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SpaceX Updates (thread 2)


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#211 OP DocM

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Posted 13 October 2012 - 01:53

Part of a Musk interview with National Public Radio. Covers possible Dragon flights to the Moon, a touch of thd "Falcon 4" for Stratolaunch etc.

http://m.npr.org/sto...s-about-mission

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FLATOW: But you only have one place to go, I mean, with this, right? I mean, well, can you build a business on just going to the space station?

MUSK: No. Actually, it's important to mention that SpaceX's - of the launches we have under contract - so we have about 40 launches under contract, and of those, only 13 are from NASA, 27 of them are commercial launches. And they are for delivering satellites of all kinds, like communication satellites, broadcast satellites, you know, things like DirecTV, XM radio, mapping satellites that do things like Google Maps, there's a lot of satellites - in fact, most satellites that are launched are actually not government satellites. So...

FLATOW: Yeah. So you're trying to do what the shuttle would have done with a smaller cargo bay, but - and be usable and come back but land on your thrusters, as you say.

MUSK: Yeah, yeah. That'll be version two. Version one, which is the current version, is - parachutes to a water landing because that was the safest way to go in the beginning. But version two is going to be able to land on thrusters, and it'll actually be capable of doing missions to, you know, other parts of the solar system as well and...

FLATOW: The moon?

MUSK: The moon's - yeah, it could potentially go to the moon.

FLATOW: How much cheaper - since you're doing this at, what, a quarter of the cost or something of what NASA or the Russians could do, how much cheaper could you get to the moon and back?

MUSK: Well, I think it's probably - well, it's sort of how much cheaper than what number, I guess.

FLATOW: Can you make it cheap enough to want to do it and to make it commercially feasible if no one else going to do it?

MUSK: I think we could - I'm actually fairly confident we could do manned missions to the moon in relatively short order if we had a customer that wanted to do that. And we'll certainly have some interesting announcements in the coming years that I think people will be pretty excited about.

FLATOW: Does that include Mars?

MUSK: Yeah. Mars is the ultimate goal and not just to visit, but to be able to develop a system that's capable of taking, ultimately, millions of people and millions of tons of cargo to Mars in order to create a self-sustaining civilization and make life multi-planetary.

FLATOW: Talking with Elon Musk on SCIENCE FRIDAY from NPR. So you're not afraid to think big?

Now there are very few big thinkers. You know, there's always, now, it just costs too much to do something, you know, in a multigenerational scale.

MUSK: Yes. Well, there's a tremendous amount of technology that has been to invented in order to do what I just mentioned, to create a civilization on Mars both in terms of the transport and the infrastructure on the ground on Mars. And Mars is a bit of a fixer-upper of a planet, so it's going to take a little bit of work, but it's the only viable option in the solar system. And outside of the solar system is really not possible because of the distances.

FLATOW: You're also teaming up with Paul Allen for something called Stratolaunch. Does this dovetail with that? Can you describe that a bit? And does this dove-tail with that or is it a totally separate project?

MUSK: That's a separate project and the basic premises for Stratolaunch is that there are satellite customers who are really want a lot of flexibility in launch location. So the rocket can be picked up by a giant aircraft and the launch can occur, I think, almost anywhere on Earth. That's the basic idea with Stratolaunch, or that's the premise. But it's independent from our other activities.

FLATOW: So like going back to the '60s with dropping an X-15 out of the belly of a bomber and shooting it up into space.

MUSK: Right, right. It doesn't result in a cost-savings, but it does result in increased launch life flexibility.
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#212 drsnooker

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Posted 16 October 2012 - 00:19

http://www.flightglo...-rocket-377687/

Could he mean Mars Colony Transporter????

#213 OP DocM

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Posted 16 October 2012 - 02:01

More likely something else, but this seems to be the realization of the BFR (big f'ing rocket) he discussed a few years ago. Two years ago a concept called Falcon XX took its place.

IF Falcon XX's specs hold we're talking a ~400 foot rocket. Huge, and also much larger than the NASA Space Launch System (SLS) which is slated for 125 metric tons.

The new fuel? I'm betting on methane blended with other fuels.

#214 drsnooker

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Posted 16 October 2012 - 03:29

The new fuel? I'm betting on methane blended with other fuels.


Perhaps, that would help getting off Mars later, since methane could be manufactured in situ. It could also be propylene, a bunch of companies are looking into propane dehydrogenation from shale gas, which would bring the price down significantly. Not that fuel cost makes a lot of difference for a rocket, but handling is a lot easier!

#215 moloko

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Posted 16 October 2012 - 04:16

go spaceX

#216 OP DocM

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Posted 16 October 2012 - 05:07

There is a test at ISS flying on Dragon CRS-3 (Q1 2013) that might be a candidate: NOFBX. It's a single fluid bipropellant that's a blend of nitrous oxide (oxidizer) and either ethane, ethylene or acetylene plus a proprietary blending agent.

A lot os spacecraft builders are hoping NOFBX works because it could replace the current toxic hypergolic fuels in thrusters while providing a high ISP (efficiency) and much simplified plumbing via using only one fluid.

Nothing stops it from being used in boosters too.

#217 neoadorable

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Posted 18 October 2012 - 11:26

Thanks for posting this and making my day! At long last talking about millions of people on Mars crediby. With commercial space now a firm reality, the timeline is on course.

#218 OP DocM

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Posted 27 October 2012 - 02:23

Discovery News story with news about DragonRider -

http://news.discover...ion-121026.html

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In addition to its cargo missions for NASA, SpaceX has a separate $440-million partnership agreement to upgrade the Dragon the capsule and its Falcon 9 launcher to carry humans.

