Jump to content



Photo

SpaceX Updates (thread 2)


  • Please log in to reply
231 replies to this topic

#181 remixedcat

remixedcat

    meow!

  • 10,435 posts
  • Joined: 28-December 10
  • Location: Vmware ESXi and Hyper-V happy clouds
  • OS: Windows Server 2012 R2
  • Phone: I use telepathy and cat meows to communicate

Posted 19 June 2012 - 01:05

thanks for all the updates as always Doc. i really like Bolden, he's not only a decorated astronaut himself, but he's more of straightalker than prev admins and not so wishy washy.a lot of this is pointing to a Mars mission. I really hope we can still do it this decade, especially if China steps up to the plate.


Thanks to DocM as well! I am still excited!!!


#182 OP DocM

DocM

    Neowinian Senior

  • 19,005 posts
  • Joined: 31-July 10
  • Location: Michigan

Posted 19 June 2012 - 02:00

Florida and Puerto Rico have joined the battle for a new SpaceX spaceport.

Puerto Rico has an advantage not mentioned in the article: a huge former military airstrip with a long runway close to the likely location.

http://www.orlandose...0,5652267.story

WASHINGTON — A record-breaking mission to the International Space Station has triggered another space race back on Earth, with Florida competing against Texas and Puerto Rico for the chance to land a new launchpad for SpaceX and its ambitious line of Falcon rockets.

The rivalry — already ongoing — only has intensified in the weeks since SpaceX became the first commercial company to blast a spacecraft to the station and return it safely to Earth. And though none of the rivals has made public the incentives each is offering, the numbers are certain to be in the millions of dollars.
>
Texas officials and economic leaders have acknowledged working on an incentive package, estimated in the millions of dollars, to lure SpaceX to the city of Brownsville. And the Federal Aviation Administration, which must sign off on new launch sites, already has held a public hearing on that possibility.

"Please be assured that as you seek to expand the capabilities of SpaceX to launch spacecraft, whether unmanned or manned, the State of Texas stands ready to support you and the work of your talented employees who are blazing a new trail into space," Perry wrote to Musk earlier this month.
>
Frank DiBello, head of Space Florida, said the state intends to be "aggressively competitive" in landing the new launchpad — by offering financial incentives; one offer under consideration is converting a pad formerly used by the space shuttle at Kennedy Space Center into a facility for SpaceX.

DiBello said he's also making a broader argument, that keeping its operations in one place would enable SpaceX to simplify its supply chain and lower its costs.
>
Puerto Rican officials are making geography a core argument in their pitch.

José Pérez-Riera, the island's secretary for economic development and commerce, said Puerto Rico has been talking with SpaceX for more than a year about potential sites on the east coast.

Pérez-Riera said Puerto Rico is closer to the equator than Cape Canaveral or Brownsville, which means SpaceX rockets would use less fuel (and thus cost less to launch to orbit) because rockets get more of a "boost" from Earth's rotation near the equator.

He said Puerto Rico could provide significant tax breaks and other incentives for SpaceX — for the same reason that Texas and Florida are crafting offers.

"It would put Puerto Rico on the map for this budding industry," he said.



#183 OP DocM

DocM

    Neowinian Senior

  • 19,005 posts
  • Joined: 31-July 10
  • Location: Michigan

Posted 25 June 2012 - 22:25

The new Merlin 1D firing. Imagine 9 (Falcon 9), or 27 (Falcon Heavy), of these things going off at once.

The citizens of McGregor, Texas (site of the SpaceX test center) are gonna need a lot of notice :)

That said - they seem to have simplified this thing a lot. It's about 1/3 lighter and much cheaper to make - the latter because of the use of explosive hydro-forming instead of machining to make the basic shapes of the thrust chamber and the nozzle.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=976LHTpnZkY

#184 remixedcat

remixedcat

    meow!

