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DocM

SpaceX Updates (Thread 4): F9, FH & Dragon

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Vandenberg is getting a new high bay like KSC's.

vandenberghighbay1.jpg

vandenberghighbay2.jpg....

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Almost forgot -

This bay is for the vertical integration of the payload, payload adapter and fairing for some national security payloads.

They need to get it done because the next launcher up to bat at Vandenberg is Falcon Heavy #1.

They're also putting the finishing touches on the *massive* Falcon Heavy test stand at McGregor, which is partially underground to limit the noise townsfolk will have to put up with. That MoFu is gonna be LOUD!

Falcon Heavy: 224 feet tall, 27 Merlin 1D engines, almost 4 million lbf of thrust and able to orbit the mass of a fully loaded Boeing 737. That fairing can hold a city bus.

FHR.jpg

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I hope the request for the falcon heavy increase after the demo flight next year, as there is only 2 on the manifest after that. 1 in 2015 and 1 in 2017.

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FH is primarily for large Defense Dept. payloads for now, and the first one is a qualification flight for them. If all goes well the DoD will expand the manifest. So will dual-manifested commsats and heavy NASA payloads, but first things first.

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SLC-40's F9 v1.1 transporter/erector goes vertical. Upper portion/claw may be missing.

Padrat ?@LH2Padrat

Here's some progress for ya. T/E vertical for the first time pic.twitter.com/dbceisJpIk

slc40_newerector.jpg

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Crew Dragon Max-Q launch abort update.

http://www.nasa.gov/content/nasa-partner-spacex-completes-review-of-2014-commercial-crew-abort-test/#.UmmkYHPD_qB

In preparation for a summer 2014 test, NASA partner Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) recently laid out its plan to demonstrate the Dragon spacecraft's ability to carry astronauts to safety in the event of an in-flight emergency.

This review of the in-flight abort test plan provided an assessment of the Dragon's SuperDraco engines, the software that would issue the abort command, and the interface between the Dragon spacecraft and the Falcon 9 rocket on which the spacecraft will be launched.

"It's critical to have a launch abort system in which NASA and SpaceX can have confidence," said Phil McAlister, director of Commercial Spaceflight Development at NASA Headquarters in Washington. "When you put humans aboard, safety and reliability are paramount and this review and the upcoming tests will help prove their space transportation system is on the right track."

Experts from NASA and the Federal Aviation Administration attended the review of the in-flight abort test plan Sept. 17 at SpaceX headquarters in Hawthorne, Calif. Attendees also had the opportunity to view the Dragon test spacecraft, which is being manufactured for an upcoming pad abort test and, potentially, the in-flight abort test.

"With NASA?s support, SpaceX continues to implement the necessary modifications to equip Dragon to fly crew," said Garrett Reisman, commercial crew project manager at SpaceX. "SpaceX and NASA believe in rigorous flight testing and we are looking forward to putting our SuperDraco launch abort system through these critical tests, starting with the pad abort test in the spring and followed by the in-flight abort test in the summer."

The in-flight abort test will take place along Florida?s space coast. During the test, a Dragon spacecraft will launch on a standard Falcon 9 rocket and an abort command will be issued approximately 73 seconds into the flight. At that point, the spacecraft will be flying through the area of maximum dynamic pressure, or Max Q, where the combination of air pressure and speed will cause maximal strain on the spacecraft.

Dragon will be outfitted with about 270 special sensors to measure a wide variety of stresses and acceleration effects on the spacecraft. An instrumented mannequin, similar to a crash test dummy, also will be inside. The spacecraft's parachutes will deploy for a splashdown in the Atlantic, where a ship will be pre-positioned for simulated rescue operations. The test spacecraft will be returned to Port Canaveral by barge so data can be retrieved and incorporated into the system's design.

SpaceX is one of three companies. working under NASA's Commercial Crew Integrated Capability (CCiCap) initiative to develop spaceflight capabilities that eventually could provide launch services to transport NASA astronauts to the International Space Station from U.S. soil.

This review was the eighth milestone for SpaceX under CCiCap. The company is on track to complete all 15 of its CCiCap milestones by the summer of 2014. All of NASA's industry partners, including SpaceX, continue to meet their established milestones in developing commercial crew transportation capabilities.

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Interesting news on the Brownsville/ Texas SpaceX commercial spaceport front.

Dogleg Park LLC is SpaceX's Texas front company.

http://www.themonitor.com/news/local/article_826ce204-54a5-11e3-9a2c-0019bb30f31a.html

SpaceX keeps buying land on possible spaceport site

SpaceX continues to solidify its presence in Cameron County.

If property holdings measure the California-based space exploration firm?s interest in establishing a commercial rocket-launching facility at Boca Chica Beach, a recent purchase increased the likelihood six-fold.

Elon Musk?s Space Exploration Technologies Corp., through Director of Business Affairs Lauren Dreyer, Senior Manager Todd Ziegler and Dogleg Park LLC, recently increased its land holdings in the Boca Chica Beach area from 12 lots to 72 undeveloped lots at a tax sale on the front steps of the Cameron County Judicial Building in Brownsville, the Valley Morning Star found.

