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SpaceX Updates (thread 3)

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Posted

First test flight is next summer from Vandenberg AFB. They just finished the F9/F9-R/FH pad there, and there will be a landing site for returning reusable stages.

All 3 stages fire at launch, with the core stage throttled back, and the side boosters separate at about Mach 6-10 (6 if the side boosters fly back and land like F9-R). Before they separate extra fuel enters the core stage to fill it up, allowing it to continue with a full load. This is known as "CrossFeed", something proposed years ago but not fully implemented. Not to this degree.

After the core runs dry it falls away and the restartsble MVacD upper stage fires, perhaps several times to drop sats in diffrrent orbits or loft a 53 mT payload (>2x Delta IV Heavy or Shuttle - more than the mass of a fully loaded 737-200) to ofbit. MVacD is a MUCH larger upper stage than on the now retired Falcon 9 v1.0.

Until SLS flies (if it flies) FH will be the heaviest launcher in the world. By far. It'll have about 3.9-4.0 million lbf of thrust.

After FH is operational they start on the core stage of their next monster - a methane-fueled super-heavy that'll lift 150-200 mT.

This early promo video from the announcement is all they've published so far, but more should be coming soon.

http://youtu.be/UTwRxtmQ9IY

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Posted

Sounds like they need a pad for a really-big-rocket if they're bidding on a former Saturn V / Shuttle pad

http://www.spacenews.com/article/civil-space/36230no-contest-for-pad-39a-spacex-appears-to-be-only-bidder#.UeBov7-9LTp

No Contest for Pad 39A? SpaceX Appears To Be Only Bidder

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -- Space Exploration Technologies Corp. (SpaceX) appears to be the only company that put in a proposal to NASA to take over one of the space shuttle

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Posted

Another Very Loud Noise acceptance test from Falcon 9 v1.1 -

Waco Tribune....

Rain and SpaceX thunder

I'd thought the weather would preclude testing at SpaceX's McGregor site today

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Posted

I would love to own one of these ;) more or so the dragon on the end.

nMGpbRw.jpg

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Posted

That would be cool, but that version of Falcon 9 is retired. The new one is 50% bigger and more powerful by far. The new one also has an octagonal + center engine arrangement vs the old ones 3x3 grid.

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Posted

Lotsa good tidbits today!

Elon Musk ‏@elonmusk
Just completed full mission duration firing of next gen Falcon 9 booster. V proud of the boost stage team for overcoming many tough issues.


And on the F9-R front -

QuoteBernard ?@_Balefire_
@elonmusk How do you guys plan grasshopper re-entry and landing from space? Nose first then swivel closer to ground :? How do you slow down?

Elon Musk ?@elonmusk

@_Balefire_ Hard to properly answer in 140 chars, but I can say that it stays engines down thru whole descent profile

Bernard ?@_Balefire_
@elonmusk Very interesting, will you need a disposable cone protecting against re entry (aero) on base or can the nozzles take it? Dankie!!!

Elon Musk ?@elonmusk

@_Balefire_ nozzles are designed to handle extreme loads. Should be able to handle max Q on reentry without protection.

Tobias Vandenbempt ?@TobiasVdb

@elonmusk How much % extra fuel would you need to make a landing like grasshopper? Is the entire braking procedure by firing trusters?

Elon Musk ?@elonmusk

@TobiasVdb Yes, it is a purely propulsive landing, but using the huge landing gear A frames as air brakes. Landing prop < 5% of vehicle mass

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Posted

SpaceX chief of propulsion Tom Mueller said during a presentation at the Joint Propulsion Conference in San Jose that the F9 v1.1 / CASSIOPE first stage will be shipped to Vandenberg next week, and the second stage will be shipped a week later. Targeted launch date is September 5.

Also, talk about Very Loud Tests!!

http:/wacotrib.com/news/business/spacex-gets-mcgregor-approval-to-test-falcon-heavy/article_d3b00845-1c78-55f2-9533-fde5282475c6.html

SpaceX gets McGregor approval to test Falcon Heavy

The city of McGregor has amended its lease with SpaceX to allow the company to test

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Posted

Payload fairing tests are done -

http://www.spaceref.com/news/viewpr.html?pid=41201

SpaceX Testing Complete at NASA Glenn's Renovated Facility

CLEVELAND - How loud is 166 decibels? It's about as loud as the thrust of 20 jet engines or a rock concert with 36,000 speakers. It's also the level of noise some spacecraft experience when launched and is now the highest level of noise that can be produced in the Reverberant Acoustic Test Facility (RATF) located at NASA Glenn Research Center's Plum Brook Station in Sandusky, Ohio.

For the first time in the RATF, spaceflight components were subjected to these high noise levels to determine if they would withstand acoustic reverberations during launch or launch aborts. Space Exploration Technologies Corp. (SpaceX) completed testing on a 5.2-meter fairing for its Falcon 9 rocket in the RATF and Plum Brook's Space Power Facility (SPF) vacuum chamber this summer. The tests confirmed the fairing could withstand the harsh conditions associated with space travel.

According to Glenn's director, Jim Free, "The SpaceX fairing tests prove the Space Power Facility can enable strong commercial space transportation capabilities and other missions. The facility is now ready to provide vibroacoustic test capabilities and one-stop space environmental testing for space vehicles."

Glenn's Plum Brook Station is unrivaled in its space environment simulation test capabilities. The SPF combines the world's largest vacuum chamber and the world's most powerful low-frequency mechanical vibration test stand. With the recently-added acoustic test chamber, SPF has become the world's most powerful simulator of noise levels experienced during launch.

"While we're focused on rapid innovation, SpaceX's first priority is always to get our customers' payloads safely to orbit," said Elon Musk, SpaceX CEO and chief designer. "Testing at Plum Brook enabled simulation of some unique flight conditions, furthering what we are able to do on the ground to ensure flight success."

With collaborations like Glenn's work with SpaceX to test its fairing, NASA is growing America's commercial space industry and, at the same time, taking steps to explore farther into our solar system and beyond.

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