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SpaceX Looking For Help With "Landing" Video

samzenpus posted about 4 months ago | from the clean-it-up dept.

Space 110

Maddog Batty (112434) writes "SpaceX recently made the news by managing to soft land at sea the first stage of rocket used to launch its third supply mission to the International Space Station. Telemetry reported that it was able to hover for eight seconds above the sea before running out of fuel and falling horizontal. Unfortunately, due to stormy weather at the time, their support ship wasn't able to get to the "landing" spot at the time and the first stage wasn't recovered and is likely now on the sea bed. Video of the landing was produced and transmitted to an aeroplane but unfortunately it is rather corrupted. SpaceX have attempted to improve it but it isn't much better. They are now looking for help to improve it further."

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Something Awful (1)

almitydave (2452422) | about 4 months ago | (#46885093)

I smell a Photoshop Friday theme...

Watching that video on YouTube, it'd be tough to clean up or reconstruct - there's a lot of information missing.

Re:Something Awful (2)

Guspaz (556486) | about 4 months ago | (#46885657)

There's a lot of information missing to be sure, but it's still worth pointing out that SpaceX posted the raw transport stream data [spacex.com] that they got from the rocket, so reconstruction can be done on the raw data rather than YouTube.

Re:Something Awful (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46888981)

It's also worth pointing out that SpaceX is a private company with very deep pockets and they are asking people with a high degree of technical skill to fix their problem for free.

Neat (5, Insightful)

durrr (1316311) | about 4 months ago | (#46885097)

I appreciate them looking for public help. It's a gesture of trust and openness usually not seen from either goverment or private corporations.
Though I suspect most the the video is beyond salvage.

Re: Neat (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46887179)

OTOH they're a commercial company with millions of dollars in their budget.. They could pay for a professional to clean it up rather than begging for freebies.

Re: Neat (1)

DarwinSurvivor (1752106) | about 4 months ago | (#46887581)

Judging by the second video, they've already done that and are looking for some extra help. I'm sure they would be happy to hire someone that can show they have the ability to go further.

Re:Neat (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46889205)

Just hit the ENHANCE button.

you mean vertically? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46885099)

how does something fall horizontally? some strange gravity out there.

Re:you mean vertically? (2)

almitydave (2452422) | about 4 months ago | (#46885117)

In this case "fall horizontal" means "fall into a horizontal position". Not "fall horizontally".

Re:you mean vertically? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46885635)

a satellite in orbit is constantly falling. horizontally.

Re:you mean vertically? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46885737)

Not really, since there is no horizontal or vertical once you get into space and satellites can orbit the Earth in any direction, be it in line with the equator or from north to south pole or any direction in between.

Re:you mean vertically? (2)

dpilot (134227) | about 4 months ago | (#46886009)

Absolutely not. There is still significant gravity in space - it falls by inverse-square law, after all. In LEO the force of gravity is practically undiminished. For a "long" structure you'll soon find out that vertical does exist, because that's the way the long axis of that structure will be oriented. Look up "gravity gradient stabilization".

Of course that discribes the axis toward/away from the Earth. I don't know if there is any preferred direction beyond that, but it would surprise me if extended objects don't feel some force related to the direction of their orbits. Basically I'm sure of up/down, and have a feeling that fore/aft can be differentiated from port/starboard. I'd have to agree that North/South/East/West are meaningless - at least for electrically neutral structures.

Re:you mean vertically? (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | about 4 months ago | (#46886185)

The ends of an extended object stretching perpendicular to it's orbital direction (port/starboard) will feel a force towards the centre of the object.

NSEW have the same meaning in LEO as they do on the surface.

Re:you mean vertically? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46887363)

In some small satellites they use electromagnets to produce torc on the earth magnetic field to rotate or stabilise rotations of the ship.

Also in kerbal space program I align my docking ports north and south when I am in a standard prograde orbit. During a docking manoeuvre both ships would look like they are rotating with respect to each other on the same axis as the orbit. having the docking ports north and south will cause the rotation to exists through the docking port and is therefor less of an issue to compensate for. This is especially true for shallow orbits.

Let me tell you it is difficult to dock when a ship is rotating on another axis then the docking port. It means that you will have to orbit your ship around the ship you are docking with in sync with the docking port. This orbit is not a natural orbit, so you have to spend lots of RCS fuel doing this.