  • 10,435 posts
  • Joined: 28-December 10
  • Location: Vmware ESXi and Hyper-V happy clouds
  • OS: Windows Server 2012 R2
  • Phone: I use telepathy and cat meows to communicate

Posted 25 June 2012 - 22:32

wow it's actually awesome to see the states fighting over that.

#185 neoadorable

neoadorable

    Neowinian Senior

  • 10,466 posts
  • Joined: 01-August 05
  • Location: Flyover Country/Pacific Isle

Posted 26 June 2012 - 15:41

rockets are always awesome but Doc knows what i want...my VTOL Valkyrie shuttle, and i want it NOWWW!

Posted Image

#186 IsItPluggedIn

IsItPluggedIn

    Neowinian

  • 921 posts
  • Joined: 08-December 11
  • Location: Sydney, Australia
  • OS: Win 7

Posted 27 June 2012 - 04:27

Just doing some reading on Mars missions.

These Guys,(http://mars-one.com/en/) are ambitious but its good to see they will be using SpaceX for most of their plan.

Doc their NASA missions to Mars being talked about using the Falcon heavy. http://www.space.com...red-dragon.html Do you know if it is just talk or if it is going to happen?

#187 OP DocM

DocM

    Neowinian Senior

  • 19,005 posts
  • Joined: 31-July 10
  • Location: Michigan

Posted 27 June 2012 - 04:54

A Red/Ice Dragon mission of some type is in competition for a launch in 2018. There was a NASA labs conference a week ago in Houston where Red Dragon, Ice Dragon and Red Dragon-MSL (using the Mars Science Laboratory re-entry and atmospheric trajectory) were discussed at great length.

The conference went well for the Dragon proposals as the interest was high for the idea of a cheap, mass producible lander that could deliver at least a metric ton of experiments; 3x-4x the current capability, and maybe more.

Another advantage for Dragon is that it's massively overbuilt for the mission; it's designed for 1 atmosphere pressurization, but for Mars it won't need that margin. As a result they can turn the metal fabricators loose to cut & weld in recessed boxes in its hull to hold multiple rovers. Add an extensible ramp, winch, and a pop-off panel for each and you're in business.

Want to do a Mars sample return mission? Put a pop-off panel where the docking adapter goes at the top and a big tube down the center of Dragon with a rocket in it. Let the rovers grab the samples, then a robot arm retrieves them for placement in the return vehicle. When it's full launch it from the tube submarine-style. The attached image is pretty blurry, it's a video frame grab off a projector, but it should give you the general ideal. This was one of the proposals at the conference.

If the SuperDraco abort & landing thrusters deliver anywhere near the performance (120,000 lbf of axial thrust) and throttle-ability (5-7% to 100%) they are expected to it's going to be a compelling option.

Attached Images

  • Mars sample return sm.jpg


#188 neoadorable

neoadorable

    Neowinian Senior

  • 10,466 posts
  • Joined: 01-August 05
  • Location: Flyover Country/Pacific Isle

Posted 01 July 2012 - 08:59

hahaha as usual Doc has all the knowledge! But you didn't answer plugged's question. i definitely think it's going to happen, big time.

#189 OP DocM

DocM

    Neowinian Senior

  • 19,005 posts
  • Joined: 31-July 10
  • Location: Michigan

Posted 01 July 2012 - 15:16

At this point Mars-One is a concept, not a project. It can't go beyond that until 1) Falcon Heavy flys, and 2) Dragon proves its ability to fly the Mars supersonic retro-propulsion re-entry profile by doing it. The SuperDraco thrusters and PICA-X heat shield are key. PICA-X would get the Red Dragon down to a speed of about Mach 2.4 at an altitude of 1 kilometer, then the SuperDraco's would take over and fly an inclined path to scrub speed then land.

Then a lot of balloons, not just Mars-One's, go up. It establishes supersonic retro-propulsion as a valid Mars entry technique, something NASA has never had the money to test, and the SuperDraco thruster design as a way to do it. Clusters of upscaled SD's could potentially land pretty heavy hardware.

