Debunked: SpaceX Rocket Crash Landing Anomalies

Georgie G

Banned
Banned
Someone on Godlike Productions trying to convince people that SpaceX is using special effects in their videos.

This is the video they cited as a demonstration .

At 0:52 they note a cloud moves and flashes oddly, and then claim this is evidence the video is fake.

 
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derwoodii

Senior Member.
i need to get up to speed with what is space x but this was first trawl find

http://spaceflightnow.com/2016/01/2...age-back-on-shore-after-near-miss-at-landing/

SPACEX-LAUNCH-AFTERMATH-2.jpg
this looks to be alike to space x rocket junk even after bang
elon-musk-spacex.jpg
1. the cloud effect could be shock wave passing tho
2. the camera fade and flip could be frame speed shock wave dislodge

3 the fade out rocket pre bang frame speed and HP fuel gas ejection
if your saying spacex project is CGI bunk i'll leave that as so far im not fully up to speed and need a bit more time but if vid drawn from godlike production is telling to me


 

Hevach

Senior Member.
The effect in the cloud is the shock wave. You see the same thing in explosive ordinance disposal videos. The shock wave is powerful enough to alter the density of the cloud as it passes. There's also a visible "flare" to the right of the cloud, this is also from the shock wave, and also something you see in EOD videos. It's the same basic effect as a vapor cone on a supersonic aircraft.

The wavyness is a common problem with digital cameras, because the frame is not captured simultaneously the picture goes funky from vibration. The rapid fire fade out effect is an extreme version of this which you also see in helmet mounted GoPro videos from motorcycle crashes, the cameras are extremely durable but simply can't continue to capture video while they're tumbling down the street.

The fade out just before the falling rocket explodes is from fuel escaping, the rocket is still there but partially obscured by vapor - note it does not fade evenly, but in the shape of a vapor cloud, the top edge and upward extended leg are still crisp. The rocket doesn't explode on impact, per se. As it falls, the fuel tank ruptures because rockets aren't built to survive tipping over (doing so would monumentally increase their weight, and thus fuel, making them actually more dangerous for the effort). In many accidents, the ignited engine provides the spark to ignite the escaping fuel, but in this case the engine was shut down. However, rocket fuel is incredibly volatile and electrical systems on the rocket, the barge, and the cameras were all active and some components of the engine are still hot, meaning it's only a matter of a couple frames before something ignites it, but it doesn't come out already ignited. For reasons that should be obvious the fuel is quite well insulated from ignition sources while it's still in the tank.



Edit: Personally, I think this thread should be in Open Discussion, not Rambles. It doesn't fit the PG entirely, but it's still a worthy bit of bunk to look at.
 
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sharpnfuzzy

Active Member
What is the actual claim here? That SpaceX doesn't exist? That they're lying about launching rockets ("is bullshit"), or that they never successfully (or unsuccessfully) landed the booster?

Did the people that made that video not bother to search on Youtube for Falcon9 landing footage that wasn't shot by SpaceX? There's tons of it (some examples below) and many many people witnessed the landing first hand, maybe not from close up but close enough to be able to tell what was happening. That's some lazy bunk-ing there.

 
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Georgie G

Banned
Banned
What is the actual claim here? That SpaceX doesn't exist? That they're lying about launching rockets ("is bullshit"), or that they never successfully (or unsuccessfully) landed the booster?

Did the people that made that video not bother to search on Youtube for Falcon9 landing footage that wasn't shot by SpaceX? There's tons of it (some examples below) and many many people witnessed the landing first hand, maybe not from close up but close enough to be able to tell what was happening. That's some lazy bunk-ing there.

As much as I'd love to tote these wonderful amateur videos as evidence of SpaceX's glorious achievement, all we can see here is a glowing ball of light slowly descend till it touches the ground. This is hardly independent confirmation of SpaceX's claims.

I know the skeptics will tear this apart, so we're going to need something more substantial.
 

sharpnfuzzy

Active Member
That's why I was asking about the specific claim. If it's just those exact videos that they have a problem with then @Hevach covers that above and trying to explain digital video artifacts to some people is just not worth the fight. Plus there are also other SpaceX videos showing their previous test flights (with no explosions) which I bet they would find something that doesn't look quite right in them too.



What I'm saying is take a step back and look at the bigger picture. What did those hundreds (thousands?) of people see, hear, and feel that night? Was it a weather balloon breaking the sound barrier, igniting an engine, and landing?

If it looks like a rocket, sounds like a rocket, and feels like a rocket, it was probably a rocket.
 

Georgie G

Banned
Banned
That's why I was asking about the specific claim. If it's just those exact videos that they have a problem with then @Hevach covers that above and trying to explain digital video artifacts to some people is just not worth the fight. Plus there are also other SpaceX videos showing their previous test flights (with no explosions) which I bet they would find something that doesn't look quite right in them too.