Re:you mean vertically? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46887231)

I think that if you put your satellite into an orbit involving moving directly towards the Earth, then your mission had better be a short one. All LEO orbits involve a largely horizontal travel with respect to the surface - ie travelling along the line of the circumference, tangentially. So GP is correct. You can afford to be elliptical if you're further away.

As other poster pointed out, there's also a tidal effect in the vertical (normal to surface) axis.

Re:you mean vertically? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46887673)

Your understanding of the subject matter is child-like. There are thousands of satellites orbiting Earth, many of which do not orbit parallel to the Earth's equator. There is NO horizontal or vertical in space, to say otherwise is idiotic.

Re:you mean vertically? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46885747)

> how does something fall horizontally? some strange gravity out there.

You're still young...

This can't possibly go wrong (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46885105)

Here's some footage. "Enhance" it. I smell a new meme.

Re:This can't possibly go wrong (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46886513)

Well he rocket is already shaped like a giant penis, so...

"Rather corrupted" is putting it mildly (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46885123)

To paraphrase Jack Handey: If the video transmission of your rocket's landing was corrupted due to a storm, let it go, because man, it's gone.

reconstruction via telemetry (1)

Eric Bacus (2942717) | about 4 months ago | (#46885129)

If we had access to the telemetry as say an FBX or Alembic file, it'd be pretty trivial to produce a visual representation of what happened, using what little video can be deciphered....without that, I don't see how anything can be salvaged

Re:reconstruction via telemetry (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46885175)

Did you already inspect the MPEG bitstream they provided to see what data it does and doesn't look like it might contain?

Re:reconstruction via telemetry (2)

sexconker (1179573) | about 4 months ago | (#46885279)

Did you already inspect the MPEG bitstream they provided to see what data it does and doesn't look like it might contain?

I did. By watching the video. It's busted beyond repair. There isn't a single worthwhile I-frame. No amount of data outside the I-frames can be used to reconstruct anything.

Re:reconstruction via telemetry (2)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about 4 months ago | (#46885439)

But did you reverse the polarity of the tachyon beam?

Re:reconstruction via telemetry (1)

cheekyboy (598084) | about 4 months ago | (#46885475)

use a 3d rendering program to reconstruct the iframe as it would be near enough, using imagination too, and guesses.

Replay the BPs and again guess whats missing.

Re:reconstruction via telemetry (3, Informative)

citizenr (871508) | about 4 months ago | (#46885525)

partially fixed clip has at least one iframe showing that camera was mounted on top of the fuselage looking down, camera was stationary = all iframes had to see same fuselage
this one iframe could be copied over all the broken ones to see if there is any useful data in the rest of the file

Re:reconstruction via telemetry (1)

Guspaz (556486) | about 4 months ago | (#46885669)

More than that, you've got good quality imagery from that same camera from the launch, and a significant portion of the frame there is going to be the same. Notably, of the two iframes that SpaceX was able to partiall recover, the big chunk missing from one of them is of the fuselage (which would be the very similar on launch).

Re:reconstruction via telemetry (1)

adolf (21054) | about 4 months ago | (#46886255)

Notably, since the fuselage is expected to look more-or-less the same throughout, superimposing a static image of it is rather useless.

Re:reconstruction via telemetry (1)

citizenr (871508) | about 4 months ago | (#46887605)

not really, it will validate if the pframe data is there, it will also show what parts of original iframes were damaged, and what type of damage you are dealing with (random garbage, bit flips, shift)

Re:reconstruction via telemetry (1)

Fnord666 (889225) | about 4 months ago | (#46886809)

More than that, you've got good quality imagery from that same camera from the launch,

Do they? I thought I read in the reddit thread that the launch video was actually from a second stage camera.

Re:reconstruction via telemetry (1)

Guspaz (556486) | about 4 months ago | (#46888713)

I haven't seen that, so I can't comment on that, but SpaceX would presumably have the raw feed from every camera during launch. If they don't, then their video director would have to be switching blindly between cameras during launch.

Re:reconstruction via telemetry (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46885593)

Just hit the enhance button a few times...from the looks of this video you might need one of the drinking birds to keep pressing it for you.

Just don't cause a nuclear meltdown.

Re:reconstruction via telemetry (1)

Black LED (1957016) | about 4 months ago | (#46885787)

Enhance! [youtube.com]

Much Wrong Here. (1)

tburke261 (981079) | about 4 months ago | (#46885159)

Well, it was Raw until YouTube re-compressed the hell out of it. Seriously, I don't think you have any shot if you start off with this YouTube footage. If they really want help we need the actual raw bitstream. I/Q output from the receiver would be even better. Even better than that would be diversity receivers. Aren't those guys the rocket scientists?

