The man did get to the moon . There have been many conspiracy theories that cast doubt on that milestone, and now there are those that try to do the same with the achievements that SpaceX has achieved with its Falcon 9s.
Doubts have been raised above all by the ability of these reusable rockets to land again: several times it has happened that the video was cut just when they were going to land , something that for many generates suspicions. Experts have already explained why these cuts occur, something that seems to dismantle those conspiracy theories.
Where’s my rocket?
Last June 1 we were witnessing a very special achievement: a private North American company put man in space for the first time , and after the launch, many were attending this unique highlight of the process: the return of the Falcon 9 rockets to our planet . That successful return of rockets like the Falcon Heavy (in this video, from an Arabsat-6A) in January 2019.
In the video that SpaceX and NASA aired everything seemed to be going perfectly, but just before landing on “drone ships” with the landing pad, the image was cut off . A message appeared on the screen reporting the loss of signal from the platform , called “Of course I still love you”. A few seconds later the signal returned with the Falcon 9 already perched on that platform.
Both on SpaceX’s YouTUbe channel and on Twitter there were messages about the strangeness of the situation , which some described as a hoax . This is far from the first time it has happened , and sometimes that had meant that soon afterwards we knew that the rocket had not landed .
The Falcon 9 landings were slow to come to perfection , although there were successes during those tests to achieve their dream reuse .
A reasonable signal cut
That makes some suspect if the Falcon 9 really does land on that platform or it’s quite a rig. However, that emission cut has an explanation , as indicated on the Primal Space channel.
There one of his explanatory videos precisely analyzed how these emissions are produced. The ships with these landing platforms have equipment that allows the video signal that is being captured to be transmitted through a satellite connection .
That connection is unidirectional, which causes the Falcon 9 rocket to cause its reactors to vibrate the signal, making it too unstable. In the end, that signal is cut, and then returns after a few seconds when everything stabilizes.
The solution is apparently simple: SpaceX could have a second ship connected to the first one that was dedicated precisely to sending the video signals and was not affected by the vibrations of the Falcon 9 when landing.
At the moment the company has not taken that path, and what it usually does is publish the video of the Falcon landing 9 days after it occurs.
So far it has not done so with this recent launch, although SpaceX’s activity is frantic : just three days after the launch of the two astronauts, another space mission was launched thanks to a Falcon 9 that for the first time achieved five reuses.
Musk’s idea is to achieve total reliability in those landings to end up using platforms on land and not at sea. Doing it this way allows you to avoid more serious accidents, but the goal is to end up making the Falcon 9 end up landing near the launch sites .
A curiosity: why the platform is called ” Of course I still love you? “. Here Elon Musk decided to pay tribute to science fiction author Iain M. Banks . Both that platform ship and the first one used, called ‘Just Read The Instructions’, were names of large spaceships from the novel ‘The Player’ (‘The Player of Games’) that Banks published in 1988.