SpaceX did not respond to a request for comment.

>

SpaceX Spaceport proposal

SPACE_x_IMAGE_SITE00000001.1342809744.jp

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SpaceX, a private space transport company that manufacturers and launches advanced rockets and spacecraft, has hired the Nickles Group LLC to lobby on general issues related to aerospace, budget, intellectual property, defense, labor, science/technology and tax. The Nickles lobbyists include Cynthia Merifield Tripodi, and Hazen Marshall, former staff director of the Senate Budget Committee, and former deputy chief of staff to then Assistant Majority Leader Don Nickles, R-Okla.

 

http://blogs.rollcall.com/moneyline/spacex-launches-second-lobbying-team/

so, touchingly :) they want more from tax monies??? ;) lm & Boeing have another view on that.

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Nickels Group LLC is a Republican lobbying group. This gives them access to both sides of the political aisle. This is how the DC (Moscow, London. Paris....) political game is played.

This bipartisan lobbying is also something Boeing, Lockheed Martin and United Launch Alliance already do, so these established players have nothing to say as regards how SpaceX playing their game.

Also,

NASA has announced they are negotiating with SpaceX for the rights to use the historic Pad 39A launch complex. This was where Apollo 11 left for the Moon. It was also used for many Shuttle missions, including the last Shuttle flight in 2011.

SpaceX will likely modify it for Falcon 9 v1.1 and Falcon Heavy NASA missions to the ISS, deep space and Commercial Crew. Later 39A will likely be used for their coming Super-heavy methane fueled booster. Their current LC-40 pad will likely be used for commercial cargo.

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Nickels Group LLC is a Republican lobbying group. This gives them access to both sides of the political aisle. This is how the DC (Moscow, London. Paris....) political game is played.

This bipartisan lobbying is also something Boeing, Lockheed Martin and United Launch Alliance already do, so these established players have nothing to say as regards how SpaceX playing their game.

lm & Boeing have had more powerful lobby + their rockets are amongst most reliable in the World. expensive? yes, they are, but Musk never showed real price of his rockets. + needless to say, his rocket hasn't the best specs on market + he must prove those numbers yet (even for expendable mode). actually, he's been heavily supported by gov & those funds have run to very controversial schemes (like powered-returning stages). i said to you back then, such approach is very unstable & last attempt to return stage was illustrating it clearly. And.. why video of returning stage never has been officially posted? reverse engineering??????? :) seems too weak arguments: guys capable to spy have more advanced instruments to collect data, than average youtube's user ;)

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Almost forgot -

This bay is for the vertical integration of the payload, payload adapter and fairing for some national security payloads.

They need to get it done because the next launcher up to bat at Vandenberg is Falcon Heavy #1.

They're also putting the finishing touches on the *massive* Falcon Heavy test stand at McGregor, which is partially underground to limit the noise townsfolk will have to put up with. That MoFu is gonna be LOUD!

Falcon Heavy: 224 feet tall, 27 Merlin 1D engines, almost 4 million lbf of thrust and able to orbit the mass of a fully loaded Boeing 737. That fairing can hold a city bus.

FHR.jpg

Looks like one of my wife's bedtime toys.... :/

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@ sarKOY

So your problem is that Musk isn't an obnoxious sneering purist or moral supremacist, that he understands realpolitik?

As for everything else...

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@ sarKOY

So your problem is that Musk isn't an obnoxious sneering purist or moral supremacist, that he understands realpolitik?

As for everything else...

not sure what do you mean :) my point is clear & simple:

 

1. f9 is very limited design: it can't provide the rest of possible orbits.

2. conception of reusability has no serious ground, any normal engineer must avoid such poor schemes.

3. Musk has chased after his ideas for taxpayer's backs. if he is so private company, he has to waste his own monies.

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^ Re-usability is the only option moving forward. We can't afford to keep throwing away such expensive resources if we want space exploration to become economically viable.

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^ Re-usability is the only option moving forward. We can't afford to keep throwing away such expensive resources if we want space exploration to become economically viable.

FFM, future spacecraft must be reusable, here doesn't exist other alternatives. But(!) we discuss the conceptions of reusability. Musk's one is very poor.

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@ sarKOY

Thank You for responding. Where to begin? I don't think I'll bother. So long.

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@ sarKOY

Thank You for responding. Where to begin? I don't think I'll bother. So long.

schemes of reusability have been known for years upon years:

 

1. stage(s) lands as aircraft.

2. spacecraft uses N-dip trajectories for re-entry.

3. orbital tugs.

=========================

it's just short list of possible. :)

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As I said on his arrival-

6072c3f98f422cbfe116f89220478223.thumbna

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DocM, perhaps you'd like to ans my question about video of returning stage? ;)

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Looks like one of my wife's bedtime toys.... :/

But with a purpose. The side boosters, basically stretched Falcon 9's, used in cross-feed mode both fire and propellants fuel to the center stage preserving it's peopellant loads.

