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SpaceX Updates (thread 3)


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#16 neoadorable

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Posted 25 February 2013 - 16:06

awesome awesome! and $36 billion city on Mars? man you could build a small Manhattan for that kind of money over there! Why does he need so much? he's the guy that told us a round trip to Mars should never cost more than half a bill!


#17 OP DocM

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Posted 25 February 2013 - 19:59

Infrastructure costs to build the thing, plus transportation costs over an extended period - not all at once.

The details on MCT should be forthcoming later this year, and my guess is that we'll see plans for some sort of in-space only Mars trandport vehicle much larger than Dragon, which sill just ferry people to it. Part of this is because a SpaceX'er defined MCT as "Mars Colony Transport."

Wouldn't be surprised go see plans for an upgraded Falcon Heavy - perhaps 80+ metric tons to orbit, and a formal announcemdnt of a new family of methane fueled engines. A big methane upper stage could give Falcon Heavy that margin.

#18 OP DocM

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Posted 07 March 2013 - 08:29

Working on having 3 SpaceX spaceports; KSC, Vandenberg AFB, and Brownsville, Texas. They've also expanded their engine line to make several hundred Merlin 1D / M1DVac rocket engines a year.

http://brownsvillehe...19bb30f31a.html

Legislation filed for SpaceX project at Boca Chica Beach

State Rep. Rene Oliveira filed legislation Wednesday aimed at furthering the SpaceX project at Boca Chica Beach near Brownsville, he said.

“We’re definitely more optimistic than ever that Cameron County will have SpaceX,” Oliveira said.

“Obviously, there are still major decisions that need to be made with the federal government. But the fact that we and others are proceeding with legislation, and Mr. Elon Musk is going to be (in Austin) Friday, indicates, I think, a very favorable view on his part,” Oliveira added.

Musk is the founder of Space Exploration Technologies Corp., a California-based space exploration firm, which is considering a location near Boca Chica Beach for a rocket launch facility.

Oliveira, D-Brownsville, also said in an announcement that the legislation he filed would allow Cameron County to temporarily close a beach area for launches and space flight activities with approval of the General Land Office.

Oliveira said that while SpaceX has not made a final decision to relocate to the area, he filed the bill to make certain the necessary legislative measures are in place to move the project forward.

The proposed legislation would prohibit a beach closing during the major summer holidays of Memorial Day, Fourth of July and Labor Day, and all the summer weekends between Memorial Day and Labor Day.

The GLO, Oliveira said, could approve a launch during those dates under special circumstances.



#19 OP DocM

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Posted 08 March 2013 - 05:21

From today's presentation:

• an F9 v1.1 qualification tank is on the structural stand in Texas, and will be rebuilt later for use on Grasshopper 2.0. GH2 will have flight- like landing legs.

• the first F9 v1.1 ships from Hawthorne to Texas in late March

• after S2 separation during its first launch, the F9 v1.1 first stage will rotate using cold gas thrusters and relight to reenter more slowly. It will then attempt to "land" on the ocean as practice for landings near the pad.

• the underground test stand at McGregor is currently for Falcon Heavy only, but this could change.

#20 OP DocM

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Posted 09 March 2013 - 08:23

Whoa!! A new factory for larger than F9 (Falcon Heavy?) stage cores?

Sounds like the SpaceX BFR (big f'ing rocket, AKA Falcon X or XX) is on the way. BFR would supposedly have a core stage 7+ meters in diameter, far larger than the 3.66 meters of Falcon 9 or Falcon Heavy. Far too large for long distance highway transport.

Mass to orbit estimates have run 140-200 metric tonnes. Saturn V did about 110 metric tonnes, the Shuttle could carry 25 MT and the Delta IV Heavy about 22 MT. Falcon Heavy is to do about 53 MT.

http://brownsvillehe...1a4bcf6878.html

SpaceX chief appears before House committee

The next SpaceX launch site will not only be a place to launch rockets: The company would eventually want a site nearby to build them as well.


Space Exploration Technologies founder and billionaire Elon Musk made the announcement Friday at a hearing before the Texas House of Representatives Appropriations Committee in Austin, where he explained to committee members what SpaceX, as his company is known, is all about.

Musk said the company will continue to build its Falcon 9 rockets in California, but when it begins manufacturing rockets larger than the Falcon 9, they would be built at or near the launch site.

“The logical thing is to build near the launch site,” he said. “That is something that will occur wherever the launch site occurs.”

Musk said Texas still is the leading candidate for a SpaceX launch site.

“It all seems to be progressing pretty well,” Musk said. “We are optimistic about making this work in Texas in the Boca Chica area.”
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#21 OP DocM

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Posted 15 March 2013 - 05:28

Happy Birthday! (Y)

SpaceX ‏@SpaceX
SpaceX turns 11 years old today—and we’ve worked hard to make every year count.





