Talk:Falcon 9

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Block 5 Thrust[edit]

People keep adding "8,451 kN" of thrust as a number for the Falcon 9 Block 5. This is not correct, and reflects a misunderstanding based on a tweet from Elon, who said that the Falcon 9 would be upgraded to reach 1.9 million pounds of thrust in-flight (~8,500 kN). First, that tweet is describing the Falcon 9 FT, not block 5, and perhaps more importantly, that is not the sea-level or liftoff thrust of the rocket, and thus is not an accurate comparison to other versions anyways. Do NOT re-add this number. As of April 2017, the thrust rating for the Block 5 is not final and has not been released. — Preceding unsigned comment added by TaylorJO (talkcontribs) 19:46, 4 April 2017 (UTC)

Falcon 9#Flights by landing outcome diagram[edit]

In the #Flights by landing outcome, year 2015, one launch is missing compared to the previous diagram. --Yug (talk) 00:22, 1 May 2017 (UTC)

@Yug: That would be the CRS-7 mission which exploded in flight, so couldn't attempt to land. Same thing in 2016 with the Amos-6 incident. — JFG talk 04:07, 4 May 2017 (UTC)
There are actually two missing. This issue was discussed over at Talk:List_of_Falcon_9_and_Falcon_Heavy_launches, and they were briefly included, but it was decided that the graph worked better without these two flights and they didn't add anything. (the flights did intend to land so they don't help define the grey area of flights that did not attempt a landing. We also don't know if they would have succeeded, to they don't add anything to the 'success/failure of landing' aspect of the graph either). — InsertCleverPhraseHere 04:36, 4 May 2017 (UTC)
Shouldn't them still appears in some way ? --Yug (talk) 19:41, 4 May 2017 (UTC)
Don't think so. — JFG talk 20:05, 4 May 2017 (UTC)

Summary/Side Bar[edit]

The summary/side bar section lists total launches at 34. Unless this is counting some initial test launch, I believe we have 33 flights of the falcon 9? No? --Emaier138 (talk) 18:04, 2 May 2017 (UTC)

That's correct. The 34 in the side bar apparently comes from counting the pre-launch event which destroyed the Amos-6 satellite. That wasn't a launch or a flight, so the side bar is a bit misleading. I suggest changing it to read 33 ``Total Launch and changing "Other 1 (FT, Amos-6)" to "Pre-launch loss of payload events 1 (FT, Amos-6)". If someone can think of a better way to phrase it, please let us know. Fcrary (talk) 16:48, 3 May 2017 (UTC)

"Other" is the field planned for such cases in {{Infobox rocket}}, and there is a clear explanatory note "One rocket and payload were destroyed before launch in preparation for static fire." This should be enough. — JFG talk 04:34, 4 May 2017 (UTC)

In that case, I'm fine with "Other", but the 34 "total launches" still bothers me. A pre-launch accident, even if it destroys the payload, isn't a launch or an attempted launch. Would 33 launches, 31 successes, one failure, one partial failure and one "other" be better? Fcrary (talk) 17:01, 4 May 2017 (UTC)

Perhaps. That would be an appropriate debate at Template talk:Infobox rocket, to agree a uniform rule for all rocket losses. — JFG talk 20:07, 4 May 2017 (UTC)
I have opened a consultation at Template talk:Infobox rocket#How to count accidents prior to launch? and solicited comments from WT:WikiProject Spaceflight members. — JFG talk 21:17, 4 May 2017 (UTC)

I updated the 1.1 payload specs based on http://spacenews.com/39558updated-ses-books-falcon-9-for-2016-launch/ which states there was an additional 450kg capacity available for primary payload but had been reserved for spacex and was subtracted from originally published specs. 104.244.192.51 (talk) 18:36, 1 September 2017 (UTC)