"The cargo is just a steppingstone," said Garrett Reisman, a former NASA astronaut who now oversees SpaceX's commercial crew programs.

"The next steppingstone is working on carrying people in the Dragon and the Falcon 9. They were designed with human-rating standards in mind," he said.

The key part of the upgrade is an emergency escape system so astronauts can be sprinted away from the rocket in case of an accident during launch.

SpaceX plans a launch pad abort test next year and an inflight abort test in 2014.

"We're going to launch a Falcon 9 with a Dragon on top and go up to around max Q (the point of maximum aerodynamic pressure on a vehicle) and show that we can punch it off the top and safely bring the crew away even in that critical flight regime," Reisman said last week at the International Symposium of Personal and Commercial Spaceflight in New Mexico.

If all goes as planned, SpaceX plans to test fly a Dragon capsule with its own astronauts aboard in May 2015.

"We're going great guns, we're working real hard and we hope to have people flying very soon inside the Dragon," Reisman said.

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#219 neoadorable

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Posted 27 October 2012 - 04:36

thanks for the update Doc! Well, with that moon/L2 station basically confirmed for 2018, great things are coming for SpaceX and all other contractors...we're moving forward!

#220 OP DocM

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Posted 01 November 2012 - 20:25

More progress towards a crewed Dragon / DragonRider -

http://www.flightglo...aunches-378446/

SpaceX completes system requirements review for crewed launches

SpaceX has completed the third milestone of its commercial crew integrated capability (CCiCap) contract, finishing the integrated system requirements review (SRR) for a crewed launch system.

The SRR, which was completed at a meeting at SpaceX's Hawthorne, California headquarters on 29 October, signify that NASA is satisfied that the Dragon capsule, Falcon 9 launch vehicle and other components of SpaceX's proposal can meet the CCiCap requirements, and that questions raised at the project kickoff meeting in August have been answered or mooted.

"These initial milestones are just the beginning of a very exciting endeavour with SpaceX." says Ed Mango, NASA's commercial crew programme manager. "We expect to see significant progress from our three CCiCap partners in a fairly short amount of time."

Successfully completing the milestone earns $50 million for SpaceX, the largest in the CCiCap programme to date.

An uncrewed version of the Dragon capsule landed in the Pacific Ocean on 28 October, successfully completing the first commercial cargo resupply flight to the International Space Station.

SpaceX has 14 milestones under the CCiCap programme, worth a total of $440 million upon completion, excluding additional optional milestones.



#221 OP DocM

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Posted 03 November 2012 - 23:44

Grasshopper being SpaceX's development project for a reusable launch vehicle (RLV) that returns after launch and lands upright (on its tail) using retractable landing legs.

The space sites are already noting that lessons learned here will be useful beyond an RLV, including avionics for propulsively landing the crewed DragonRider capsule and vehicles for landing on ghe Moon. Mars....whatever.

On Nov 3, 2012 Elon Musk tweeted -

@elonmusk: First flight of 10 story tall Grasshopper rocket using closed loop thrust vector & throttle control 

http://yfrog.us/f362...bosdefkdeoytqsz
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@elonmusk: @Jack_JL Engine gimbals for pitch and yaw, gas thrusters for roll.


http://img543.images...defkdeoytqs.mp4

#222 OP DocM

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Posted 04 November 2012 - 15:14

Guesstimates from informed aerospace sites -

Tank height: 24 m (McDonnell-Douglas DC-X(A) VTVL was 12 m total)
Supporting frame height; 6 m
Supporting frame width: 8 m
Total height: ~30 m
Tank mass: 7000 kg
Legs & supporting frame (very rough estimate): 8000 kg
Ballast: Unknown
Propellant load: Unknown
Thrust from Merlin 1D: 650 - 455 kN (based on 70% throttling)
Ballast+propellant load for this flight: 40000 kg

#223 OP DocM

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Posted 04 November 2012 - 19:04

Someone finally posted the recent big hop on YouTube...



#224 OP DocM

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Posted 10 November 2012 - 13:03

http://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/spacex-aims-big-with-massive-new-rocket-377687/

Could he mean Mars Colony Transporter????


THE WINNER!!!!

Tom Mueller, SpaceX VP of Propulsion Development, confirmed at a university Q&A that MCT does indeed stand for -

Mars Colonial Transport




#225 OP DocM

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Posted 11 November 2012 - 17:41

http://www.newspacew..._medium=twitter

SpaceX Vandenberg facility update

SpaceX expects to complete the refurbishment of Space Launch Complex-4 (SLC-4) East at Vandenberg Air Force Base by early 2013: SpaceX Gears Up for Launches at Vandenberg Air Force Base

The first SpaceX launch at Vandenberg witll also be the first launch of the Falcon 9 V1.1, which will use the new Merlin 1-D engines. The payload will be the Canadian CASSIOPE satellite, a hybrid science probe and commercial communications spacecraft. The contract with MDA was signed seven years ago.

The other Vandenberg launch planned is that of the first Falcon Heavy:

“[I] am hopeful we will do the first Heavy flight from Vandenberg towards the end of next year, and from the Cape in 2014,” Elon Musk, SpaceX founder, chief executive and chief technical officer, wrote in an email to SpaceNews.

Falcon Heavy also could play a role in NASA’s planned deep-space exploration initiatives. The agency is developing its own heavy-lift Space Launch System (SLS) and Orion capsule for human missions to asteroids, the Moon and eventually Mars.

“It is up to NASA as to whether they would consider Falcon Heavy/Dragon for deep space missions. We would not propose to do this instead of SLS/Orion, but rather in addition to,” Musk said.


Concept: Falcon Heavy at SpaceX's Vandenberg SLC-4E pad
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