Space X made history on Thursday, with their flight mission SES-10 reusing a rocket recovered from a previous mission. However, although they may have successfully reused a rocket (which we have to take at their word), we did not get to see the rocket landing on the platform. Apparently, as the announcer in the video says @ 27:30,
“Ah, it looks like we may not have continuous video feed from the drone ship right now. Like we said, this is expected. We don’t currently have direct line of sight with that drone ship. We only have a satellite link, and as it gets down kinda close, those … engines vibrate and sometimes we lose video …”.
Then you hear all sorts of cheering as someone on the P.A. system announces something. The feed then comes back at 28:18 to show the rocket standing upright on the platform!?
Unfortunately, we didn’t see the rocket land. Therefore, how can we be sure that you really landed that rocket and can reuse it?
To further back up the possibility that the rocket did not land on the platform, we can do some math:
@ 22:50, you see the rocket decoupling and starting its’ decent back to earth at a distance of 114km. At terminal velocity, 200m/s, that rocket would take (
114km*1000 / 200m/s) 570 secs (9.5mins) to smash into the earth. However, the rocket apparently lands on the platform at 28:18, just 5mins and 28seconds later.
Keep in mind that these calculations are estimates. We know that their altitude is not necessarily 114km up, but it’s close to that. The atmosphere is said to be ~100km up from sea level, and, as they mentioned, they had just passed that point. Further to that, when the rocket decouples, it still goes up for a few seconds before starting to fall. However, these small variations in the calculations shouldn’t result in a 4 minute discrepancy.
Honestly, we love everything that Elon Musk brings to the table. But this video feed issue, along with the numbers, doesn’t add up, and we need some clarification.