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The John Batchelor Show Hotel Mars, Wednesday, 4-15-15 April 16, 2015

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The John Batchelor Show Hotel Mars, Wednesday, 4-15-15


Special Guest:  Rand Simberg

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Guests: John Batchelor, Rand Simberg, Dr. David Livingston. Topics: Space X Falcon 9 launch & landing attempt plus ULA Vulcan rocket. You are invited to comment, ask questions, and discuss the Space Show program/guest(s) on the Space Show blog. Comments, questions, and any discussion must be relevant and applicable to Space Show programming. Written Transcripts of Space Show programs are not permitted without prior written consent from The Space Show (even if for personal use) & are a violation of the Space Show copyright. We do not permit the commercial use of any Space Show program or part thereof, nor do we permit Space Show programs to be edited, placed on YouTube, or other private channels & websites. Space Show programs can be quoted in news articles, papers, academic & research work but must be cited or referenced in the proper citation format. Contact Dr. Livingston for questions about our copyright and trademark policies which we do enforce. This program is archived on The Space Show website, podcasting, and blog sites with permission from John Batchelor. Please visit the John Batchelor Show website for more information about this fine program, www.johnbatchelorshow.com. Remember, your Amazon Purchases Can Help Support The Space Show/OGLF (www.onegiantleapfoundation.org/amazon.htm). For those of you listening to archives on live365.com & rating the programs, please email me the reasons for your rating. This will definitely help improve Space Show programming. Thank you. Please note that audio and transition issues are a result of copying the John Batchelor broadcast & are not within my control as they originate in the Batchelor studio.


John Batchelor and I welcomed back Rand Simberg to discuss the recent Falcon 9 launch and barge landing attempt of the Falcon 9 first stage. In addition to discussing these events, we talked about the recent SpaceX statements about trying to land the first stage on land at either the Cape or Vandenberg. Rand talked about what would be needed to do that. Next, we talked about the recent press conference and release of information by ULA regarding their Vulcan rocket project and their plans to recover the first stage rocket motor. Rand also had much to say about the CEO at ULA and the different direction the company seems to be taking.


You can email Mr. Batchelor or Rand Simberg through me at drspace@thespaceshow.com and by using Anatoly’s website


1. Kristophr - April 18, 2015

Maybe they need a more squat first stage?

The whole thing looked top heavy to me.

2. robertinventor - April 16, 2015

Just to make the idea clearer, Idea is, the treadmill could be linked to visual feedback from the rocket as it lands it could automatically move to keep it balanced, is the sort of thing that is done quite often. Just for those few seconds when it is almost landed but starting to topple over, move the platform in direction of the topple, keep doing that until it is stable.

And because it is an omnidirectional platform, nothing much moves physically, just the material that covers the platform, which can be quite thin. A bit like a tank tread.

3. robertinventor - April 16, 2015

Hi there, I had an idea about the barge landing, wonder if Space-X have thought about it? I mean – you’d think surely they would, but – it involves a bit of lateral thinking, so just thought might suggest it on the remote chance that it is a new idea :).

It’s the idea to put an omnidirectional treadmill onto the barge.

Like this, but much larger of course

The idea is – that it could automatically move in opposite direction to the sea, so creating a stable platform for the rocket to land on, no matter what way the ship is moving.

For that matter, if the rocket has trouble landing – the problems arose after its legs were already on the barge. So at that point, the omnidirectional treadmill could move in the opposite direction, computer controlled, instead of the lateral jets to help keep it upright. Or as well as them.

Because then – you don’t have to carry any of the fuel needed to move the treadmill on the rocket. So it could be as powerful as you like no problem.

So – it could be used to deal with winds as well, to help keep it upright when the lateral jets are not quite powerful enough.

Just an idea, no idea of the engineering. Can you scale it up to rocket size? And – how robust would it be?

B John - April 24, 2015

The whole idea is to land anywhere with rocket power. If they can’t make that work, I think that Elon Musk would lose interest and leave SpaceX. A helicopter lands anywhere using its engine, not parachutes or airbags or water splash downs. If helicopters only could land on very special and advanced landing pads, there wouldn’t exist any helicopters today.

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