When the side boosters separate the rest of the stack has full tanks, which is essentially like launching a Falcon 9 from 60+ kilometers up and already doing Mach 6. This increases payload mass tremendously - Falcon Heavy will be able to send ~53 metric tons to LEO, 22.5 metric tons to GTO, or almost 13 metric tons to Mars.

The in-development SpaceX Raptor methane engine in a similar (but much larger) stage configuration has been estimated (using Schilling's rocket simulator) to loft almost 200 metric tons to orbit. Perhaps more, depending on assumptions. Raptor components enter testing at NASA Stennis in early 2014.

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Accidental dup

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But with a purpose. The side boosters, basically stretched Falcon 9's, used in cross-feed mode both fire and feed fuel to the center stage preserving it's fuel load.

When the side boosters separate the rest of the stack has full tanks, which is essentially like launching a Falcon 9 from 60+ kilometers up and already doing Mach 6. This increases payload tremendously - Falcon Heavy will be able to send ~53 metric tons to LEO, 22.5 metric tons to GTO, or almost 13 metric tons to Mars.

The in-development Raptor methane engine in a similar (much larger) stage configuration has been estimated (using Schilling's rocket simulator) to loft almost 200 metric tons to orbit. Perhaps more, depending on assumptions. Raptor components enter testing at NASA Stennis in early 2014.

just yet another ungrounded claims: cross-feeding, for example, is inefficient scheme -- it makes design more tricky + dry mass gets growing as well :) Methane??? why do you think Methane is more useful than other propellants? :)

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Methane is more useful because it can be made on Mars, so you do not need to take the return fuel with you.

 

So a 200 tons octaweb that can bring around 65 tonnes to Mars, that could be the mass of the MCT.

The moon could be interesting for resources too. China is going that way.

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Cross feeding was actually proposed by both Russia and Boeing, so some pretty smart folks think it's worthwhile. Boeing hasn't used it because Delta IV Heavy can launch current NRO payloads without it. Falcon Heavy brings into play a much larger class of NRO (and science) payloads, or launching 2-3 at once, making cross-feed for these very heavy payloads necessary.

As to cross-feeds complexity and mass, it's (largely hollow) plumbing and vailves (in other words, a manifold) that fit into the existing Falcon Heavy core Octawebs. As a percentage of dry mass it's not much at all. I've also seen cross-feed diagrams for the multi-core versions of Russia's new Angara launcher so they're thinking in that direction too.

Methane is useful because it has a higher specific impulse than keresene but doesn't have the handling, containment degradation and boil-off difficulties of hydrogen - especially long term. It can also be made on Mars from its CO2 atmosphere and hydrogen derived from local water ice via the Sabatier process. This cuts launched mass as you cam refuel locally.

Methane is also useful for reusable rockets, which is a SpaceX priority. Kerosene cokes up the engine (soot deposits) and methane doesn't. Less work during the turnarounds.

BTW, Russia's working on their new RD-162/RD-0164 methane fueled engines, so if it is an insane idea then it's a shared madness. One of these new Russian methane engines is in the same 650,000 klbf class as SpaceX's Raptor.

Where SpaceX has an advantage in a race to methane is manufacturing and engine efficiency. If Raptor can achieve the 150:1 thrust to weight ratio of Merlin 1D (most engines are 30:1 to 80:1) it would mean a much larger than expected payload mass.

Now imagine if they could 3D print most of the engine instead of machining it. They are already 3D printing propellant valves and the Dragon 2's regeneratively cooled SuperDraco abort and landing thruster, at the least - maybe propellant nozzles too, so never say never.

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@DocM

 

Cross feeding was actually proposed by both Russia and Boeing, so some pretty smart folks think it's worthwhile

back then Shuttle was proposed as most cost-efficient way, but ended up as unreliable & crazy expensive. many things were believed as breakthrough, but only a few is living breakthrough. + as i said, scheme to not burn core stage until needful altitude is quite simple alternative. actually, it's just modification of multi-stage design.

 

Methane is useful because it has a higher specific impulse than keresene but doesn't have the handling, containment degradation and boil-off difficulties of hydrogen - especially long term. It can also be made on Mars from its CO2 atmosphere and hydrogen derived from local water ice via the Sabatier process. This cuts launched mass as you cam refuel locally.

  Mars? :) c'mon! Musk's rockets barely get in ordinary orbits. if to say about long-lasting missions, Methane is useless too: it's gas, so boil-off problems shall be as well, leakages are yet another trouble which will not vanish into nowhere too. how weighty hardware you need to mine Methane in the Mars??? :) what about radiation shielding??? what about portable nuke reactors??? And so many others WTFs as well.  & yes, what about oxidizer? :)

 

BTW, Russia's working on their new RD-162/RD-0164 methane fueled engines, so if it is an insane idea then it's a shared madness. One of these new Russian methane engines is in the same 650,000 klbf class as SpaceX's Raptor.

Methane could have some advantages, but for expendable rockets. however, even for expendable ones, it's very unlikely to get significant advance. liquid fuels have better ratio volume to Isp. in short, perhaps Methane will be fruitful for upper stages? but so far it's only theoretical assumption.    

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