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  #151  
Old 04-08-2016, 01:23 AM
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The towers are for lightning protection, and the wires act as you might expect--as conductors to carry away the electrical discharge. Basically giant lightning rods.
  #152  
Old 04-08-2016, 01:27 AM
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Thanks!

Maybe trying to land on the same pad might just be a bit tricky...

But I really, really want to know how the rocket and barge do that dance - the barge can't be perfectly level at touch down - does the rocket "hover" until the pitch is within some tolerance?
  #153  
Old 04-08-2016, 01:38 AM
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They have a separate pad for landing that doesn't have the towers--in fact it's well away from any large structure. You don't want to take out your gantry/propellant tanks/etc. if something goes wrong! On the occasions where rockets explode close to the pad, the fact that you lose the pad is as much a problem as the loss of the rocket itself. They don't want the same exposure for their landings as well, especially since they're still experimental.

As far as the barge landing goes--they definitely do not hover, because they literally can't. The rocket has too much thrust to hover in place, and in any case not enough fuel.

The legs can absorb a certain amount of shock, so there's a bit of wiggle room, but if the barge is rocking too much, they'll abort and dump it in the drink. The landing slope is such that they can abort very close to the last few seconds. If they get unlucky and a big wave comes up... well, them's the risks in rocketry.

Perhaps one day they'll have a large, stable platform, like an oil rig. It's probably not worth the effort today, but maybe someday.
  #154  
Old 04-08-2016, 08:52 AM
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nm

Last edited by Grey; 04-08-2016 at 08:53 AM.
  #155  
Old 04-08-2016, 09:14 AM
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As Dr. Strangelove noted, the towers are part of the lightning protection system. Rockets are prone to lightning strikes both on pad and in flight (Apollo 12 was hit by a strike that temporarily disabled the primary power distribution system and forced a reboot of the CSM during ascent) and most launch facilities are oceanside where storms and hurricanes are not uncommon.

A large ocean barge is very stable in WMO Sea State 4 or less, to the point that you really won't feel motion unless you are looking at thr horizon. It's not that different from landing on a land-based pad. The bigger challenge is navigation. The position of a land-based landing site is known to high precision and can be arbitrary in size. A barge, on the other hand (or rather, the water it sits in) is moving and its position needs to be constantly transmitted to the landing vehicle so that it can navigate to the landing site. It you watch the videos of landing attempts, the vehicle doesn't hover at all (which would waste fuel which they want to minimize in order to gain greatest performance upon ascent); it just comes in arse first, throttles up to slow for the final approach, and then plops down on the deck and shuts down the engines. There is no real opportunity to recover from any misalignment; they do have ACS thrusters up top, but they're really intented to reorient the stage during initial reentry and don't have enough thrust or control authority to correct for a gross failure upon final approach, and in fact if the vehicle had a significant yaw or pitch rate they would likely limit cycle and use up all of the gas before landing was complete.

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  #156  
Old 04-08-2016, 09:20 AM
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Thanks for the bump lazybratsche.

Note that due to the ISS payload, NASA TV is carrying today's launch in addition to the usual SpaceX webcast.
  #157  
Old 04-08-2016, 01:40 PM
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I've got a good feeling about today's barge landing. I think they'll nail it.

It's gotten so exciting lately - all these launches to watch and look forward to.
  #158  
Old 04-08-2016, 03:25 PM
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T-18 minutes, NASA and SpaceX streams are live, weather is good, and I've got my snacks...
  #159  
Old 04-08-2016, 03:53 PM
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Fuck yeah! They stuck the landing. That was gorgeous.
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Old 04-08-2016, 03:54 PM
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And it worked! And almost right on the bulls-eye.

Last edited by Folacin; 04-08-2016 at 03:55 PM. Reason: ninja-ed
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Old 04-08-2016, 03:54 PM
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Successful landing!

Watched at live from T-15min or so
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7pUAydjne5M

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  #162  
Old 04-08-2016, 03:55 PM
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That was awesome
  #163  
Old 04-08-2016, 03:57 PM
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Nailed it!!!

That was a thing of beauty!
  #164  
Old 04-08-2016, 03:58 PM
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That was so slick I thought I was watching an animation at first.
  #165  
Old 04-08-2016, 04:02 PM
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This was the first SpaceX launched I've actually had the chance to watch. That was awesome!
  #166  
Old 04-08-2016, 04:07 PM
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Phhhhht!

They couldn't even hit the silly bulls-eye.

What a bunch of losers!

I take it the barge is now on course back to land, and it is the motion which was creating the waves fore and aft.
  #167  
Old 04-08-2016, 04:08 PM
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Man--that was a beautiful landing!