Re:Much Wrong Here. (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 4 months ago | (#46885167)

Yes, but not video experts.

Re:Much Wrong Here. (2)

mojo-raisin (223411) | about 4 months ago | (#46885177)

There's raw data in one of the links above. Some .ts format.

Re:Much Wrong Here. (1)

kromozone (817261) | about 4 months ago | (#46887129)

H264 - MPEG 4 AVC 1280x532 23.976216 FPS according to VLC. TS is transport stream, in this case an MPEG 4 transport stream.

Re:Much Wrong Here. (1)

ultranerdz (1718606) | about 4 months ago | (#46888735)

There is no such thing as MPEG4 transport stream.

Transport stream is MPEG2. Its contents can be MPEG4, MPEG4 AVC, H265 or anything else.

Re:Much Wrong Here. (5, Informative)

Vairon (17314) | about 4 months ago | (#46885193)

It still is raw. If you follow the link in the summary "looking for help" http://www.spacex.com/news/201... [spacex.com] it takes you to their page where they show you the before and after videos via youtube and give you access to the raw footage. Here's the link they provide to the raw footage: http://www.spacex.com/sites/sp... [spacex.com]

Mod parent up! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46885217)

Definately agree that the raw non-Youtubified video should be available, the addtional transcoding and compression just adds to the problem.

Re:Mod parent up! (2)

sexconker (1179573) | about 4 months ago | (#46885299)

It really doesn't in this case. It's clearly busted beyond repair. The raw stream does not have any damned I-frames that are salvageable, and the Youtube version accurately represents this fact.

Re:Mod parent up! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46885901)

True, but we have out of band information. We know the video is shot continuously (no cuts between different camera angles or cuts in time), so the image data should be linear (as in not suddenly turning into another color or luminance value). We also know that it depicts one scene, so there is a strong covariance between the macroblocks.

Re:Mod parent up! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46885983)

Eh, for SpaceX to ask for help, this is obviously something more difficult than having some frames and extrapolating the rest. It is for those who can get the damaged raw data and read PARTIAL frames.

Re:Mod parent up! (2)

DarwinSurvivor (1752106) | about 4 months ago | (#46887595)

Click the "looking for help" link and scroll to the bottom.

Re:Much Wrong Here. (2)

gargleblast (683147) | about 4 months ago | (#46885467)

Look up the acronym RTFA sometime. You might be surprised what you find.

Re:Much Wrong Here. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46886885)

Look up the acronym RTFA sometime. You might be surprised what you find.

Can't you just explain it to me?

Re:Much Wrong Here. (1)

Stuarticus (1205322) | about 4 months ago | (#46888527)

It's explained in the article.

Re:Much Wrong Here. (3, Informative)

hutsell (1228828) | about 4 months ago | (#46886997)

Well, it was Raw until YouTube re-compressed the hell out of it. Seriously, I don't think you have any shot if you start off with this YouTube footage. If they really want help we need the actual raw bitstream. I/Q output from the receiver would be even better. Even better than that would be diversity receivers. Aren't those guys the rocket scientists?

Available for download: This is the location for the original raw ".ts" file [spacex.com] . A second link is also given to a repaired raw ".ts" file [spacex.com] showing the results of their efforts. If preferred, you can also get the original ".ts" files at the spacex [spacex.com] website near the bottom of that webpage.

Try squinting? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46885297)

SpaceX have attempted to improve it but it isn't much better

No different than a porn download when I can't for it to finish downloading before hitting play. You just have to squint a little and you can make out the long cylindrical shape.

Missing video (0)

amightywind (691887) | about 4 months ago | (#46885323)

The video supposedly of one of the great innovations of the 21st century, missing! Haven't launch vehicles been carrying a rocketcam for 10 years? Let me be the first to call bullshit. Just more shouting from the rooftops by carnival barker Elon Musk.

Re:Missing video (1)

Megane (129182) | about 4 months ago | (#46885431)

Usually they are going up when they have a camera, and on a course which is accurate enough to point a dish at it to get a better signal. Even then the signal usually cuts out a bit.

Re:Missing video (0)

amightywind (691887) | about 4 months ago | (#46885493)

Do you find it odd that SpaceX would invest millions to develop a new innovation but not have a well planned means to evaluate success? Stop making excuses for them.