I have undone this change; better stick to contemporary specs rather than add a "secret reserve" alleged by a SpaceX employee in an interview. The SES-10 satellite mentioned in this source ended up being launched on the uprated Falcon 9 Full Thrust. The heaviest bird launched by the 1.1 version was TürkmenÄlem 52°E / MonacoSAT with 4,707 kg, well within the published performance figures. — JFG talk 20:52, 1 September 2017 (UTC)

Comparison[edit]

What about adding first and last flight to the table? — Preceding unsigned comment added by 94.220.83.123 (talk) 08:17, 10 August 2017 (UTC)

CRS-12 was Block 4[edit]

I don't want to join the current edit conflicts, but some wrong numbers about FT have been added, to be checked later. --mfb (talk) 17:24, 14 August 2017 (UTC)

Another wrong thing is that CRS 12 / Block IV apparently did NOT have upgraded thrust. Can we agree to not quote a Tesla car blog as a source for SpaceX news ever again? https://www.reddit.com/r/spacex/comments/6ttxhy/crs12_telemetry/ shows the thrust. Greg (talk) 17:14, 15 August 2017 (UTC)

@Greg Lindahl: While I love the community content posted on the SpaceX subreddit, analyzing telemetry that only states velocity and altitude is inherently fairly error-prone. Appable (talk | contributions) 17:04, 16 August 2017 (UTC)
I think the numbers quoted as Falcon 9 Full Thrust performance are actually Block 5 performance. An old Elon Musk tweet noted that the numbers on the website were for a future version of the rocket with uprated thrust (compared to the Falcon 9 Full Thrust), which is now clearly Block 4/Block 5. Appable (talk | contributions) 17:10, 16 August 2017 (UTC)
I totally agree that we should not be citing Reddit speculation as a source -- I'm just pointing out that it looks like the higher thrust that we're citing as fact has not actually happened yet... and it's still dumb for us to be citing a Tesla car blog as a source for SpaceX information! Greg (talk) 18:00, 16 August 2017 (UTC)
I think this was still block 3, why? Block 4 and 5 will have upgraded grid fins as tested in Iridium-2 launch. CRS-12 core had old grid fins, and telemetry was same as crs-11, so no upgraded thrust. Block 4 probably will be next 39A launch, OTV-5. Most likely they will tell on webcast that this is launch of upgraded F9, crs-12 should still be marked as normal FT until official sources confirmation. Piotrulos (talk) 15:20, 17 August 2017 (UTC)
If reports are to believed that the Block 4 upgrades are both incremental and not externally obvious, it's not surprising that we haven't heard about the changes. I would note telemetry was not exactly the same: SECO was slightly earlier on CRS-12, even though it was a heavier payload to the same orbit. SpaceX has clearly changed the hardware multiple times within block revisions - Iridium-2 was obviously Block 3, but had new grid fins. I think the best we can do is report on the blocks as indicated by reliable sources. Chris Gebhardt of NASASpaceFlight has been very reliable in the past, and given the new information in the article it's clear that he's fact-checked that this launch indeed was the first Block 4. Appable (talk | contributions) 16:40, 17 August 2017 (UTC)
One clue for the thrust upgrade is that CRS-12 carried a significantly heavier payload than previous Dragon missions: 3,310 kg vs 2,708 kg for CRS-11, 2,490 kg for CRS-10, 2,257 kg for CRS-9 and 3,136 kg for CRS-8 (well, that one was heavy too, with the BEAM spacecraft, but perhaps the rocket pushed it longer). — JFG talk 05:46, 18 August 2017 (UTC)
We aren't in the business of posting clues to Wikipedia. Also, SpaceX says the current LEO mass for Falcon 9 is TWICE the mass of wet Dragon + CRS-12's payload, so a 500kg increment is not so exciting. Greg (talk) 06:23, 18 August 2017 (UTC)
Remember that the massive 22,800 kg LEO payload advertised by SpaceX is for an expendable booster, and for unspecified engine thrust settings. Reusable performance so far has been proven up to 9,600 kg with the Iridium missions. 600 kg extra on a fully-loaded Dragon is not so negligible. However, I do agree we're getting into WP:FORUM territory. Face-smile.svg We wouldn't be having this discussion if SpaceX had communicated some hard data about their Block 4 and Block 5 upgrades; hopefully this will come with the next B4 flights. — JFG talk 17:14, 18 August 2017 (UTC)