What I'm saying is take a step back and look at the bigger picture. What did those hundreds (thousands?) of people see, hear, and feel that night? Was it a weather balloon breaking the sound barrier, igniting an engine, and landing?

If it looks like a rocket, sounds like a rocket, and feels like a rocket, it was probably a rocket.
I always wondered how they manage the physics of having a rocket float in the air. Fascinating stuff here.
 

Auldy

Senior Member.
I always wondered how they manage the physics of having a rocket float in the air. Fascinating stuff here.
Vertical Take-off, Vertical Landing in rockets has been used in varying capacity for decades.

I'd agree that this doesnt belong in rambles quite yet, but a definite claim needs to be addressed in the future. But if the claim was (as the OP video so eloquently put it) "SpaceX is BullShit", then all the other supporting footage, both from spaceX and normal bystanders is good enough to debunk that claim. And if thats not enough, there are (as of today) 28 planned spaceX launches this year alone, the next being on the 6th of February.

Going back to the claim "SpaceX is Bullshit", does the video maker claim that just the landing is fake, or the whole company, and that every single launch and payload delivered has been fake too? That would be even easier to debunk!

For now, I think we should all read (or watch) the 1953 Tintin stories Destination Moon and Explorers on the Moon which used a nuclear powered VTVL rocket to get to the moon, many years before man actually did :p
 

Georgie G

Banned
Banned
I'd agree that this doesnt belong in rambles quite yet, but a definite claim needs to be addressed in the future. But if the claim was (as the OP video so eloquently put it) "SpaceX is BullShit", then all the other supporting footage, both from spaceX and normal bystanders is good enough to debunk that claim. And if thats not enough, there are (as of today) 28 planned spaceX launches this year alone, the next being on the 6th of February.

Going back to the claim "SpaceX is Bullshit", does the video maker claim that just the landing is fake, or the whole company, and that every single launch and payload delivered has been fake too? That would be even easier to debunk!
There is no claimed authorship of that video and that is the only video on that youtube channel which contains no description and has no links, so there's no way to put that into greater context.

These are the ending subtitles in that video describing the most recent attempted booster landings are:

Oh no it's falling! Explosion on impact? Or was that another magic trick?
The rocket is fading out... Fading out?
I thought this was an explosion?
Elon Musk and his fading rockets
Amazing technology!
It's called Final Cut Pro
The jig is up Elon
SpaceX is bullshit
Rather than extrapolate and suggest that the video creator believes all of SpaceX to be a scam company, I would keep this limited to the claim that:

SpaceX is using special effects on its videos of failed booster rocket landings
Obviously, if this can be debunked than it would suggest the rest of the company is legit so that would take care of any more extreme claims.
 

Hevach

Senior Member.
I always wondered how they manage the physics of having a rocket float in the air. Fascinating stuff here.
Not a rocket scientist, but I love me some Kerbal Space Program.

Basically, it's those simple point-mass physics diagrams you may have learned in high school. To ascend, a rocket's thrust exceeds its weight (in military rockets it exceeds the rockets weight by a great deal, but in spaceflight rockets the ratio is much narrower). SpaceX's rockets throttle down so their thrust is lower than their weight to descend, with their engines pointed prograde (i.e. in the direction of flight) to counter their movement. As they land, they raise their thrust to almost match their weight to minimize movement, and the small RCS thrusters you see firing around the top stabilize it vertically and arrest any horizontal motion. With a thrust:weight ratio just a touch below 1.0 they (ideally) touch down with less force than it takes to break the landing legs.

Here's a video of astronomer Scott Manley recreating the Falcon 9 landing in Kerbal Space Program, he explains much of the physics involved. His rocket is not visually accurate, and it's a bit over-engineered compared to the Falcon 9, but the physics are the same, except for all the weirdness of water physics (KSP wasn't meant to have floating or submersible vehicles when he made this video):

 
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Georgie G

Banned
Banned
Basically, it's those simple point-mass physics diagrams you may have learned in high school. To ascend, a rocket's thrust exceeds its weight (in military rockets it exceeds the rockets weight by a great deal, but in spaceflight rockets the ratio is much narrower). SpaceX's rockets throttle down so their thrust is lower than their weight to descend, with their engines pointed prograde (i.e. in the direction of flight) to counter their movement. As they land, they raise their thrust to almost match their weight to minimize movement, and the small RCS thrusters you see firing around the top stabilize it vertically and arrest any horizontal motion. With a thrust:weight ratio just a touch below 1.0 they (ideally) touch down with less force than it takes to break the landing legs.
The complete negation of all momentum in any non-vertical direction is the most impressive part of it all. They must be able to calculate the mass, velocity and orientation of the rocket down to almost perfect accuracy. You may think, "well hey that's not that big a deal in the modern age" but remember that rocket is is losing mass quite rapidly as fuel is being converted to thrust, and let's not forget that it's not possible to have propulsion exclusively to move an object one-dimensionally so whatever they are doing to off-set all other types of movement must be some really incredible stuff.
 

