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SpaceX Updates (thread 3)


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#31 OP DocM

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Posted 27 April 2013 - 00:21

Get out your ear plugs McGregor!

Gawd, I wish I were down there for this first 3 minute firing of F9 v1.1.

http://wacotrib.com/...19bb2963f4.html

Heads up: SpaceX testing is about to get louder

I just got a call from SpaceX communications director Christina Ra with a heads up: testing at their McGregor development facility is about to get loud even by their standards. (Given recent events, it was considered an especially good idea to let people know about this ahead of time.)

In keeping with the company philosophy that tests happen as soon as everything's ready rather than holding to a rigid schedule, Ra couldn't say yet precisely when the particularly loud tests will happen. She said a short, 10-second test could come as early as Tuesday, April 30; a test firing for the full 3 minutes a Falcon 9 rocket's first stage burns on the way to orbit would follow a few days after the first test.

Ra couldn't comment on precisely what technology was being tested — SpaceX tends to keep as mum as possible on such details both for proprietary reasons and out of worries about violating federal law against aiding foreign weapons development — so this is where the speculation begins.

The most likely possibility is that it's a Falcon 9 first stage test using nine of the new, more powerful Merlin 1D engines (it's known that the 1Ds have been tested individually; this could be the first test of the full, upgraded Falcon 9 v1.1 first stage). The more outside shot is that this is the start of testing on the 27-engine Falcon Heavy first stages, but since the Heavy is also set to use Merlin 1Ds it seems likely that they would want to test the nine-engine variant first.

I'll hopefully know more over the weekend. Stay tuned.




#32 OP DocM

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Posted 28 April 2013 - 20:40

Wait, WHAT?? F9 v1.1 = F9-R(eusable)?!?

Moving FAST!

Also; no greenish-blue flame from the ignition system, so they must have moved beyond the ususal TEA-TEB cartridge system.

Elon Musk ‏@elonmusk
First test of the Falcon 9-R (reusable) ignition system. Not long now before the hold down fire


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#33 OP DocM

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Posted 29 April 2013 - 14:17

Part of Elon Musk 's March testimony before the Texas House Appropriations Committee, specifically discussing building large rockets at or near the proposed Boca Chica (Brownsville) launch site.



#34 OP DocM

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Posted 02 May 2013 - 02:53

NASA/SpaceX teleconference review of CRS-2.

They are already incorporating Grasshopper lessons & technologies into the new Falcon 9 v1.1, so it is in fact the up to now future Falcon 9-R (Reusable) shown in their Reusable Launch Vehicle video.

Differences in the Falcon 9 V1.1?

Far more redundancy
Engine-to-engine protection enhanced (other rockets have NONE)
Used lessons learned from engine failure on CRS-1
Improved engines, structures, avionics (now triple redundant)
Designed for return to launch site propulsively (F9 v1.1 = F9-R!!)
Will take at least a year to get that right.
Expect to lose several stages in tests.
Shotwell - improvements will help with science program.
Musk: Dragon 2 will also return to land.
Water landings will be a thing of the past.

Details on propulsive return?

Prefer to make a debut of Dragon 2 with NASA later this year
Dragon 2 to have bigger windows
Legs that pop out
Looks like a real "alien spaceship" (!!)
Pushing the envelope (no duh!!)



#35 FloatingFatMan

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Posted 02 May 2013 - 09:37

Looks like a real "alien spaceship" (!!)



Are there any pics of that?

#36 OP DocM

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Posted 02 May 2013 - 10:35

Not yet, but we know a few things.

There will be 4 sets of 2 deeply throttleable SuperDraco abort/landing thrusters in pods. These will supposedly not be arranged in 90° increments but a flatter X arrangement. Total thrust: >120,000 lbf. Unknown if the pods will be retractable.

The docking port in the front will be offset slightly to one side so the DragonEye docking LIDAR can move from the side instrument bay to a position next to the hatch. New HD cameras (stereoscopic?) will also be mounted there and around the spacecraft.

Seating for up to 7 crewmembers; 3 in the lower deck and 4 in the upper command deck. Lower deck can be omitted and replaced by cargo. All glass cockpit. Robotic or manual avionics. OS's will be Linux and VxWorks.

For crews there will not be a cargo trunk or solar arrays for shortvISS flights, but they are likely for longer or beyond orbit non-ISS ops. There will be larger, more powerful battety packs and more fuel. There may be a short service module.

At first it is slated to land under parachutes, firing the SuperDraco's in the last 10 meters and settling on retractable landing legs. Later the plan is a fully propulsive landing like Grasshopper, just as God & Robert A. Heinlein intended.

Larger windows, as stated. No word on if these will be flush or inset like on Gemini.

