• MarcVader

    Probably not a drone, but old fashioned dolly and crane.

  • duheagle

    Crane, yes. Dolly, no. Rocket factories have overhead track cranes so no dolly would have been required. An overhead crane with a camera on a “hook” would also be the way to get those Busby Berkeley-esque descending shots inside the tanks.

    This footage was a bit disorienting on a first viewing as some of the horizontal tracking shots started near the engine ends of the 1st stages and proceeded “up” their lengths while others started from the upper ends and proceeded “down.”

    The footage is not visibly timestamped, but it was interesting to note the presence of an obviously recovered 1st stage in one of the shop floor final assembly fixtures. There were no obvious identifying marks I could see, but I think the only recovered stage ever to be brought all the way back to Hawthorne was the very first one recovered in Dec. 2015 as part of the Orbcomm mission. I believe all the other recovered stages have been post-processed at McGregor.

    The reason the recovered stage is in the assembly fixture in this footage is probably so that it could be cleaned and its landing legs – which were removed after flight – could be reattached prior to its being moved outside as a monument. That was done in August of last year. This footage, then, is probably a year or more old.

    The first-ever recovered Falcon 9 1st stage now stands on the extreme southeast corner of the SpaceX factory property behind a fence. The stage now sports blinking red collision avoidance lights at night for the benefit of air traffic inbound to Hawthorne Airport which is located immediately north of the SpaceX factory. The stage is by far the tallest thing in its immediate vicinity and is easily seen from the Gardena Fwy. (105) which runs just north of the Hawthorne Airport. The stage is not easily visible driving down Crenshaw Blvd. from the north because of the raised earthworks and the Crenshaw overpass of the 105 Fwy. Driving north on Crenshaw, though, the stage is easily visible on clear days from at least six miles away. On overcast days, the off-gray stage tends to blend into the background sky until one gets closer.

  • Mr Snarky Answer

    The booster ready for tomorrow never saw McGregor the second time around. They did a 6 second SF instead of typical 3 in place of SF on the stand.

  • duheagle

    I’d be interested in knowing what your source is for that info. The stage to be used for Bulgariasat 1 is the same one that launched from Vandy in Jan. as the F9 return-to-flight mission following the Amos-6 accident. On its first mission it carried 10 Iridium Next birds. It landed on an ASDS as a shore-based landing zone did not yet exist at Vandy. A stop at McGregor would not have been out of the way for an F9 1st stage on the way from Vandy to Kennedy. There has certainly been ample time to do any refurb work necessary and to do a static fire at McGregor before passing the stage along to LC-39A.

    A landing pad has since been built at Vandy on the site of former SLC-4W, the companion pad to the SLC-4E pad SpaceX uses for F9 – and, someday, FH – launches at Vandy. The new landing pad will probably be used for the upcoming Iridium Next mission on the 25th.

  • Mr Snarky Answer

    I bet you would.

    Here is public facing info:

    https://twitter.com/nasaspaceflight/status/875486181198376960

  • Mr Snarky Answer

    Long term SpaceX wants to avoid moving cores around. Refurb should be local to lauch ideally. Just because McGregor is on the way doesn’t mean it’s ideal to unpack and burn time, and money, on a very busy test stand if you don’t need to.

  • JamesG

    Thats not exactly verified fact. More like second (or third) hand rumor. But, its on the internet so it must be true right?

  • JamesG

    But yet watch the video. There is an obviously flown 1st stage torn down to its welds right next to a virgin booster.

    I think the SX “spin” of wanting “airliner turn around” is probably at odds with the (prudent) reality.

  • Mr Snarky Answer

    Believe whatever you want if it makes you feel better. This is not where/when I found out about it and Chris B isn’t some random person sounding off in ignorance.

  • Mr Snarky Answer

    How do you know they weren’t FH side cores slated for conversion? You don’t.

  • JamesG

    LOL. I stopped even lurking on NSF because too many people with supposed credentials are spouting off wishful thinking or total BS. Like I said, careful…

  • JamesG

    Doesn’t matter does it? You’ll hope any reused booster will get the same loving care as the next.

  • Mr Snarky Answer

    And Chris B is not a random person on NSF either.

  • JamesG

    Yeah, he’s the head random person. lol

  • Mr Snarky Answer

    No they need to break the octaweb for welding on attach points, that requires going back to mothership. Swapping dance floor and grid fins does not.

  • Mr Snarky Answer

    Right….

  • JamesG

    Don’t drink so much of the koolaide.

  • Mr Snarky Answer

    I’ll take that as you have no rebuttal. This core was refurbished at the Cape, just like they plan to do in the old SpaceHab building.

  • JamesG

    Yup. I don’t rebutt fanboi-ism.

    Which core? BulgariaSat?

    Don’t correlate SX setting up refurbishment facilities in FL and TX with them some how slacking on the established checks and overhaul procedures.