Landru

Moderator
Staff member
Vertical Take-off, Vertical Landing in rockets has been used in varying capacity for decades.

I'd agree that this doesnt belong in rambles quite yet, but a definite claim needs to be addressed in the future. But if the claim was (as the OP video so eloquently put it) "SpaceX is BullShit", then all the other supporting footage, both from spaceX and normal bystanders is good enough to debunk that claim. And if thats not enough, there are (as of today) 28 planned spaceX launches this year alone, the next being on the 6th of February.

Going back to the claim "SpaceX is Bullshit", does the video maker claim that just the landing is fake, or the whole company, and that every single launch and payload delivered has been fake too? That would be even easier to debunk!

For now, I think we should all read (or watch) the 1953 Tintin stories Destination Moon and Explorers on the Moon which used a nuclear powered VTVL rocket to get to the moon, many years before man actually did :p
I placed this in Rambles because the OP violated the No Click Policy.
 

Hevach

Senior Member.
The complete negation of all momentum in any non-vertical direction is the most impressive part of it all. They must be able to calculate the mass, velocity and orientation of the rocket down to almost perfect accuracy. You may think, "well hey that's not that big a deal in the modern age" but remember that rocket is is losing mass quite rapidly as fuel is being converted to thrust, and let's not forget that it's not possible to have propulsion exclusively to move an object one-dimensionally so whatever they are doing to off-set all other types of movement must be some really incredible stuff.
The fuel tanks are pressurized. A pressure sensor in the tank can accurately determine how much fuel is left, allowing the guidance computer to accurately calculate the craft's mass. This is why pieces breaking off can be so catastrophic, since it's the fixed empty mass and center of mass being altered, and that's something the craft can't easily measure in flight.

There's some clever tricks that can test a craft's mass if tank pressure can't be trusted, like wobbling reaction wheels back and forth and using gyroscopes to determine how much the craft wobbles in response. That's really not a great idea when you're under active thrust, since if the craft wobbles, so does the thrust vector.
 
The video of the KSC landing perfectly matched reality. I watched the launch, fly-back, and landing from my home near KSC. Even heard the sonic boom during the decent, and there was no subsequent "explosion" noise (we'd had heard it, as we have heard other launch failures). SpaceX stuck that landing at KSC.
 

GregMc

Senior Member.
It's interesting how rockets balance and perhaps there's a public perception that they have to go really fast to be stable like a 4th July firework so a hovering rocket seems impossible voodoo. But controlling and balancing a rocket travelling very slowly if not hovering was worked out over half a century ago.
Back in the 1940s Von Braun's team used electromechanical gyroscopes to sense rocket lean and drift and applied corrective movements to control heat resistant vanes within the A4 (V2) rocket exhaust for vectored thrust attitude correction. Historic footage Video link : Later engines including the Apollo's saturn 5s and space shuttle gimballed the whole engine to actively adjust the angle of thrust to balance their payloads like a nimble finger under a broomstick.
 

amwbox

New Member
The cloud isn't fog or shockwave or whatever...its simply the remaining liquid oxygen (the tank for which is located at the top of the booster) flashing back to gas as its pressurized tank is breached by the impact. After that much oxygen is made present, its extremely easy for whatever remaining fuel is present to blow. No conspiracy here, folks. Just have to have an understanding of how space launches, and the required hardware, work.
 

derwoodii

Senior Member.
Someone on Godlike Productions trying to convince people that SpaceX is using special effects in their videos.

Russia did it in 1959

http://img.izismile.com/img/img8/20160412/1000/daily_gifdump_1041_31.gif

The Sky Calls 1959 Небо зовёт Soviet science-fiction feature film, produced by Aleksandr Kozyr and Mikhail Karyukov, and filmed at the Dovzhenko Film Studios in 1959.
Soviet perspective from the dawn of the space race! a pair of American astronauts visit the international space station (built by the soviets) and learn of their plans for a trip to mars. ordered to get there first at any cost, they take off without proper preparation and soon are off course and headed straight for the sun! it's up to the fearless Cosmonauts to rescue the foolish Americans, sacrificing their own mission and teaching them a valuable lesson about friendship: a quite different type of propaganda than was coming from hollywood at the time. some lovely matte paintings and well-done effects (for the 50s) all in beautiful sov color make this very watchable.

skip to 106.30 for landing
 

Trailspotter

Senior Member.
The Sky Calls 1959 Небо зовёт Soviet science-fiction feature film, produced by Aleksandr Kozyr and Mikhail Karyukov, and filmed at the Dovzhenko Film Studios in 1959.
I do not remember this one, as I was three year old at the time, but I do remember a 1961 sci-fi film "Планета Бурь" (Planet of Storms). In this movie about a joint first expedition to Venus, the Soviet crew also rescues the American crew.

The film producer and director Pavel Klushantsev far ahead of his time devised many effects and techniques used by major motion pictures for decades to come.
Here is a short trailer (in Russian):

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pavel_Klushantsev
 
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