Re:Missing video (4, Insightful)

Guspaz (556486) | about 4 months ago | (#46885693)

Errm, they did have a well planned means to evaluate success: telemetry data. Which they have good copies of. The video is just candy.

Re:Missing video (1)

Kjella (173770) | about 4 months ago | (#46888859)

And this is the best PR stunt they could make instead of just tossing it, recovering that video has next to no practical value for SpaceX. A little geek challenge while they wait for the next test closer to land that'll probably be filmed from many angles.

A 2nd backup camera? (1)

Twinbee (767046) | about 4 months ago | (#46885667)

Whatever happened to redundant/multiple video recordings, like you know, how we back up data? Failing that, a stronger signal wouldn't hurt surely?

Re:A 2nd backup camera? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46885907)

I think the problem was in the radio link. They didn't recover the hardware, and all they have is a real-time download.

Re:A 2nd backup camera? (3, Informative)

MonkeyBoy (4760) | about 4 months ago | (#46885933)

The other cameras were on the recovery ship, which couldn't reach the recovery area without, you know, sinking. They'd have ended up roughly where the master recording currently is, resting on the ocean floor.

The problem isn't the camera, it's that the data was garbled during transmission. In part because both the source and destination locations were in constant (and, given the storm, quite random) motion. It's hard to hit the side of the barn when you're aiming from mid-air in the center of a tornado.

That they got even this much is remarkable.

Re:A 2nd backup camera? (2)

cjameshuff (624879) | about 4 months ago | (#46886031)

Stronger signals take bigger transmitters with higher power consumption. They don't normally require such a signal: for launch (and eventual solid-ground landings) they have line of sight with big receivers, and when they actually recover a stage, they'll be able to get recordings. The splashdown was below the horizon from the launch site, and the video signal was picked up from a chase plane. To top it all off, weather was lousy and deteriorating fast.

They'll have a lot more launches and landings, another water-landing test is coming up soon. Getting video on an early test that was given a 60-70% chance of failure and wasn't even an actual solid-ground landing was a lower priority than trying to make it succeed.

Re:A 2nd backup camera? (0)

BitZtream (692029) | about 4 months ago | (#46886375)

Stronger signals take bigger transmitters with higher power consumption.

Its a fucking rocket dude, the cost of a high power transmitter that doesn't use fucking mpeg or any compression is an unnoticeable drop in the bucket. Hell, 20 of them wouldn't be a noticeable dent in the budget compared to the fuel it burned holding for 8 seconds.

Its fucking retarded that this is what they have to work with.

Re:A 2nd backup camera? (3, Informative)

Hadlock (143607) | about 4 months ago | (#46887093)

There's not a lot of equipment that's flight rated for the kinds of vibration, temperature and pressure swings required by an external rocket, not to mention power source transmitter and antenna(s). Oh, and it can't interfere with the landing telemetry in any way.

Re:A 2nd backup camera? (3, Informative)

cjameshuff (624879) | about 4 months ago | (#46888035)

You *do* realize the power output of a rocket engine isn't electrical, right?

In reality, spacecraft have strictly limited power budgets. The booster's electronics are running off battery power from the moment the umbilicals disconnect. It also flew above the bulk of the atmosphere, so you can't exactly rely on air cooling to keep the transmitter from frying itself...and there's plenty of other power-consuming, heat-producing electronics that have rather more important functions. And a more powerful transmitter would be completely unnecessary for the solid-ground landings, which SpaceX hopes to start by the end of the year.

Re:A 2nd backup camera? (1)

cusco (717999) | about 4 months ago | (#46889179)

Redundant systems are only for taxpayer funded projects. Commercial systems save pennies without them, adding dollars to executive bonuses.

WTF is an "aero"plane (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46885927)

Maybe they should have transmitted to an airplane instead?

Re:WTF is an "aero"plane (1)

FireFury03 (653718) | about 4 months ago | (#46887273)

Maybe they should have transmitted to an airplane instead?

English... learn it some time.

It's down there somewhere. (1)

jtownatpunk.net (245670) | about 4 months ago | (#46886027)

Lemme take another look.

They're not going to get better results... (4, Interesting)

larwe (858929) | about 4 months ago | (#46886141)

... until they post an analog recording of the telemetry. The bitstream *as decoded* is corrupted because of demodulation errors, and you can't reconstruct data that isn't there. If they have an analog recording, then analog filters can be applied to that in an attempt to create a cleaner input signal to the demodulator stage. An analogy: They have taken a picture of a page of text, rather out of focus and dark, and used OCR software on it. All they are giving us is the output of the OCR software. We need to see the original picture so we can apply better filtering/contrast adjustments to it before attempting pattern recognition.