Quote:
Originally Posted by Sarabellum1976 View Post
I've got a good feeling about today's barge landing. I think they'll nail it.
Any tips on the next Powerball numbers?
  #168  
Old 04-08-2016, 04:10 PM
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Awesome!
  #169  
Old 04-08-2016, 04:12 PM
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Beautiful, just beautiful. Well done SpaceX.
  #170  
Old 04-08-2016, 04:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Elon Musk
Everyone said I was daft to build to land a rocket on a barge, but I did it all the same, just to show them. It blew up. So I tried a second one. That one blew up. So I built a third. That one hit the barge, fell over, then blew up. But the fourth one stayed up.
Ok - the count is off one . .
  #171  
Old 04-08-2016, 04:31 PM
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Watched the live stream, we are actually on holiday in Florida but couldn't get to see the launch. No matter. The live stream actually gives you a more complete view of what is going on.

And yes, that barge landing is so incredibly cool. It looked really choppy out there but at first glance it seemed textbook.

I'm glad we have a world where eccentric billionaires see fit to live out their fantasies.
  #172  
Old 04-08-2016, 04:44 PM
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I'm glad we have a world where eccentric billionaires see fit to live out their fantasies.
Well, until one of them builds a secret undersea lair and starts capturing nuclear submarines
  #173  
Old 04-08-2016, 07:56 PM
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There was a lot of fire visible between the engine bells and even licking up one side of the rocket at one point in this launch. I know it's just fuel-rich turbopump exhaust recirculating in the wake behind the rocket, but it's still alarming to see.

I thought it was going to crash when I saw how far off vertical it was during the landing, but they pulled it out. Apparently it was coming down in a pretty strong crosswind, which just makes this all the more impressive.
  #174  
Old 04-08-2016, 07:57 PM
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It's nice to see space advancement - in this case SpaceX's incremental engineering advances - in real time and with the excitement and joy of others. I barely remember something neat happened in 1969 (I was 3) and through the Shuttle era I still had faith in something wonderful was ahead, but the last few years were rough.

I'm excited again for a lot of reasons.

I recommend watching the weekly webcast TMRO which looks at the advancement in space science and exploration. It's one of the highlights of my week.

http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list...rIBrKUNVx87VrZ
  #175  
Old 04-08-2016, 08:09 PM
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There was a lot of fire visible between the engine bells and even licking up one side of the rocket at one point in this launch. I know it's just fuel-rich turbopump exhaust recirculating in the wake behind the rocket, but it's still alarming to see.

I thought it was going to crash when I saw how far off vertical it was during the landing, but they pulled it out. Apparently it was coming down in a pretty strong crosswind, which just makes this all the more impressive.
Fire on the back end of the rocket stage is pretty common; on the cryogenic Delta IV it is common to see the entire back end consumed as hydrogen leaks out and combusts with some of the protective insulation. It's not really a big deal, however, as everything on the aft end is either designed to withstand that heating or is protected by well-designed heat shields and thermal blankets. It is only a problem when those protective measures go wrong, as the have sometimes done, resulting in a burnthrough on a GNC cable or loss of hydraulic line on an actuator, and then it's a bad day.

I was actually more impressed that they were able to remain stable on the barge after landing in what was clearly WMO Sea State 5-6 conditions. You can see large scale whitecapping and the barge visibly rocking. I've been concerned about the integrity and reliability of the landing legs, especially after some of the problems they've had with them, but this bird appeared very steady so they seemed to have worked out any issues. It's not the way I would design a landing leg system, but it seems to work now.

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  #176  
Old 04-08-2016, 08:13 PM
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The bigger challenge is navigation. The position of a land-based landing site is known to high precision and can be arbitrary in size. A barge, on the other hand (or rather, the water it sits in) is moving and its position needs to be constantly transmitted to the landing vehicle so that it can navigate to the landing site.
To add a bit--during most launches you can hear a phrase along the lines of "recovery ship has AOS". AOS is "acquisition of signal" and means that the drone ship has successfully set up a telemetry link to transmit its coordinates and other information to the landing vehicle. You generally hear this just a bit before stage separation.

Although it is tricky, SpaceX has made this part of the landing look easy. In every instance (aside from the first ones where they didn't have the grid fins), they have hit their target within several meters. In most cases this meant impacting the drone ship itself, but in others it meant a "soft landing" over water, but still in the expected position.

This is quite astonishing because of the rather harsh conditions along the way. The most difficult part is likely the reentry burn, since the vehicle is entering the atmosphere hypersonically and doing a precision burn. No one has done this before. There have been some supersonic retropropulsion tests in wind tunnels before, but only at low thrust levels and none on a real vehicle. SpaceX has been successful on every one of these; I've lost count, but it's 8 or 10 at this point.