Is block 4 a part of v1.2 (Full Thrust)?[edit]

The recent Falcon 9 launch was reported to be a "block 4". Spacex has not said anything themselves about the CRS-12 flight being on a new revision of the rocket. Before this every major new version of the rocket was reported by Spacex(v1.1, v1.2(FT)). The FAA license from february 2017 for future flights of the dragon capsule from 39-A Clearly states that it only covers the "Falcon 9 Version 1.2 launch vehicle", since we have not seen a new license for Dragon launches from 39-A it can be assumed that the rocket that flew on CRS-12 was a v1.2 or "FT". — Preceding unsigned comment added by Almightycat (talkcontribs) 23:03, 14 August 2017 (UTC)

My understanding is the differences are minor enough to consider Block 4 an iteration of the Full Thrust vehicle, but of course that's not a source for Wikipedia. Sources have considered it different enough to report on it as a separate block, though, so I think it's fair to separate it out on Wikipedia even if the difference isn't significant for the FAA. Appable (talk | contributions) 04:30, 15 August 2017 (UTC)
I'm on the fence about this. Initially I supported the insertion of "Block 4" statements as reported by a couple sources, but the lack of specific information on Block 4 is disturbing. I would tentatively call it "FT B4" in the table and point to the Falcon 9#Falcon 9 Block 4 section, but I would not create a separate category for stats and in the Falcon 9 infobox. For all we know, this was the 19th flight of a Falcon 9 Full Thrust, which included some unspecified tweaks from previous versions. The most visible change that happened recently were the titanium grid fins: SpaceX talked about it, sources gave details and nobody called it a new block. I suppose we would see stronger comments from the company if there were indeed significant changes to the newly-flown version. — JFG talk 08:53, 15 August 2017 (UTC)
At the post CRS-12 press conference they noted that it had aluminum grid fins. Given the lack of concrete verifiable information about Block 4 we really shouldn't be including much about it in the article Greg (talk) 17:16, 15 August 2017 (UTC)
It is worth noting that sources such as NASASpaceFlight indicate that Block 4 has uprated thrust, but this launch obviously did not have that - so this Block 4 is likely not the full Block 4. (there's also some indications, obviously not a Wikipedia source though, that Block 4 upper stage has flown in multiple previous missions) Appable (talk | contributions) 17:33, 15 August 2017 (UTC)
Correct. Perhaps "block 4" certification covers only the unspecified second-stage changes? I wouldn't be surprised that the X-37B mission required some special capabilities from the second stage to position their payload in an unusual orbit. Obviously that's just guesswork. I think we should refrain from making any assertions about this "block 4" until we get correct specs from an authoritative source. — JFG talk 04:19, 16 August 2017 (UTC)
Just checked the video, confirming that CRS-12 first stage was equipped with the old-style aluminum grid fins.[1] This may be a block 3 first stage with a block 4 second stage? — JFG talk 08:34, 16 August 2017 (UTC)
Isn't the block 4 a transitional designation? Maybe each block 4 will be outfitted slightly differently if this is the case. — InsertCleverPhraseHere (or here) 10:16, 16 August 2017 (UTC)
Okay, turns out I was very wrong. When I said the launch obviously did not have [uprated thrust], what I meant was it did. Here's a new NASASpaceFlight article, from an author that has in the past shown access to reliable insider sources. Note that the first Block 4 did make use of increased-thrust Merlin 1D engines and with a final thrust increase set to debut on the Block 5. So the changes are incremental, as InsertCleverPhraseHere suggested, but nevertheless Block 4 is a real designation. Appable (talk | contributions) 16:55, 16 August 2017 (UTC)

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