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SpaceX Updates (thread 3)


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#46 OP DocM

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Posted 03 May 2013 - 20:22

NASA does use Ada, along with FORTRAN and an alphabet soup of C builds. As I said, a mish-mash. Made interfacing with SpaceX's highly modular C++ coding for Linux & VxWorks interesting.

To SpaceX the Grasshopper HovrrSlam landing code is essentially just an app that plugs into the F9 v1.1's avionics.


#47 OP DocM

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Posted 04 May 2013 - 03:33

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


Trying to keep it up to date, which is a job with SpaceX given how fast they're moving on multiple fronts. While other companies are laying off SpaceX is hiring like crazy - over 1,000 in the last year and they only take the cream of the crop from aerospace schools and the best from other companies, NASA and the Astronaut Corps.

New news:

With their focus on first stage recovery & re-use with Grasshopper and F9R (F-Niner) one question that crops up is how the Falcon Heavy's center core will be recovered, if at all.

The FH side boostrrs drop off relatively low & slow so they can boost back like F-Niner, but that canter core acts like stage 1.5 - going faster, higher, and far...too far to boost back to the pad. Today Musk had a Twitter conversation about Falcon Heavy center core recovery;

2552nsf @2552nsf
@elonmusk Speaking of F9R, how do you plan to recover the FH center core? Seems it would be going too fast/far for direct boost-back.

Elon Musk ‏@elonmusk
@2552nsf Yeah, that is super tricky. Will have to sacrifice a lot of payload to boost back or land on ocean platform.

JP Burke ‏@yatpay
@elonmusk Is it possible to launch from Texas and land in Florida?

Elon Musk ‏@elonmusk
@yatpay Side boosters fall short & center core goes too far + Florida is heavily populated. Landing permission tricky



#48 OP DocM

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Posted 11 May 2013 - 04:28

In the competition for who gets the big SpaceX commercial spaceport and the large diameter rocket core factory** -

The proposed Boca Chica, Texas site has passed its FAA environmental impact evaluation. The state of Texas has passed the needed changes to its beach closing laws and it's on its way to Gov. Perry for his signature.

Georgia has yet to even choose its environmental impact analysis team.

Florida's Space Florida agency and KSC are still having a turf war over the Shiloh site.

** it is now known that SpaceX will be building a new factory for rockets even larger than Falcon Heavy. In 2010 they presented an AIAA paper on propulsion systems that showed concepts named Falcon X and Falcon XX, both super-heavy class boosters lofting from 100 to 150+ metric tons. Some rumors put Falcon XX at >200 metric tons. Saturn V could loft ~112 metric tons.

Falcon X / Falcon XX would most likely be barged to KSC for launch using one of the Saturn V / Shuttle pads..

Since then they have confirmed rocket cores >7 meters in diameter (F9 = 3.66m), the Raptor staged combustion methane fueled engine with 650,000 lbf of thrust (Merlin 1D = 147,000 lbf), and the mysteriously named and still "black" MCT project.

The below composited image shows a 6' tall man compared to the original Falcon 1 testbed, Falcon 9 1.0 (first 5 flights), Falcon 9 v1.1 (maiden flight in July), Falcon Heavy, and the 2010 AIAA presentations images of Falcon X and Falcon XX.

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#49 OP DocM

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Posted 16 May 2013 - 07:18

http://www.spacenews...owth-experiment

SpaceX To Refly Columbia Plant Growth Experiment

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — A plant growth experiment lost in the 2003 Space Shuttle Columbia accident is being revamped for reflight to the international space station aboard the next Space Exploration Technologies Corp. (SpaceX) Dragon cargo ship.

The experiment, called BioTube, is intended to test if a strong magnetic field can replace gravity in influencing the direction plant roots grow in space.

“Right after the germination, the roots decide which way to grow. So the entire experiment is really interested in about the first 48 hours of how these roots grow when they are subjected to a magnetic field with no gravity,” said Don Platt, president of Melbourne, Fla.-based Micro Aerospace Solutions, which is developing the revamped BioTube.

The experiment is a follow-on to one that flew on STS-107, the last flight of Columbia, which was destroyed during re-entry following a 16-day research mission. All seven astronauts aboard were killed.

“The experiment worked quite well but obviously the payload was lost,” said Platt, who was previously employed by experiment developer Bionetics Corp. here.

Platt’s company is now preparing the backup unit, which did not fly on Columbia, to be launched on SpaceX’s third space station cargo run. NASA’s launch schedule shows the mission is slated for liftoff in November.

“They’ve changed the seeds because of genetic mapping and what they have maps of now, so we’ve redone the experiment totally to fly to the international space station,” Platt said.

BioTube, which is about the size of microwave oven, originally flew inside a Spacehab module in the shuttle’s cargo bay. It was part of an overall research initiative to understand how gravity-sensing systems in plants and small organisms operate.



#50 OP DocM

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Posted 17 May 2013 - 04:39

The Falcon 9 v1.1's 13.1 MT to low Earth orbit "limit" only applies to a launch with engine-out capability, which is what SpaceX lists on its website. NASA's spec for F9 v1.1 is different in that it does not specify engine-out, which yields a mass to LEO of 16 MT. It remains to be seen which the USAF will use. If the customer wants power over engine-out, they can get power.