#22 OP DocM

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Posted 20 March 2013 - 02:05

Update,

Not counting the F9 v1.1 shipped to McGregor, SpaceX has several F9 v1.1 cores at Hawthorn (!) and the Merlin 1D production line is humming.

From Elon Musk,

Testing separation of F9 rocket fairing (can hold a city bus) in world's largest vacuum chamber (Plum Brook Space Power Facility, with help from NASA's Glenn Research Center).


And from multiple sources,

CASSIOPE; June from Vandenberg. Falcon 9 v1.1
SES-8: early July from KSC. Falcon 9 v1.1
Thaicom-6: late July from KSC. Falcon 9 v1.1

3 launches in less than 2 months!!

And....ORBCOMM OG-2 and Dragon CRS-3 are scheduled for later this year;

ORBCOMM OG-2 will be the simultaneous launch of 8 communications satellites.

Dragon CRS-3 also has several secondary satellites to release; CUNYSAT 1, Hermes 2, LMRSat, TechCube 1, All-Star-THEIA, FIREBIRD A, FIREBIRD B, and Ho‘oponopono 2.

#23 OP DocM

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Posted 21 March 2013 - 04:19

SpaceX's Merlin 1D Engine Achieves Flight Qualification

Hawthorne, CA – Space Exploration Technologies’ (SpaceX) Merlin 1D engine has achieved flight qualification, a major milestone for the next generation Merlin engine. Through a 28 test qualification program, the Merlin 1D accumulated 1,970 seconds of total test time, the equivalent run time of over 10 full mission durations, and is now fully qualified to fly on the Falcon 9 rocket.

The program included four tests at or above the power (147,000 pounds of thrust) and duration (185 seconds) required for a Falcon 9 rocket launch. The Merlin 1D engine was also tested at propellant inlet and operating conditions that were well outside the bounds of expected flight conditions.

SpaceX's testing program demonstrated a ratio of 4:1 for critical engine life parameters such as firing duration and restart capacity to the engine's expected flight requirements. The industry standard is 2:1.

“The Merlin 1D successfully performed every test throughout this extremely rigorous qualification program,” said Elon Musk, SpaceX CEO and chief designer. “With flight qualification now complete, we look forward to flying the first Merlin 1D engines on Falcon 9’s Flight 6 this year.”

The Merlin 1D builds on the technology of the Merlin engines used on the first five flights of Falcon 9. With nine Merlin 1Ds on the first stage, the Falcon 9 rocket will produce nearly 1.5 million pounds of thrust in a vacuum. The Merlin 1D has a vacuum thrust-to-weight ratio exceeding 150, the best of any liquid rocket engine in history. This enhanced design makes the Merlin 1D the most efficient booster engine ever built, while still maintaining the structural and thermal safety margins needed to carry astronauts. Additionally, the new engine is designed for improved manufacturability by using higher efficiency processes, increased robotic construction and reduced parts count.

Testing took place at SpaceX's rocket development facility in McGregor, Texas. Watch the test here:



#24 OP DocM

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Posted 26 March 2013 - 14:46

So, the new F9 v1.1 octagonal + center engine arrangement has a name: Octaweb.

http://www.flickr.co.../in/photostream

2 first & 2 second stages in the shot, plus what looks to be a thrust structure (jig?) in the vanc-left.

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#25 OP DocM

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Posted 29 March 2013 - 09:21

Version 1.0 was the cargo ship flying goods to and from the ISS, returning to a water landing.

Dragon 2.0 will be able to fly people, land on the ground using propulsion, and be modifiable to do unmanned science missions to Mars and other bodies, landing propulsively.

Dragon 2.0 will have 8 SuperDraco thrusters arranged in 4 pairs in pods, with a cumulative thrust of over 120,000 lbf. Each pair member provides redundancy for its partner, and steering will be done using thrust differential - each SuperDraco being deeply throttleable.

Only 20% throttle will be required to land, 100% being for launch escape, so if one fails its paired partner can throttle up to make up the difference. Ignition is guaranteed because the fuel and oxidizer are hypergolic, they ignite on contact, and pumps aren't necessary as the fluid tanks are redundantly pressurized.

Video shows a Dragon 1.0 doing the propulsive landing bit, but 2.0 is to look significantly different.

http://science.nbcne...-elon-musk?lite

SpaceX Dragon 2.0 looks like 'alien spaceship,' says Elon Musk

The next version of the Dragon spacecraft built by the private spaceflight company SpaceX will look like something truly out of this world, according to Elon Musk, the company's billionaire founder and CEO.