I didn't answer NASA beyond Red/Ice Dragon variants because there isn't one. Other than those everything is up in the air because of budget issues. They can't even make up their minds about next-gen rovers; lots of talk, but no budget with which to walk.

IF Congress were to grow a brain (unlikely) and 1) close un-needed NASA centers & consolidate others, and 2) cancel the bloatware $38B Space Launch System super-heavy launcher, and perhaps Orion because several commercial spacecraft** make it redundant, they'd have several $billion a year to persue them and Mars using existing launchers and Falcon Heavy when it's ready.

** DragonRider. CST-100, Liberty etc.

Liberty being a stealth spacecraft project coming into the light, based on the Orion hull design but made of composites, so it's much lighter and launchable on much smaller rockets - meaning SLS not required. ATK and Astrium building the launcher, which was known, and ATK & Lockheed Martin are working on the Liberty capsule and related systems.

#190 neoadorable

neoadorable

    Neowinian Senior

  • 10,466 posts
  • Joined: 01-August 05
  • Location: Flyover Country/Pacific Isle

Posted 08 July 2012 - 15:03

thanks for clarifying that Doc, that is all true...the recent successes of commercial space have shown we have alternatives, but i still don't mind SLS/Orion, as you know i subscribe to the more the merrier...

#191 OP DocM

DocM

    Neowinian Senior

  • 19,005 posts
  • Joined: 31-July 10
  • Location: Michigan

Posted 08 July 2012 - 16:06

I mind SLS/Orion because commercial would require less funding and, in the case of Dragon, has a leg-up on flight history. $10-20B there would get a lot of results, and redudancy - no more putting all our eggs in a single spacecraft. Challenger & Columbia should have taught us that lesson.

#192 SALSN

SALSN

    Neowinian

  • 51 posts
  • Joined: 02-February 12

Posted 10 July 2012 - 09:42

I understand why NASA wants their own "private" backup, but if this commercial space thing works, and it seems to me very much like it does, then their SLS and Orion is just money down the drain, the commercial versions seems to be both better and cheaper. (At least what SpaceX is showing looks very promising)

#193 OP DocM

DocM

    Neowinian Senior

  • 19,005 posts
  • Joined: 31-July 10
  • Location: Michigan

Posted 10 July 2012 - 12:02

Congress is the main stick in the mud, as usual. In order to fully fund SLS and Orion the $800 million request for commercial crew was reduced to about $550 million, meaning only 2 fully-funded and 1 half-funded proposals will be paid for. Others can participate, but only by paying their own way. Everyone would still get access to the NASA test centers though; Ames, JPL, Johnson, Marshall, Glenn etc.

The early bets are SpaceX (duh!) and Boeing-Bigelow's CST-100 for full funding and either Sierra Nevada's Dream Chaser spaceplane or ATK-Ariane's Liberty for the half funded slot.

#194 OP DocM

DocM

    Neowinian Senior

  • 19,005 posts
  • Joined: 31-July 10
  • Location: Michigan

Posted 12 July 2012 - 01:39

Link....

Reusable rocket prototype almost ready for first liftoff

SpaceX's Grasshopper testbed for a reusable rocket booster could fly soon from the company's Texas test facility on a short hop designed to demonstrate its ability to take off and land under thrust on a launch pad.
 
The Grasshopper test vehicle stands 106 feet tall, and its initial flights will reach 240 feet and last about 45 seconds to check the design of the rocket's landing system.

SpaceX technicians added four steel landing legs and a support structure to a qualified Falcon 9 rocket first stage. The Grasshopper program is the first step in achieving SpaceX's goal of developing a reusable booster, which would require the rocket's first stage to fly back to a landing pad at or near the launch site.

SpaceX's concept calls for the first stage to descend and land vertically, using rocket thrust to settle to a soft touchdown.

Speaking in June at the company's test facility in McGregor, Texas, SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk said the Grasshopper program was on the verge of its first flight.