Re:They're not going to get better results... (2, Insightful)

Required Snark (1702878) | about 4 months ago | (#46886333)

I think you are living in the past. To the best of my knowledge nobody records analog data streams for digital video. There is very little analog hardware in the system. The analog signal pretty much goes through an A/D converter as soon as possible, and the error correction is digital.

Terrestrial broadcast HDTV in the US uses 8VSB [wikipedia.org] encoding:

8VSB is an 8-level vestigial sideband modulation. In essence, it converts a binary stream into an octal representation by amplitude modulating a sinusoidal carrier to one of eight levels. 8VSB is capable of transmitting three bits (2^3=8) per symbol; in ATSC, each symbol includes two bits from the MPEG transport stream which are trellis modulated to produce a three-bit figure. The resulting signal is then band-pass filtered with a Nyquist filter to remove redundancies in the side lobes, and then shifted up to the broadcast frequency.

Somehow I doubt that "analog filters can be applied to that in an attempt to create a cleaner input signal to the demodulator stage". That part of the system is already highly optimal.

Additionally, it's not telemetry [wikipedia.org] data in the first place.

A telemeter is a device used to remotely measure any quantity. It consists of a sensor, a transmission path, and a display, recording, or control device. Telemeters are the physical devices used in telemetry. Electronic devices are widely used in telemetry and can be wireless or hard-wired, analog or digital.

It's not from the rocket stage, it's from an aircraft observing the splashdown. This is more remote sensing. I know that this is a quibble, but you seem to be confused about the nature of data sources and encoding.

Re:They're not going to get better results... (4, Insightful)

larwe (858929) | about 4 months ago | (#46886479)

There is so much wrong in this I barely know where to begin. Nobody records analog streams for digital TV data, but this is completely irrelevant. Everybody records analog streams for spacecraft telemetry because you can't post-analyze an improperly demodulated digital data recording. Doppler velocity measurement is also performed from the raw signal, for example by mixing with a signal at the original (TXCO-controlled) carrier frequency and observing the beat. The A/D stage is NOT demodulation, it's digitization. A digitized recording of an analog waveform is nothing even remotely akin to recording the binary output of a demodulator stage. (For practical purposes, a modern recording would, indeed, be digital - but it would be a digital recording of the original received waveform, not simply a recording of the realtime output from a demod). Having the original waveform to look at allows different types of filters to be tried and applied, not just the single set of parameters that were in the realtime decoder on board the aircraft. It's absolutely the baseline for data recovery in this type of application. Telemetry = "remote measurement", a term used to refer to data streams downlinked from the vehicle that are not crew communications or control data, which includes still and moving image data.

Re:They're not going to get better results... (2)

cusco (717999) | about 4 months ago | (#46889221)

You're thinking like a scientist or a researcher, not like a businessman. Which system is cheaper? That's going to be the main criteria for something like SpaceX. How likely is it that we will ever need better data, and if we have better data will it actually make us more money? Privatization of space operations is all well and good, as long as everyone keeps in mind their rather strict limitation: the need to make money all the time no matter what.

Re:They're not going to get better results... (2)

BitZtream (692029) | about 4 months ago | (#46886519)

I think you are living in the past.

And thats why you (and if SpaceX didn't record it, them to) will fail. Kids who think like you are the reason SpaceX is asking for outside help.

I'm fairly certain you don't understand how these things actually work.

And NASA most certainly would disagree with you as well. As do I, none of my video transmitters on my aircraft are digital. Even my telemetry radios can record the analog stream, though I don't do it.

You most certainly CAN filter the analog stream to create a cleaner signal to the digital stage ... that is in fact one of the primary functions of the analog stage, but it was certainly not optimal in this case.

And for reference, this isn't 'remote sensing' or anything special, its just a standard video feed, but someone without a clue decided to use mpeg to do it. That was fucking stupid.

So, you are celearly a rocket scientist (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46887719)

Always amazes me when people think they know better than the well paid professionals who actually got the rocket in the air in the first place.