Quote:
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they do have ACS thrusters up top, but they're really intented to reorient the stage during initial reentry and don't have enough thrust or control authority to correct for a gross failure upon final approach, and in fact if the vehicle had a significant yaw or pitch rate they would likely limit cycle and use up all of the gas before landing was complete.
As you can see from one of their previous attempts. The RCS tries, but it's no match for gravity. Wouldn't have been enough even if there were infinite RCS propellant.

If the stage hasn't nulled displacement, velocity, rotation, and angular velocity at touchdown, there's not much they can do.
  #177  
Old 04-08-2016, 08:13 PM
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They've already released the on-board video of the landing:

https://twitter.com/SpaceX/status/718605741288894464

No kidding about that wind, you can see the entire rocket actually slid sideways after touching down and shutting off the engine.
  #178  
Old 04-08-2016, 08:49 PM
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I'm just gonna leave this here

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lSx4DGBstYA

(may include a little crude rapping)
  #179  
Old 04-09-2016, 02:51 AM
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Some 4k video of the landing.

I did a bit of pixel math on the video. The rocket enters the top of the frame at 5.2 s and touches down at 13.4. The rocket is 48 meters from base to tip, and the frame is 3.46x the rocket height. From this, we use d=0.5at2 to infer an acceleration of 4.94 m/s2.

Done a slightly different way, we can see that the rocket takes about 1 second to pass through the top plane, and passes halfway through at 5.73 s. Therefore it takes (13.4-5.73)=7.67 s to decelerate from 48 m/s, for 6.25 m/s2

Obviously these numbers are fairly crude, but they do seem to indicate that the vehicle was decelerating at about half a gee (1.5 gees if you include gravity) on average. I'd suppose that the peak is somewhat higher.
  #180  
Old 04-09-2016, 09:44 AM
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So what happens next? How is the first stage recovered from the droneship? Does it autopilot back to Cape Canaveral, as the term "droneship" would imply? Or is there some kind of recovery ship with a crane or gantry to move the first stage to the ship?
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  #181  
Old 04-09-2016, 10:20 AM
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In the press conference after Musk said that when the rocket was vented and safe a team would board the barge and weld 'shoes' over the legs to secure the rocket, then tow he barge to the Cape to unload it.
  #182  
Old 04-09-2016, 05:00 PM
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I have a hard time thinking how the rocket stage can remain upright until a crew boards and welds the legs to the barge.

How the hell does this thing not tip over?
  #183  
Old 04-09-2016, 05:13 PM
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I have a hard time thinking how the rocket stage can remain upright until a crew boards and welds the legs to the barge.

How the hell does this thing not tip over?
I read a great analogy by a commenter at Gizmodo:

"To steal a great little comparison I picked up on Reddit yesterday.. Glue an empty soda can on top of a brick. It’ll be near impossible to tip over, right? That’s the first stage right now.. About 20 tons of engine sitting right above the deck with a whole lot of empty aluminum fuel tanks towering above it. Even the remaining fuel is in the lower tank just above the engines; the upper tank is the LOX and gets vented with helium to safe the rocket after landing. They could probably sail it all the way to port like it is now, but they’ll play it safe and get it welded down to the deck for transport before they move it."
  #184  
Old 04-09-2016, 05:42 PM
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How the hell does this thing not tip over?
It has large landing legs that are splayed out, and much of the mass (the engines and Octoweb structure, reisdual RP-1) are all down near the base of the stage. Baring a structural failure of one of the legs it is probably more likely to slide laterally across the barge and fall off the side than it ia to pitch over.

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  #185  
Old 04-09-2016, 05:45 PM
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I have a hard time thinking how the rocket stage can remain upright until a crew boards and welds the legs to the barge.

How the hell does this thing not tip over?
If they were smart they'd use wide steel feet and turn the platform into an electro-magnet.

I've watched the videos from different angles and my brain refuses to believe they're real. It just doesn't look possible.
  #186  
Old 04-09-2016, 05:57 PM
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"Wide steel feet" would add a large amount of weight (the legs are actually graphite fiber broadcloth layups) and making the entire deck a giant electromagnet would be expensive and require enormous power. The engineers who designed the system have clearly performed the basic mechanical stability calculations to assure that the stage will be stable under barge movement conditions, so they seem to be smart enough.

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  #187  
Old 04-09-2016, 06:02 PM
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"Wide steel feet" would add a large amount of weight (the legs are actually graphite fiber broadcloth layups) and making the entire deck a giant electromagnet would be expensive and require enormous power. The engineers who designed the system have clearly performed the basic mechanical stability calculations to assure that the stage will be stable under barge movement conditions, so they seem to be smart enough.