"We're hoping to do short hops at some point in the next couple of months, and then in terms of higher flights, I'm hopefully we can go supersonic before the end of the year," Musk said. "That's not a prediction. That's an aspiration."

SpaceX has constructed a half-acre concrete launch facility in McGregor, and the Grasshopper rocket is already standing on the pad, outfitted with four insect-like silver landing legs.

The Grasshopper's test flights will be powered by a single Merlin 1D engine, burning kerosene and liquid oxygen to generate a maximum thrust of 122,000 pounds.

Subsequent flights will climb higher and travel faster than the first launch, reaching up to 11,500 feet and lasting approximately 160 seconds, according to a draft environmental assessment document released by the Federal Aviation Administration in September 2011.

SpaceX has not disclosed other details on the Grasshopper launch plans, but Musk said some high-altitude tests may be staged from White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico.

The company has not said when a vertical landing attempt could be made on a real space launch, but Musk believes offering a viable reusable rocket, coupled with simple operations and quick turnaround, will bring on drastic reductions in launch prices.

"If one can figure out how to effectively reuse the rockets just like an airplane, the cost of access to space will be reduced by as much as a factor of a hundred," Musk said. "A fully reusable vehicle has never been done before. That really is the fundamental breakthrough that is needed to revolutionize access to space."


Posted Image

#195 OP DocM

DocM

    Neowinian Senior

  • 19,005 posts
  • Joined: 31-July 10
  • Location: Michigan

Posted 12 July 2012 - 19:55

RELEASE: 12-233

NASA COMMERCIAL PARTNER SPACEX COMPLETES DRAGON DESIGN REVIEW

HAWTHORNE, Calif. -- NASA partner Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) has completed an important design review of the crewed version of its Dragon spacecraft. The concept baseline review presented NASA with the primary and secondary design elements of its Dragon capsule designed to carry astronauts into low Earth orbit, including the International Space Station.

SpaceX is one of several companies working to develop crew transportation capabilities under the Commercial Crew Development Round 2 (CCDev2) agreement with NASA's Commercial Crew Program (CCP). Through CCDev2, NASA is helping the private sector develop and test new spacecraft and rockets with the goal of making commercial human spaceflight services available to commercial and government customers.

In the June 14 review conducted at the company's headquarters in Hawthorne, Calif., SpaceX provided details about each phase of a potential crewed mission. This included how the company plans to modify its launch pads to support such missions, Dragon's docking capabilities, the weight and power requirements for the spacecraft, and prospective ground landing sites and techniques. The company also outlined crew living arrangements, such as environmental control and life support equipment, displays and controls.

"SpaceX has made significant progress on its crew transportation capabilities," NASA CCP Manager Ed Mango said. "We commend the SpaceX team on its diligence in meeting its CCDev2 goals to mature the company's technology as this nation continues to build a real capability for America's commercial spaceflight needs."

Safety was a key focus of the review. The SpaceX team presented NASA with analyses on how its SuperDraco launch abort system would perform if an emergency were to occur during launch or ascent. The review also outlined plans for getting astronauts away from danger quickly and safely on the way to low Earth orbit, in space and during the return home.

"The successful conclusion of the concept baseline review places SpaceX exactly where we want to be -- ready to move on to the next phase and on target to fly people into space aboard Dragon by the middle of the decade," said SpaceX CEO and Chief Designer Elon Musk.

All of NASA's industry partners, including SpaceX, continue to meet their established milestones in developing commercial crew transportation capabilities under CCDev2.

While NASA works with U.S. industry to develop commercial spaceflight capabilities to low Earth orbit, the agency also is developing the Orion spacecraft and Space Launch System (SLS), a crew capsule and heavy-lift rocket, to provide an entirely new capability for human exploration of deep space. Designed to be flexible for launching crew and cargo missions, Orion and SLS will expand human presence beyond Earth and enable new missions of exploration across the solar system.

For more information about NASA's Commercial Crew Program, visit:

http://www.nasa.gov/commercialcrew