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While I'm sure there are a number of people who are really interested in the SES-9 success, I was really hoping to see a water landing. I continue to be amazed at how difficult it appears to be to get a reliable signal from an unmanned boat out in the Atlantic back to land.

It looks like getting a signal in normal circumstances is doable, but problems occur when a 200ft rocket shows up wanting to make friends.

Lots of motion in the frame -> high bandwidth requirements.

That might cause the video to go funky, but it shouldn't cut the feed. My guess is that the satellite dish or other communications hardware gets upset when the first stage effectively takes a flamethrower to it.

Seems a likely explanation. Its the engineer in my that goes wild here though, I think "why not have the uplink on a smaller flotation unit being held in place by a sea anchor? Or given the amount of time needed to monitor the return is relatively short (you know to the minute when it "should" touch down) could you launch the uplink on a hex a copter so that it could stand off from the barge, free of vibrations while the rocket landed? How about a 2.4Ghz cross link to an independent platform with its own uplink? How about using a towed fiber optic cable to a remote relay station away from the barge? Etc. I totally understand that this is a small (and in the larger picture unimportant) part of the mission, but the problem calls to me :-)

The issue is vibration which throws the uplink out of alignment with the receiver.

Or just shakes it a lot.

You can stick a NAS into a bouy, connect it to the drone ship with a long-ass network cable and have a petabyte of storage over a 1Gbps link that will survive anything that may happen to the drone ship.

A petabyte over a 1Gbps link would take ~94 days and is probably far more than what is necessary, so I'm not sure why that's included here.

The ship itself is pretty strong.

A new market for hug of death.

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