  • Mr Snarky Answer

    Yes the only core we have been talking about. Those checks, as it turns out, can be done outside Hawthorne. You are building a straw man.

  • JamesG

    Not really. You were implying that SX is going to start round off corners. I was just attacking your source. 😉

  • Mr Snarky Answer

    No, the extended SF burn data provides the confidence needed. No corners cut but no waste either. Duh

  • JamesG

    Until… “uh oh!”

  • Mr Snarky Answer

    The McGregor SF isn’t full duration either.

  • JamesG

    The SF is just the final test. Hundreds if not thousands of manhours of work goes on before before they get to the point of turning the noise makers back on.

  • Mr Snarky Answer

    Yes and that can be done at the Cape. I’m finished tonight as you can’t even follow the plot.

  • JamesG

    The plot is that it doesn’t matter where they do the SF. The Cape, McGreggor, or your front yard.

  • duheagle

    Refurb will be done locally at Kennedy/Canaveral. SpaceX already has a long-term lease on a former Shuttle payload integration facility near the Port Canaveral docks that it is going to convert and expand for refurb and warehousing of recovered stages. This process would not seem to include any long-duration test firing as is done with new cores, just the usual hot-fire a few days before liftoff.

    So perhaps this ex-Orbcomm core did bypass McGregor and is a pioneer of the intended future long-duration-test-fire-free refurb processing flow. But McGregor isn’t so busy that stopping by on the way from Vandy to Kennedy would have been some major imposition at this point. Perhaps SpaceX will humor us all and have something to say about this, on the record, before the Bulgariasat mission launches.

  • Were those the new helium tanks at the end?

  • Mr Snarky Answer

    I was responding to the statement up thread that all refurb were done at McGregor, which is incorrect. That was it until your mindless diversion occurred.

  • Mr Snarky Answer

    Well here is an article that was sourced by SpaceX insiders. Of course JamesG will claim “fake news” and run around claim his own intuitions are more accurate, but they are not.

    https://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2017/06/spacex-static-fire-next-falcon-9-flight-proven-booster/

    SpaceX has directly said they were over paranoid the first time around and have done less work to refurbish this core.

  • Machdiamond

    You should reconsider that comment. NSF has L2 which is the only place where people authorized to talk for SpaceX are regularly posting exclusive info and debunking false rumors.

  • JamesG

    And then there is everyone else posting said false rumors.

  • JamesG

    You’re welcome. lol.

  • JamesG

    Looks like.

  • JamesG

    Its called “due diligence” in polite company.

  • ReSpaceAge

    Or after is successfully gets to orbit.

    🙂

  • ReSpaceAge

    thanks for the entertainment fellows

  • Mr Snarky Answer

    Due diligence != throwing baby out with bath water

  • JamesG
  • duheagle

    The linked article is still, at best, ambiguous anent the question of whether the refurb and checkout processing of flight-proven stages has yet dispensed with a long static fire in McGregor as is done for new stages. There is an implication that this may be so, but no straight up declaration. And there’s also the fact that pictures were released of at least one of the flight-proven side boosters for the first FH mission being static fired at McGregor. I still think we need to hear just what’s what from SpaceX.

  • Mr Snarky Answer

    Reading the plain English along with Tweet is clear. For certain topics source info is watered down. I’m sure after mission and as reuse is standardized the process will be less opaque. Only one side core has made it to McGregor so far. Other is either still in Hawthorne or en route.

  • Terry Stetler

    Wrong. Please, catch up. The Octaweb is now mostly made of bolted together segments, not a full weld-up. To change F9 to an FH booster they just need to swap in the necessary segments, not swap the whole Octaweb or cut/weld it.

  • Mr Snarky Answer

    I am aware of this change. When did it come in? Which block?

  • Mr Snarky Answer

    And still need proper jigs to do that kind of work.

  • duheagle

    No insider knowledge here, but if the Octaweb was formerly a unitary structure, whether welded up or machined from a billet or a forging, it’s now probably just a three-piece structure. Most of it is probably still a unitary structure with just the smallest possible areas nearest the left and right FH attachment points being bolt-in pieces that come in four different models:

    (1 & 2) left and right inserts for standard F9 service.

    (3 & 4) left and right inserts for FH side core service.

    A standard F9 gets 1 & 2 installed. A left-side FH booster conversion gets 1 swapped for 3 with 2 left in place. A right-side FH booster conversion gets 2 swapped for 4 with 1 left in place.

    Given that the Octaweb is round, these inserts probably have a profile like a “cookie bite” or a “pie slice” or something in between.

  • windbourne

    for the moment, I would agree. BUT, with the next change, I would think that they will have it down to doing turn around in a day or so.

  • publiusr

    I don’t know that I would allow a drone to fly around like that–it might hit something important.