Stranger
yah, I suppose welder's are cheaper to rent.
  #188  
Old 04-09-2016, 06:27 PM
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yah, I suppose welder's are cheaper to rent.
The devices, or the workmen?
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Old 04-09-2016, 06:36 PM
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The devices, or the workmen?
Both versus the cost of a rather larger electromagnet. I can't imagine welding something on a moving deck while a rocket sits there but obviously it's engineered that way.
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Old 04-09-2016, 07:02 PM
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Both versus the cost of a rather larger electromagnet. I can't imagine welding something on a moving deck while a rocket sits there but obviously it's engineered that way.
And there's probably a good supply of people and gear you could get up to that sort of task, carried over from the maritime salvage and offshore oil industries.
  #191  
Old 04-09-2016, 07:04 PM
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If you really want a means of magnetically holding the legs down, a better approach would be to have small, remote control "cars" that can drive around the deck. They would have large permanent magnets on their underside and a sprung suspension that collapses under the magnetic force. They have a slot in the front that the tip of the legs can fit into. Finally, they have electromagnets stacked with the permanent magnets that can temporarily cancel the field.

When the rocket lands, flip on the electromagnets so that the cars can drive around. Pilot them over the legs, and then turn off the magnets. The cars clamp down to the deck hard with no sustained energy required. Since the magnets only have to be on for a short period, the cars can make do with relatively small batteries.
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Old 04-09-2016, 07:35 PM
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If you really want a means of magnetically holding the legs down, a better approach would be to have small, remote control "cars" that can drive around the deck. They would have large permanent magnets on their underside and a sprung suspension that collapses under the magnetic force. They have a slot in the front that the tip of the legs can fit into. Finally, they have electromagnets stacked with the permanent magnets that can temporarily cancel the field.

When the rocket lands, flip on the electromagnets so that the cars can drive around. Pilot them over the legs, and then turn off the magnets. The cars clamp down to the deck hard with no sustained energy required. Since the magnets only have to be on for a short period, the cars can make do with relatively small batteries.
I was going to suggest that but the welders seemed so much cheaper. Also thought about a peg system where a clamp is laid over the legs and pegged in using something like an oversized cleko fastener. It would make for a quick disconnect.
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Old 04-09-2016, 08:01 PM
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Fittings are welded down to barge decks all the time, and then cut away when they're not needed. It's a very common operation.

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  #194  
Old 04-09-2016, 09:09 PM
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My concern would be the people, not the welding itself. Obviously SpaceX isn't going to send anybody out unless conditions are safe, but this could mean a loss of craft if the weather is too bad. That they want to weld on shoes means they're already concerned about the vehicle sliding around on deck; that necessarily means there could be a scenario where it's not safe enough for people.

It's probably a rare scenario, though. I'm sure SpaceX has done the analysis on the likelihood of that happening, given the necessary conditions to land in the first place, and so on.
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Old 04-09-2016, 09:16 PM
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I would be surprised if they haven't already practiced the recovery several times with a stage one mockup.
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  #196  
Old 04-10-2016, 01:11 AM
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Let me get this straight:

These people just sent several tons of stuff to - a large part of which will come back from, frigging ORBIT, and you don't think they can weld stuff onto a frigging Barge?!

I saw one story which referenced the "barge"'s underside engines which kept it in relatively one place during the descent.

But, I'm gathering the ship which provides the welding crew (Wow! welding in the middle of the ocean! How exotic!) will then tow the barge/drone/whatever to port.

Notice how high up on the rocket cylinder the legs attach - it would be nice of SpaceX showed a cut-away of the rocket with the legs deployed - that would show theposition of the internal hardware vis-a-vis the leg attach points.

Last edited by usedtobe; 04-10-2016 at 01:13 AM.
  #197  
Old 04-10-2016, 11:51 AM
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I was at Jetty Park yesterday for the launch. On the roof. Was interesting because the 3 cruise ships...a Carnival, a Royal Caribbean and a Disney.... that leave Port Canaveral on Friday afternoon were all departing just as the count down was on.

Have a picture of one of the ships with the rocket and plume just behind it as though it's launched from the ships bow. Seen many launches as CB= Cocoa Beach. I'm in it for the fireworks and want all launches to be after dark.

Look forward to the coming SpaceX Heavy. Big fireworks I assume.
  #198  
Old 04-10-2016, 09:37 PM
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I slept in (very in).

Did anyone live stream the Dragon's docking with ISS?

I found an edited-for-length video on NASA - a few minutes to go from tiny speck to at-the-end-of-the-Canadarm close-up.

SpaceX can be annoying - no, I don't want to replay the launch - I want info on the docking, you twits!

Was any part streamed live?
  #199  
Old 04-11-2016, 11:47 AM
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Yup, the capture was also streamed live. I watched some of it yesterday morning.

To be honest though, it's not very exciting... if not for blinking lights on the station and spacecraft, and the Earth in the background, you might not even realize anything is moving during the approach or berthing.
  #200  
Old 04-11-2016, 11:54 AM
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If they were smart
If they were smart? IF they were SMART?!

Dude, they're rocket scientists.

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