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SpaceX Grasshopper (reusable launcher testbed) tests


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#16 calimike

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Posted 10 March 2013 - 02:24

What if 3 stages rockets are running out of liquid fuel? :/


#17 OP DocM

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Posted 10 March 2013 - 03:11

What if 3 stages rockets are running out of liquid fuel? :/


The Falcon 9 v1.1 first stage and DragonRider have been designed with quitelarge fuel reserves, much more than flight & landing require. The F9 tanks one are almost 45% larger, and its new engines much more powerful and throttleable.

DragonRider will also have 3 parachutes as a backups to its 8 SuperDraco thrusters and each other (it only needs 1 'chute), and it can afford to lose 2 of the SD's and still land without the 'chutes. Redundancy is a good thing, and safer.

The second stage recovery system is expected to use a separate set of SuperDraco thrusters with their own avionics, fuel & oxidizer apart from the main engine, and it will have its own heat shield.

Also: NASA is helping in terms of using its test facilities and resources, and the Astronaut Office is working with SpaceX on how they'd like DragonRiders flight controls & accomodations to work. The US astronauts have been very impressed, and when the first cargo Dragon arrived at the ISS the Russian crew were very surprised at its systems, large size, and sutomation. A cramped Soyuz made for 3 it ain't - DragonRider can carry up to 7 with room to spare for cargo.

#18 chrisj1968

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Posted 10 March 2013 - 03:39

I'm beginning to think that NASA has held BACK advances rather then innovated them

#19 OP DocM

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Posted 10 March 2013 - 04:09

There's some truth to that, they tend to innovate all manner of new techs but end up going with what's been done before. Part of this is risk aversion, and part is Congress not wanting to chane thongs in ways that'll lose pork jobs in certain powerful members districts.

Examples are plentiful, ranging from Bigelow's habitats to Sierra Nevada's Dream Chaser spaceplane - both cancelled after NASA developed the basic techs. It's taken private companies to move the ball down field. Current things being held back are centrifugal gravity, electromagnetic radiation shields, plasma propulsion, space tugs, fuel depots and other exploration technologies.

#20 OP DocM

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Posted 10 March 2013 - 05:05

SpaceX post -

SpaceX’s Grasshopper doubled its highest leap to date to rise 24 stories or 80.1 meters (262.8 feet) today, hovering for approximately 34 seconds and landing safely using closed loop thrust vector and throttle control. Grasshopper touched down with its most accurate precision thus far on the centermost part of the launch pad. At touchdown, the thrust to weight ratio of the vehicle was greater than one, proving a key landing algorithm for Falcon 9. Today’s test was completed at SpaceX’s rocket development facility in McGregor, Texas.

Grasshopper, SpaceX’s vertical and takeoff and landing (VTVL) vehicle, continues SpaceX’s work toward one of its key goals – developing fully and rapidly reusable rockets, a feat that will transform space exploration by radically reducing its cost. With Grasshopper, SpaceX engineers are testing the technology that would enable a launched rocket to land intact, rather than burning up upon reentry to the Earth’s atmosphere.

This is Grasshopper’s fourth in a series of test flights, with each test demonstrating exponential increases in altitude. Last September, Grasshopper flew to 2.5 meters (8.2 feet), in November, it flew to 5.4 meters (17.7 feet) and in December, it flew to 40 meters (131 feet).

Grasshopper stands 10 stories tall and consists of a Falcon 9 rocket first stage tank, Merlin 1D engine, four steel and aluminum landing legs with hydraulic dampers, and a steel support structure.



#21 OP DocM

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Posted 10 March 2013 - 19:43

Grasshopper 2 info is leaking out

• The program is accelerating now that "hoverslam landing" (decending with a thrust / weight ratio of >1) has been proven

• Grasshopper 2 will be seen sooner than later, perhaps shortly before or shortly after the first Falcon 9 v1.1 flight in late June.

• it will use the first Falcon 9 v1.1 stage, which is already vertical on the qualification stand at McGregor Texas

• the Grasshopper 2 thrust structure / engine mount will have folding landing legs and have high commonality with the thrust structure for Falcon 9 v1.1, so once turnaround & landing has been proven legs can be added to the F9 v1.1

• Grasshopper 2 will have some number of test hops at McGregor, then it will be shipped to the White Sands missile range for test flights up to 300,000 feet

I get shivers just thinking about that las one :)

#22 OP DocM

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Posted 17 April 2013 - 06:25

Another Grasshopper test is scheduled for TODAY

http://www.faa.gov/a...oming_launches/

#23 OP DocM

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Posted 20 April 2013 - 08:55

Grasshopper has flown again. Not a hop this time, a solid jump.

250 meters / 820 feet. This exceeds 700 ft AGL, which puts it solidly into Phase 3 of their program.

Other details / video pending.

#24 OP DocM

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Posted 22 April 2013 - 03:22

Elon Musk ‏@elonmusk 2 min
@dbhyslop Will post a video of the latest Grasshopper flight tomorrow (taken from the camera on our new hexacopter).


Hexacopter? SpaceX has drones

Cool!!

#25 OP DocM

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Posted 23 April 2013 - 03:20

SpaceX Grasshopper flies again. Yes, the cowboy mannequin in Johnny Cash gear went for another ride. Last hop was 80m, so they're tripling+ the previous effort on each attempt.

[Musk:] Grasshopper rocket flies up 250m, holds against wind and lands. Vid taken from our hexacopter

[Question:] Was the rocket leaning into the wind while it was holding it's altitude?

[Musk:] yes

[Question:] is the rocket evolving each trial or are you just testing what is capable of?

[Musk:] evolving