. 

From what I've found so far, it's not uncommon to launch live payloads on a brand-new vehicle, but it's not an overwhelming majority, either.  For every example of a mass simulator I can point to, someone can probably point to a live payload (such as on Apollo IV, which carried a fully functional CM). 

It depends on the program, the customer, the vendor, everything. 

And, honestly, it shouldn't matter to anyone other than SpaceX whether the maiden FH flight carried a live payload or not.  F9's been hauling the mail for the better part of a decade now, they had the money to spend on a test, they were using discontinued F9s for the side boosters, etc.

Here is an exhaustive list from the last 30 years

1.   1989 Delta 2 - GPS satellite
2.   1990 Pegasus - satellite
3.   1993 PLSV - satellite (failed)
4.   1994 Minotaur C – satellites
5.   1994 H-2 - satellites
6.   1996 Ariane 5 – satellite (failed)
7.   2006 F-1 – satellite (failed)
8.   2010 F-9 – dragon boilerplate
9.   2001 GLSV satellite - (failed)
10.   2002 Delta IV – satellite
11.   2002 Atlas V – satellite
12.   2013 Antares – boiler plate + satellites
13.   KZ 1 - satellite
14.   2014 Angara – mass simulator
15.   2017 Long March 5 - satellite
16.   2017 Long March 7 - satellites + boilerplate spacecraft
17.   2018 Electron – engineering test satellite (failed)
18.   2018 FH – rich man’s toy
19.   2018 ZQ-1 – satellite (failed)
20.   2019 OS-1B –technology satellite (failure)

18 out of 20 launches carried functional payloads, that's 90%

[snip]

Dalhousie

As I already posted at Reply #111:

= = = =

With the greatest of respect, perhaps it would be more illuminating to compare like with like. In the case of Falcon Heavy this means comparing it with other launchers which feature side-mounted boosters which are a significant proportion of the size of the first stage (or are common core boosters). Why so? Because of the additional problems such launches face when compared with single-stack rockets - stresses on the connections between the boosters and core stages during acceleration especially when they're operating at different thrust levels, separation mechanisms, and aerodynamic effects are just three which come to mind. So what were the payloads of the various FH equivalents:

Angara A5: mass simulator (success)
Ariane 5: live payload (failure)
Delta IV Heavy: boilerplate (failure)
Long March 5: unclear (success, although there were problems during launch)

Have I missed any? But even so, that's a far lower proportion of live payloads for this style of rocket, suggesting that first flights for these sorts of rockets are less attractive than they are for single-stack rockets. And, judging by the success rate, for good reason.

Offline smartcooky

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Re: Falcon Heavy Test Flight
« Reply #145 on: May 03, 2019, 12:13:22 AM »
With the greatest of respect, perhaps it would be more illuminating to compare like with like. In the case of Falcon Heavy this means comparing it with other launchers which feature side-mounted boosters which are a significant proportion of the size of the first stage (or are common core boosters). Why so? Because of the additional problems such launches face when compared with single-stack rockets - stresses on the connections between the boosters and core stages during acceleration especially when they're operating at different thrust levels, separation mechanisms, and aerodynamic effects are just three which come to mind. So what were the payloads of the various FH equivalents:

When SpaceX and Musk first conceived the idea for FH in 2011, they rather naively thought "yeah, just strap three cores together and we're good to go - what could be hard about that"... then they started doing the engineering assessments, and found it was going to be much, much harder than they first thought. The complexity of the issues you mentioned; the stresses on the centre core with differential thrust, the joining attachments and the aerodynamics meant that the initial idea of simply strapping together three stock cores with a few mods quickly went out the window. It soon became apparent that the centre core would need to be modified so heavily it that it was essentially a different beast entirely, almost a specialist piece of equipment. Then there were low key changes that lead to problems, like the nose cones on the side boosters. A relatively simple change on the face of it, but what they didn't expect was for those nose cones to change the aerodynamic characteristics on the boosters as it returned to earth so dramatically, that it seriously impacted on the control authority of the grid fins.   

Due to all the complications, the initial projected launch date of 2013 kept getting pushed back and pushed back, and this goes to dalhousie's claim that they had "seven years or more to plan it, and this was the best they could come up with". This is just completely unfair and without any merit. Even if they had any takers for a free ride back in 2011, what company is going to stick with them for five years of delays and a risky launch at the end of it all? Once the development delays started happening, what company is going to look at Falcon Heavy and say, "Yeah, we'll risk our 20 million dollar satellite on a rocket that has had delay after delay after delay so that we keep missing our launch windows, and then the rocket has a high chance of blowing up anyway.

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Offline Dalhousie

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Re: Falcon Heavy Test Flight
« Reply #146 on: May 04, 2019, 02:48:44 AM »
Dalhousie

As I already posted at Reply #111:

= = = =

With the greatest of respect, perhaps it would be more illuminating to compare like with like. In the case of Falcon Heavy this means comparing it with other launchers which feature side-mounted boosters which are a significant proportion of the size of the first stage (or are common core boosters). Why so? Because of the additional problems such launches face when compared with single-stack rockets - stresses on the connections between the boosters and core stages during acceleration especially when they're operating at different thrust levels, separation mechanisms, and aerodynamic effects are just three which come to mind. So what were the payloads of the various FH equivalents:

Angara A5: mass simulator (success)
Ariane 5: live payload (failure)
Delta IV Heavy: boilerplate (failure)
Long March 5: unclear (success, although there were problems during launch)

Have I missed any? But even so, that's a far lower proportion of live payloads for this style of rocket, suggesting that first flights for these sorts of rockets are less attractive than they are for single-stack rockets. And, judging by the success rate, for good reason.