Now consider this for cargo Trunk volume: so far we've only seen the short version of the Dragon's Trunk; a 2.3m internal length vs. 4.3m for the much larger Extended Trunk. Comparison from dimensions given in SpaceX's docs

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Here's a video of the Falcon 9 / Falcon Heavy 5.2m fairing test done at NASA Glenn's Plum Brook Station vacuum chamber -



#51 OP DocM

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Posted 20 May 2013 - 04:20

The news is out on Pad 39A and possible super-heavy launchers -

http://www.examiner....-nasa-s-pad-39a

#52 neoadorable

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Posted 22 May 2013 - 03:57

Thanks for keeping this going, Doc!

#53 OP DocM

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Posted 22 May 2013 - 06:39


SuperDraco is the launch abort and propulsive landing thruster to be used in the SpaceX Dragon 2 (DragonRider) spacecraft. Dragon 2 will have 8 SuperDracos, each one 1.5x as powerful as the Apollo Lunar Module landing engine.

Dragon 2 with integrated SuperDraco's is scheduled for an abort from launch pad test in December 2013. This is an abort capability the Shuttle never had. A few months later (~Q2 2014) a mid-flight high dynamic pressure (Max-Q) launch abort test will be performed. This will set up Dragon 2 for crewed flight tests.

SuperDraco specs

Thrust: 15,000 lbf (67,000 Newtons)
Fuel: mono-methyl hydrazine
Oxidizer: nitrogen tetroxide
Propellant delivery: pressurized gas
Throttle range: 5-100% (unconfirmed)
Time to 100%: 100 ms
Specific impulse (ISP): ~300 seconds
Avionics: 3 string redundant

Test fire (100% throttle)
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Provisional SuperDraco pods (NASA Admin. Gen. Charles Bolden, USMC Ret.)
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Hotfire


#54 OP DocM

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Posted 01 June 2013 - 01:07

https://mobile.twitt...618952281579521

@HewittPD

SpaceX has just notified us that there will be, baring any unforeseen problems, a 9 engine test at around 8pm this evening.


This burn will be 9 qualification engines. Once the burn is done they'll be removed for Grasshopper 2 and replaced with 9 flight engines that have already been tested, then F9 v1.1 #1 goes to Vandenberg.

#55 OP DocM

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Posted 03 June 2013 - 10:18

There may be another burn soon. Watching for video.

@elonmusk

1st firing of Falcon 9-R advanced prototype rocket. Over 1M lbs thrust, enough to lift skyscraper pic.twitter.com/AUCsWTw77E


(Speaking of F9 1.0 thrust vs. F9R)

@elonmusk

@williamricci6 50% higher. ~1.3 M lbs sea level and ~1.5 M lbs vacuum thrust. Will be 60% higher with some tweaks.


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#56 OP DocM

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Posted 06 June 2013 - 03:14

New date for F9R #1 (Canada's CASSIOPE and a load of small satellites): NET August 14

Still work to do on the Vandenberg pad, some work on the vehicle, a longer burn, an engine swap (evaluation engines --> flight engines).then another burn with the flight engines.

#57 OP DocM

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Posted 08 June 2013 - 11:33

Engine bay of F9R with engine access panels off. No engines mounted.

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The below images are of production M1D flight engines. The white ring near the top is thermal protection that connects to thermal protection at the bottom of the Octaweb thrust structure. Also very shiny! Most likely polished niobium.

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Also - waiting for official word on how it went (unofficial word is embargoed, as usual)

http://www.kwtx.com/...ml?device=phone

MCGREGOR (June 7, 2013)—Residents accustomed to the daily roar of tests at the SpaceX facility in McGregor may do a double-take when the private space exploration company conducts a test it says will be significantly louder.

The test could occur as early as Friday afternoon and could last for as long as several minutes, the company said.



#58 OP DocM

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Posted 11 June 2013 - 03:14

DEVELOPMENT F9R hot-fire video from last Friday night, not a pre-flight test (that comes later.) 1 M1D flight engine (center?) and 8 low fidelity development engines. Pre-flight tests will be done with 9 flight engines.

Thrust of the M1D's was set to a 60% gain vs. M1C instead of the rated 50%. Burn duration ~2 minutes. 1.5 million lbf is sbout equal to a Saturn V's F1 engine.

Elon Musk
@elonmusk
1st long duration firing of the new generation Falcon 9 rocket ~1.5 million pounds of vac thrust




Test site: tripod test stand, qualification stand, and water tower

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#59 OP DocM

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Posted 11 June 2013 - 17:59

Another longer F9R hotfire will be attempted tomorrow (Wednesday), hopefully for at least 180 seconds. These guys have really mastered the art of fast turnarounds.

#60 FloatingFatMan

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Posted 11 June 2013 - 20:44

Always knew it would take private enterprise getting into space to make stuff more interesting! Government projects -always- move as slow as molasses.