Almost certainly, the camera is a small lightweight CMOS device. Which is analog at the chip level. However, this is converted to digital as soon as it's off the sensor diodes. It's then encoded to MPEG because the telemetry bandwidth is simply too low for anything else. You can get a decent image from a tiny amount of data in the digital domain using H264 or 5. When you are bandwidth limited as they were (the numbers are much much more important than the video), your options are few, and don't really include purely analog video.

Re:They're not going to get better results... (4, Funny)

Required Snark (1702878) | about 4 months ago | (#46887991)

Sorry Chucko. Wrong on ALL COUNTS.

I was a "rocket scientist". In fact, I worked for NASA at JPL. It's a modest little place in Pasadena, California. I doubt that you heard of it.

I also worked on MEG-4 decoding software, so I know something about digital video streams.

As for being a "kid", thanks for the complement. I know I look young for my age. I wrote my first program in 1968 on punch cards for an IBM 360. In PL/1.

Now I'm going to say it again more slowly:

The. Video. Stream. Was. Not. From. The. Rocket.

It. Was. From. An. Aircraft. Sent. Out. To. View. The. Splashdown.

It. Was. Not. A. Telemetry. Data. Stream.

Since. It. Was. Not. Telemetry. It. Was. Not. Recorded. In. Analog. Form.

The. Camera. System. Was. Not. Spacecraft. Grade.

It. Was. An. Off. The. Shelf. Piece. Of. Equipment.

I hope that this makes sense to you. I know it's Slashdot, so a lack of real applicable technical expertise is the way to get modded up. Unfortunately for me, I have this problem with facts: I try to stay factual, so I often get modded down. For some reason I still keep trying. I think it's a personality flaw.

Re:They're not going to get better results... (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46888537)

I'm no rocket scientist, but i can read... The SpaceX page clearly says "[this is video] recovered from the Falcon 9 onboard camera", so what's all this nonsense about the stream being from some airplane? Also in some of the final frames of the improved video you can clearly see that it's a camera mounted on the top of the rocket looking down at the fins, seeing smoke and flame from the engines.

I really believe that you know what you're talking about, but I think in your haste you might have missed some really basic information that invalidates everything you've said. Or am I missing something?

Re:They're not going to get better results... (1)

ultranerdz (1718606) | about 4 months ago | (#46888767)

Of the shelf piece of equipment....

GoPro?

Re:They're not going to get better results... (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | about 4 months ago | (#46889141)

So if the camera was on the aircraft how did it get corrupted?
I thought that the camera was on the booster and the aircraft was there to receive data from the landing attempt. I can see that since it was probably not in LOS to any piece of land and sending the data to an aircraft would be simpler and probably cheaper than sending it to a satellite.

Re:They're not going to get better results... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46886341)

Has no Slashdotter actually compared the two files? Clearly the bytes that have changed in the repaired file have been right-shifted 1 or 2 bits and the "new" top bits (bits 7 and sometimes 6) being set (by hand?) to 0 or 1 probably as needed. I don't think I see anything shifted by three bits or more, mostly just one and sometimes two. It looks like they had trouble syncing each byte as it was received via some serial feed (without FEC I assume) -- if I had the time I'd setup a build of VLC in a debugger and step through the file fixing suspect errors by shifting the byte right once and setting the top bit to 0 or 1 or shifting it right by two bits and setting the top two bits to 00, 01, 10 or 11 (logical or with 0x00, 0x40, 0x80 or 0xC0) - a total of 6 possible alternatives for each "bad" byte. What to other Slashdotters see?

Re:They're not going to get better results... (1)

pavon (30274) | about 4 months ago | (#46888349)

Agreed. I've done this in the past and starting as close to the original analog telemetry stream as possible is essential. Even if the noise is so bad that analog filtering doesn't recover any new data in the preD, simply knowing where there is missing data and exactly how much can help tremendously in reconstructing the data. Their raw mpeg files don't provide any of that information.

SpaceX always have an excuse for failure (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46886231)

Sorry, but SpaceX's record is that of failure after failure after failure. To this day, they haven't completed a single mission without having a good share of problems and failures. And every single time, they always have a cheap excuse as to why they had the failure.

Space exploration is not a market where failure is an option. This constant lies about their failure record is showing that the company is nowhere near being ready at being reliable ... or honest.

Re: SpaceX always have an excuse for failure (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46886301)

Yeah, five Dragon launches with no loss of spacecraft, four successful berths to ISS. They should go back to playing Frogger and ordering Chinese takeout cuz they clearly are just showering the planet with busted rocket parts.