The trouble is you are not comparing like at like.  And you are being selective with data

First of all Long march 5 and Delta IV heavy were not failures.  Unless you equate slight under performance while still achieving orbit to be failure.

Secondly, of your four examples , only two are parallel boosters, Ariane 5 and Delta IV.  Angara 5 and LM5 both had four small strap-ons, a very different configuration.   LM-7 also had 4 strap-ons, functional payloads, and was successful.

If we are going to consider small strap on boosters as significant then we could consider the fact that Atlas V has many versions with different numbers of small strap-ons. First launch payloads of each were:

411 (1) - comsat
421 (2) - comsat   
431 (3) - comsat   
521 (2) - comsat   
531 (3) - comsat   
541 (4) - comsat
551 (5) – New Horizons   

All were successful.  Note the New Horizons launch-first launch of this variant and first launch of an Atlas V with three stages on a high priority science mission.

Delta II existed in multiple versions with anywhere between three and nine solid boosters. All carried functional pay loads on their first flight, all were successful.

If only large parallel boosters are comparable then the Space Shuttle and Titan variants IIIC/D/commerical, 34D and IV need to be thrown into the the pool. 

STS-1 - functional,crewed mission (success)
IIIC – boiler plate MOL and reflown Gemini (unmanned) – success (suborbital)
IIID – KH-9 – success
III Commercial – two comsats – success
34D – two comsats – success
IV – missile detection – success

The facts remain

1) Standard practice is to launch a useful payload on 1st launches. 
2) Most first launches are successful.
3) SpaceX had seven years to come up with one.  But they didn't.






Offline smartcooky

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Re: Falcon Heavy Test Flight
« Reply #147 on: May 04, 2019, 03:42:47 AM »
The facts remain

1) Standard practice is to launch a useful payload on 1st launches.
I don't believe it is. If it were, then why are boiler-plates and mass simulators even used at all... ever?
Are they ever used on launches other than first of type or test flights?

2) Most first launches are successful.
Even if this is technically true, it is still a misleading statement in the context of this discussion.

Even by your own admission with the launch stats you have provided, the failure rate of first flights is much higher than subsequent flights, therefore the risk to the payload is greater in first flights... and that IS a fact; one that you can take to the bank.

3) SpaceX had seven years to come up with one.  But they didn't.
As I stated earlier, this claim is unfair and completely without merit.. I will repeat what I said in my last post

Due to all the complications, the initial projected launch date of 2013 kept getting pushed back and pushed back. They offered free launches AND GOT NO TAKERS, no-one was interesting in risking it.

However, even if they did have any takers back in 2011, what company is going to stick with them for five years of delays and a risky launch at the end of it all? Once the development delays started happening, what company is going to look at Falcon Heavy and say, "Yeah, we'll risk our 20 million dollar satellite on a rocket that has had delay after delay after delay so that we keep missing our launch windows, and then the rocket has a high chance of blowing up anyway".

For a customer to wants to buy a launch, they have to have some idea when that launch would be. The development problems meant that once the NET July 2013 launch date slipped, SpaceX couldn't even come up with a projected launch date!

Oh, and before you try to tell us that they should have provided a payload themselves, I might point out that SpaceX are a launch provider, not a payload provider. Yes, they have Starlink, but that was nowhere near ready in 2018. Starlink-1 will be launched later this month. 

IMO, you have a problem with the idea of someone having a bit of fun. You glare down your nose at people like Musk and companies like SpaceX because the they don't fit your fixed idea of what an engineer or a commercial launch company should look like.
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Offline Jason Thompson

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Re: Falcon Heavy Test Flight
« Reply #148 on: May 04, 2019, 09:14:35 AM »
1) Standard practice is to launch a useful payload on 1st launches.

The use of the term 'standard practice' suggests this is an industry guideline or somesuch. It isn't. There have been many first (and other) launches that were no more than engineering tests. SA-1, SA-5 and AS-201 spring to mind. SA-1 had dummy upper stages. SA-5 was simply a test flight of a live S-IV second stage, and AS-201 was just to look at how the liquid hydrogen behaved during orbital coast and restart. No payload as such on any of them. The first Falcon Heavy can be considered an engineering test of the rocket with some good PR attached. If SpaceX had refused a functional satellite launch just to do the PR I'd be more inclined to agree with your characterisation but they didn't. They had no takers for funtional payloads, so they stuck their own on. And in doing so they created some nice imagery. And now they've had someone who wanted to launch a satellite on their now proven hardware.
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Offline Dalhousie

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Re: Falcon Heavy Test Flight
« Reply #149 on: May 06, 2019, 06:23:34 AM »
1) Standard practice is to launch a useful payload on 1st launches.

The use of the term 'standard practice' suggests this is an industry guideline or somesuch. It isn't. There have been many first (and other) launches that were no more than engineering tests. SA-1, SA-5 and AS-201 spring to mind. SA-1 had dummy upper stages. SA-5 was simply a test flight of a live S-IV second stage, and AS-201 was just to look at how the liquid hydrogen behaved during orbital coast and restart. No payload as such on any of them. The first Falcon Heavy can be considered an engineering test of the rocket with some good PR attached. If SpaceX had refused a functional satellite launch just to do the PR I'd be more inclined to agree with your characterisation but they didn't. They had no takers for funtional payloads, so they stuck their own on. And in doing so they created some nice imagery. And now they've had someone who wanted to launch a satellite on their now proven hardware.

The fact that 90% of first launches, not including variants, in the past 30 years, have carried meaningful payloads.

The fact remains that they had seven years to come up with some better than a stunt with a car.