Musk detailed some of the high points of the firm's much-anticipated Dragon Version 2 to reporters Thursday during a briefing with NASA to celebrate the firm's second successful cargo mission to the International Space Station. SpaceX's unmanned Dragon capsule returned to Earth Tuesday with a successful splashdown in the Pacific Ocean.

But according to Musk, Dragon Version 2 landings won't be so … wet. But it may look weird.

"There are side-mounted thruster pods and quite big windows for astronauts to see out," Musk told SPACE.com. "There are also legs to pop out at the bottom. It looks like a real alien spaceship."

Those pop out legs, Musk added, will be for land touchdowns.

Musk is designing the capsule in the hopes that it will make its landings back on Earth, not at sea. The current Dragon space capsule design can only land in water, but Musk said he wants to "push the envelope" with the spacecraft's next incarnation, be it for manned or unmanned flights.

Musk is expected to unveil the design sometime later this year.

Meanwhile, SpaceX is already experimenting with land landings using its Gr****opper rocket, a prototype for a completely reusable launch system that has made several test flights — each higher than the last — none of which were aimed at reaching space.

Dragon isn't the only member of the SpaceX fleet getting an upgrade. The company's Falcon 9 rocket is also going to be retooled for more efficiency with 60 or 70 percent greater capacity and 60 percent more powerful thrusters, Musk added.

Private cargo ship success

SpaceX's most recent Dragon mission ended after three weeks attached to the orbiting laboratory. The capsule splashed down in the Pacific Ocean about 214 miles off the coast of Baja California to return about 2,670 pounds science gear and back to Earth.

The Hawthorne, Calif.-based SpaceX has a $1.6 billion deal with NASA to fly a dozen cargo missions like the one that just ended. The company's fourth launch is scheduled for the end of September.
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Dragon 1.0 depicted doing Dragon 2.0 landing


SuperDraco test run


#26 OP DocM

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Posted 29 March 2013 - 16:40

Standard 5.2 x 13.9 meter payload fairing (PLF) for Falcon 9 v1.1 and Falcon Heavy. Getting ready for the June 18th maiden flight of F9 v1.1

Elon Musk
@elonmusk
Rocket fairing almost ready for deployment test in vacuum chamber. Man lift on right for scale pic.twitter.com/BLOTThWFvw


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#27 OP DocM

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Posted 12 April 2013 - 02:08

http://www.nasa.gov/...crew/index.html

Fri, 12 Apr 2013 01:36:37 AM GMT+0900

The NASA Partner Integration Team, called a PIT Crew, working with Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) to help develop the company's Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon spacecraft combination recently talked with SpaceX representatives about its spacecraft propulsion and parachute systems.

Later this month, the PIT Crew will travel to McGregor, Texas, for a SuperDraco abort engine test. Plans call for eight SuperDracos to be built into the sidewalls of the Dragon spacecraft, allowing a crew to escape from danger at any point of a launch.

For more information about NASA's Commercial Crew Program (CCP) and its partners, copy and paste this link into your Web browser: www.nasa.gov/commercialcrew



#28 OP DocM

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Posted 17 April 2013 - 16:18

http://www.chron.com...rom-4439985.php

South Texas SpaceX site gets preliminary OK from feds

AUSTIN - South Texas' hopes of becoming a hub for commercial space missions are still alive.

Federal regulators have released a preliminary report that says California-based SpaceX can launch rockets from a proposed site near Brownsville without devastating the sensitive environment around Boca Chica beach as long as the company takes steps to protect several endangered species, the water supply and plant life.

The report released late Monday by the Federal Aviation Administration is only a draft. A final impact study is expected later this year before the FAA decides whether to award SpaceX launch licenses for its proposed Boca Chica spaceport.

The draft report is viewed as a huge jolt of good news for state and local officials trying to lure the company to build its rocket launch site in South Texas. Competition from other states also hoping to land the project is stiff.
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The FAA draft report does cite a likely impact to several species of birds, felines and sea turtles. The study, however, contains a list of measures SpaceX would have to implement to make sure there are "no significant impacts on wildlife."

Those measures include avoiding launches when wildlife are most active, and providing pre-and post-launch surveys for endangered birds.

"That can all be mitigated. It has been done before," said Gilbert Salinas, executive vice president of the Brownsville Economic Development Council. "The report was better than what I expected. We're closer to the finish line now."

The FAA will conduct a public hearing on its draft report in Brownsville on May 7.



#29 OP DocM

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Posted 20 April 2013 - 23:52

Re: Falcon 9 v1.1 maiden flight

• cargo fairing test in the huge NASA Plum Brook vacuum chamber was successful.

• maiden flight moved to July 9 because the new pad at Vandenberg SLC-4E wouldn't be ready for June 18.

#30 neoadorable

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Posted 23 April 2013 - 06:21

Bad that it was delayed, but worth it. Thanks for the updates Doc