We get a look later this year as the announcement will have to be made before the McGregor hover / landing and pad abort tests.

#37 OP DocM

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Posted 02 May 2013 - 22:36

HOTFIRE!!

Jeezzzzz they're moving fast! Todays F9 v1.1 burn was supposed to be 10 seconds with a 3 minute burn next week.

http://www.kcentv.co...cal-rocket-test

(KCEN) -- If you live in the McGregor area, you probably heard some extremely loud rumblings this morning.

SpaceX conducted what it calls a louder-than-typical rocket engine test at 8:15 a.m. today.

The test lasted about three minutes.

The space exploration company launched its way into the history books by becoming the first private spacecraft to dock at the International Space Station.

So far SpaceX has completed two of its 12 resupply missions under the company's contract with NASA.


F9R (say: F-niner) LEGS!!!!

F-niner - catchy.

Elon Musk; @elonmusk
F9R (pronounced F-niner) shows a little leg. Design is a nested, telescoping piston w A frame. pic.twitter.com/H49TSS2CYl

Giacomo Balli; @BigBall
@elonmusk is it hydraulic?

Elon Musk; @elonmusk
@BigBalli High pressure helium. Needs to be ultra light. All 4 legs together (~60 ft span) weigh less than Model S.


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#38 SALSN

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Posted 03 May 2013 - 10:49

#36 (DocM)
Do you have a source for the part about the dragon running Linux?
I want to submit it for the "runs Linux" segment of the "Linux Action Show", and though I generally trust you, a source would be nice :-)

#39 OP DocM

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Posted 03 May 2013 - 12:30

This is a public one I can share - a job posting for a S/W engineer - but it also comes from a non-public discussion area frequented by NASA, Roscosmos, ESA, SpaceX and other industry engineers. Fascinating stuff there :)

Fleshing it out, Linux and VxWorks (for realtime ops) are used throughout their mission control, rockets and spacecraft. Where many rockets still use descrete wiring in most places SpaceX's are fully networked. Avionics are triple redundant voting systems. Back in the Falcon 1 days at the Reagan Test Center (Marshall Islands) their whole launch control system fit in a small trailer with 8-10 laptops in it.

Programming is in C++. This and their OS's caused delays in the first ISS flights because NASA Mission Control uses a mish-mash of older systems including FORTRAN, so integrating it all took time.

http://ventureloop.c...hp?jobid=152474

Our Flight Software Group currently has opportunities developing software for embedded flight hardware using Linux and VxWorks as well as ground simulation software using Linux. We also have projects involving low level device driver development, communication protocol work, data integration with the International Space Station, guidance/control algorithm implementation, and fault tolerant system design as well as development of vehicle simulation software.



#40 OP DocM

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Posted 03 May 2013 - 13:33

Duh - here's another, deeper, public link I'd save & forgot about

http://lwn.net/Articles/540368/

Some technical details

Linux is used for everything at SpaceX. The Falcon, Dragon, and Grasshopper vehicles use it for flight control, the ground stations run Linux, as do the developers' desktops. SpaceX is "Linux, Linux, Linux", he said.

Rose went on to briefly describe the Dragon flight system, though he said he couldn't give too many details. It is a fault-tolerant system in order to satisfy NASA requirements for when it gets close to the ISS. There are rules about how many faults a craft needs to be able to tolerate and still be allowed to approach the station. It uses triply redundant computers to achieve the required level of fault tolerance. The Byzantine generals' algorithm is used to handle situations where the computers do not agree. That situation could come about because of a radiation event changing memory or register values, for example.



#41 SALSN

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Posted 03 May 2013 - 14:08

Thanks :-)

#42 bdsams

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Posted 03 May 2013 - 14:26

Keep up the good work DocM, one of my favorite threads on here :)

#43 geertd

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Posted 03 May 2013 - 15:40

Elon Musk; @elonmusk
@BigBalli High pressure helium. Needs to be ultra light. All 4 legs together (~60 ft span) weigh less than Model S.


wonder what material they are using to keep it that light

#44 OP DocM

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Posted 03 May 2013 - 16:08

High grade carbon composites, lithium-aluminum alloy, titanium alloys etc.

Most of their rockets and Dragons structural parts are lithium-aluminum.

#45 FloatingFatMan

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Posted 03 May 2013 - 19:53

Programming is in C++. This and their OS's caused delays in the first ISS flights because NASA Mission Control uses a mish-mash of older systems including FORTRAN, so integrating it all took time.

http://ventureloop.c...hp?jobid=152474


I'm kinda surprised NASA don't use Ada. I did some work in Ada back in the 80's, for a firm working on a UK air-force contract.