Space, the Bowie way

Over the weekend, SpaceX released the official video of last month’s launch of Falcon Heavy.

Anytime you can marry science, fire, smoke and David Bowie, it’s a good thing.

Until now, SpaceX hadn’t shown any video of one of the boosters missing the landing ship in the Atlantic and smashing into the ocean. And even in this video, it’s barely visible for but a few moments.

  • MrE85
  • John O.

    Sounds like a great name for a band: “Falcon Heavy & Starman.” Not to be confused (of course) with “Bachman-Turner Overdrive.”

    • Rob

      Interstellar Overdrive?

  • Al

    The government communications person in me is pretty envious. This is great, well-crafted publicity.

  • kevins


  • Ben Chorn

    From what I read online, the booster was supposed to miss the landing ship. Supposedly they tell the rocket to miss by 18″, and only if it is coming in at safe speeds etc. will it right itself and instead land on the ship. I can’t imagine the engineering that goes into something as complicated as autopilot rocket landing.

    • jon

      This was a 3 engine landing for the center core…
      Normally they only do one engine (like the side cores did) but it was going to fast for a single engine to slow it down enough.

      But even with a single throttled down merlin engine an empty falcon 9 will go up…. (not fast, and not particular far up because it’s empty.) so the engine needs to fire just long enough at just the right time that the rocket hits 0 velocity (or close to) right as it reaches the ground/ship and then cut out… because if it keeps firing the rocket doesn’t land, it just takes off again.

      I don’t think they’ve ever successfully recovered a rocket with a 3 engine landing (one at sea landed without a boat and was seen floating in the atlantic, but that rocket was later scuttled to avoid being a shipping hazard).

      So it’s no surprise that it might take them a few tries to stick the high speed landing for the center core… but given the one that landed in the ocean intact, and how close it was this time, I suspect the block 5 first stage falcons will eventually be sticking the landing for both the falcon 9 and falcon heavy, what will be really interesting will be the turnaround time, and the ultimate size of the falcon fleet (because reuse means they will stop building new falcons and probably focus on building BFRs, once they have enough falcons to fill all of their orders (or possible launch windows))

  • Rob

    Per Bowie/Ziggy Stardust: “Is There Life On Mars?”

    Per Elon Musk: “We must colonize Mars to preserve the human species following a third world war.”