Re: SpaceX always have an excuse for failure (0)

BitZtream (692029) | about 4 months ago | (#46886559)

They claim the stage was successfully able to soft-recover. Except it wasn't actually recovered. Thats a failure by every definition, they just don't care that the overall mission was a failure, they're happy to have the onboard systems do their job.

Of course, there were systems to do this in the 60s, but hey, don't let that ruin your day. And don't let the fact that you can buy hardware and software to manage the flight itself over the counter for peanuts ... including OSS versions.

Managing a decent and hover is not exactly impressive with modern electronics. They aren't doing anything new, just reinventing someone else's wheel.

Credit where credit is due, they are DOING IT, but there are plenty of people who could do it given the money they've expended to do so.

Re: SpaceX always have an excuse for failure (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46886803)

please. references. who does this in oss and why did this in the 60s?
pardon the irony but pix or it never happened.

Re: SpaceX always have an excuse for failure (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46886951)

He's not saying anyone does it or has done it; he's saying anyone *could* have done it because it's easy. The reason nobody has done it before, apparently, is not that it's hard; it's that there's some other reason not to do it, and SpaceX may have overlooked that reason, or else solved whatever that other, *real* problem is, not that it's worth mentioning because we haven't seen it yet.

Re: SpaceX always have an excuse for failure (4, Informative)

ColaMan (37550) | about 4 months ago | (#46886821)

You seem a little harsh on them.

Recovery of the booster would have been nice for investigation, but it was never intended to be flown again and was never the stated goal. The goal for that mission was a controlled descent and touch down on the ocean, which they accomplished. A 'soft-recover' wasn't the term that they were using.

This goal needed to be reached so that Range Safety at the launch pad can determine that SpaceX can reliably put a rocket down within a mile or so of a target. The next launch - in the next week or so - will attempt to land in the ocean much closer to the launch facility.

The technical difficulties of a soft landing are considerable given the hardware that they've got. With the weight of the empty booster, they can't throttle the engines back far enough to hover. So they fall towards the surface and at the right moment fire the engines to reach a computed zero velocity at touchdown. Doing this with gusty 30-40 knot winds on the surface is tough. 'Landing' on a continuously-undulating surface where there is no consistent level is tougher.

And yes, parts of this have been done before. Sure, there's open-source avionics stacks that can do this thing no problemo. But a controlled return of the first stage of a liquid fuel rocket has never been done before, and this kind of work has most certainly never been done for the relatively tiny amount of money that SpaceX has been spending. *That* is the thing that's getting tongues wagging.

Re: SpaceX always have an excuse for failure (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46887255)

The mission (deliver Dragon to ISS with cargo) was a success.

Their experimental task, get the 1st stage to 0 velocity at 0 m so it would softly settle on the ocean was a success.

They did not expect to recover this stage.

They will try again, this time adding boost back to closer to shore in 10 days with Orbcomm satellite launch. New objectives include "pinpoint accuracy to pre-defined spot in the ocean" and this time they will have large recovery ships on-station.

Re: SpaceX always have an excuse for failure (1)

FireFury03 (653718) | about 4 months ago | (#46887283)

=Their experimental task, get the 1st stage to 0 velocity at 0 m so it would softly settle on the ocean was a success.

Most falling objects tend to get to about 0 velocity at 0m :)

Anyway, I can't help but think that it would've been smart to eject a floating lump of flash memory before the rocket sank rather than relying on a live radio link.

Re: SpaceX always have an excuse for failure (1)

cjameshuff (624879) | about 4 months ago | (#46888189)

It's entirely possible it actually was recorded in some buoyant piece of hardware, just in case...but it'd probably have been intended to be picked up out of the debris field of a descent failure in fair weather. Where would it have ended up after the storm tore the rocket apart?

They could engineer a ruggedized black box with a tracking beacon and deployment system...but that's a bit much when they've only got a few water landings left, and those are unlikely to happen in storms. I think they were more concerned with making the rocket land itself.

Re: SpaceX always have an excuse for failure (1)

cjameshuff (624879) | about 4 months ago | (#46888139)

They claim it was successfully able to return to the surface and perform a soft "landing". Which it did...and it did so in thoroughly bad weather, in high winds and on heavy waves instead of solid ground. Their mission objectives were met completely the moment the rocket cut its engine and started tipping over. Actually fishing the thing out of the ocean intact would have been a nice bonus, but it has nothing to do with their actual plans for recovery and reuse...and the only reason it didn't happen is that nobody wanted to attempt it during the storm.

