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Why SpaceX Really Lands In The Ocean (Physics)



SpaceX has been landing their boosters on a small drone ship in the middle of the Atlantic ocean for many years now. But, aside from looking cool, why does SpaceX actually land in the ocean? After all, they have to transport the booster all the way back to the coast. If they simply landed at the launch site, they could save millions of dollars every single year in transport costs. Moreover, the ocean is not nearly as stable as land, thus increasing the chances of a failed landing. Despite this though, SpaceX continues to land its boosters in the ocean. The first reason that pops to mind is safety for people down below, and though this does play a role in the decision, the main reason SpaceX continues to land its boosters in the ocean is actually because of physics. This video explains the physics behind why SpaceX chooses to land its boosters in the ocean and the future of booster recoveries.

Discord Community:
https://discord.gg/SJUNWNt

Timestamps:
0:00 – Landing In The Ocean
1:12 – High Horizontal Velocity
4:23 – Changing Directions
7:01 – Law Of Conservation Of Energy
9:44 – Landing At The Launch Site

Thumbnail Credit:
https://bit.ly/2OmiEVM

Resources:
https://pastebin.com/7nzyVT1H

30 Comments

  1. Thanks for the interesting physics lesson. But man, this could have been answered soooo much easier: Because the the rocket is not just flying straight up, but in an arch, it will have to come down somewhere else. And that other place is where there's water.

  2. a long video to say it takes less fuel to land out on the ocean. and some launches need more fuel than others so you might not have the fuel to fly back.

  3. Why YouTubers ain't got no good grammar?

    In case it isn't clear, I'm grammar Nazi'ing about the question mark in the thumbnail. Fix it, please. Why space x lands in the ocean is a statement. Not a question.

  4. You’re explaining why they don’t land where they launched from, not why they land on the ocean.

  5. I'm here after the booster didn't make it into the drone ship and crashed into the ocean yesterday.. what a bummer

  6. Technically, couldn't they just orbit the earth once and land back around the launch site that way?

    I'll be awaiting my Nobel prize in the mail for this revolutionary idea. Thank you. – completely original commentator

  7. I've wondered how much payload the starship will sacrifice by doing a return to launch site rather than landing on a barge, theres a problem though because it'll need to be a huge barge. Although perhaps those oil platforms SpaceX purchased would be ideal.
    Theres one other more major factor why aircraft are more efficient in atmosphere than rockets, they don't need to carry around oxidiser, which can account for 2/3s of a rocket's launch mass.

  8. I'd like to see a video about the physics, advantages and disadvantages of solid fuel boosters as I understand that the Iranians have recently used this tech.

  9. *me explaining this video to my dumb cousin*
    Me: you have 11 dollars and It takes you 10 bucks to get to the space from ground, now you can have a drone ship right where you'll fall and land with 1 Dollar which will come back to you later or.

    somehow get 10 dollars in the name of God to get from space to ground which is impossible so traust mi droan beytter.

  10. congrats! u've made profit by making a 10 minutes answer. why don't u disable comments as well? c'mon, u may lose more money

  11. Given the facts above, why is Musk aiming to land the Starship booster back at the launch pad? Am I missing something here?

  12. I actually understood this, thanks Hari! I can say understand some rocket science I guess 😂