Re:SpaceX always have an excuse for failure (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46886357)

Hey, look, it's the anti-SpaceX Nutter!

Re:SpaceX always have an excuse for failure (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46886521)

Yeah if only they had managed to complete their missions. Oh wait they did, the dragon capsule as at ISS.

Re:SpaceX always have an excuse for failure (0)

BitZtream (692029) | about 4 months ago | (#46886535)

Meh, I'd say they've been pretty successful by their definition.

The problem is, most people define success differently then they do and this is a particular example.

The system failed, but one part worked. They call success, but from a practical perspective it was an utter failure. The system as a whole failed and the stage was lost. To me, thats a failure.

They are just happy the thing was capable of hovering for a few seconds. Considering its a freaking guided rocket, I would expect that to be a relatively simple task when you already are capable of launching from the ground and staying on course till the stage is expended and the next one takes over.

Re:SpaceX always have an excuse for failure (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46886829)

The point of this test was never to recover the first stage.

That was a tertiary goal, absolutely, but it wasn't the primary objective of this test. Even if they had recovered it, they had absolutely no intentions of reusing this stage, since refurbishing a stage that's been exposed to salt water is more trouble than it's worth. It would take an estimated two months to get a water recovered stage ready for flight again.

SpaceX wanted to see if they could null out the rotation rate during descent to prevent another engine flame-out, successfully deploy the landing legs, have it stabilize it's descent rate, and finally hover over the surface before gently setting down. The real recoveries are only going to happen when they start landing these things on solid ground.

Bollocks (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46887731)

Even Musk before the flight said they had a 40% chance of success of the landing on the first stage. And yet by all accounts is was close to 100%. (and the Dragon delivery was 100% success). The only problem as I see it was the the video sucked and they were unable to get to the stage before it sank due to bad weather. All the other telemetry indicated the objectives were all reached - the engined ignited, the legs deployed, and the stage ended up with zero velocity at 0 height.

Since you appear to think this stuff is easy *, it appears you really don't know enough about the subject so I'll stop there.

* it isn't.

Easy fixed.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46886319)

Give it to the CSI team in Las Vegas, a few clicks, and and a couple of enhancements, apply this really cool filter that apparently people who work in crime labs design as a side project and you'll be able to read the name plate on the side of the launcher right away it will be that good.... if they are too busy solving crime I'd try the NCIS lab next....

Stop landing over the sea. (1)

andy_spoo (2653245) | about 4 months ago | (#46887061)

Seriously, land in a desert or something similar. Much easier to recover protected data storage units. If you can't hit the landing spot of a massive dessert, theres no way anyones going to let them land on a landing pad.

Re:Stop landing over the sea. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46887251)

Seriously, land in a desert or something similar. Much easier to recover protected data storage units. If you can't hit the landing spot of a massive dessert, theres no way anyones going to let them land on a landing pad.

That's what they're going to be testing at Spaceport America in New Mexico with the F9R-Dev2.

Meanwhile, the advantage of the sea "landing" is it they don't lose ~$30 million of test hardware if it ends up crashing -- since the rocket was already paid for and was going to crash into the ocean anyways.

Re:Stop landing over the sea. (1)

DarwinSurvivor (1752106) | about 4 months ago | (#46887625)

This test was to ensure that they could hit a relatively small target (at an acceptable speed to not crater the rocket). The ocean is cool in that, storms aside, you can pretty easily get to just about any part of it. Deserts are full of rocky terrain, outcroppings and small settlements that don't take to kindly to the sky falling. Now that they've demonstrated that they can hit a decent sized target, they'll probably go for a near-ground ocean landing or possibly a ground landing on their next mission.

Re:Stop landing over the sea. (1)

deadweight (681827) | about 4 months ago | (#46888071)

Besides for that, they have ULA taking out full page ads in the Washington Post about how great they are - complete with spelling errors LOL.

computer, enhance ... (2)

BigMike (122378) | about 4 months ago | (#46887887)

try "computer, enhance ..."

CSIs (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46887987)

They should just send frame by frame to the CSI guys and they will than click ----enhance----, DUH.

Forward Error correction? (1)

ultranerdz (1718606) | about 4 months ago | (#46888755)

So they try to transmit raw MPEG without any FEC coding?

I guess they could have been more successfull by beaming analog CVBS instead.

Telecommunications has improved since the 80s, you know.

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