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


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#16 OP DocM

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Posted 15 August 2013 - 21:23

SpaceX's Dragon has passed a MAJOR design review for carrying NASA / ISS crews


NASA Commercial Crew Partner SpaceX Completes Orbit and Entry Review

RELEASE 13-255

NASA Commercial Crew Partner SpaceX Completes Orbit and Entry Review

NASA Commercial Crew Program (CCP) partner Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) recently reviewed the systems critical to sustaining crews in orbit and returning them safely to Earth aboard the company's Dragon spacecraft.

SpaceX is one of three commercial space 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.

During the preliminary design review at SpaceX headquarters in Hawthorne, Calif., company engineers presented NASA representatives and aerospace industry experts detailed analyses of Dragon systems critical to keeping crews safe in orbit and during re-entry operations. From basic life support functions, including pressurizing Dragon with breathable air, to stocking the capsule with enough food and water for as many as seven crew members, the spacecraft must be designed to protect humans in the harsh conditions of space. Company designers and NASA engineers dissected the plans carefully to make sure no details were overlooked.

"NASA has learned a lot about keeping our astronaut crews safe throughout a mission, and we don't want those lessons to be forgotten," said Ed Mango, NASA's CCP manager. "So, we're sharing a lot of what we already know, and the company is adding its own innovations to suit its needs and meet its challenges."

The review detailed equipment and software aboard Dragon that would help guide crews to the International Space Station for rendezvous and docking operations. This included discussion on SpaceX’s planning for software code which, in this modern era of spaceship design, is just as critical as the hardware design. The company also described how the spacecraft will be operated both by its onboard crew and by ground controllers.

While SpaceX works to further develop its crewed Dragon spacecraft, it also is preparing for the upcoming launch of the third of at least 12 cargo missions to the space station with a remotely controlled Dragon under NASA's Commercial Resupply Services contract.

"SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft was designed from the outset to accommodate the upgrades necessary to safely carry people, so we’re excited to have reached the halfway point in our agreement with NASA to design those features,” said Gwynne Shotwell, SpaceX president and chief operating officer. “As we leverage our experience successfully delivering cargo both to the International Space Station and back to Earth, SpaceX remains committed to providing the safest manned flights ever conducted."

In December, the company completed preliminary design reviews covering the ground systems and ascent, which are the first two phases of flight. Completion of the orbit and entry review clears the way for SpaceX to proceed with detailed designs for its integrated space transportation system, comprised of its Dragon spacecraft, Falcon 9 rocket and supporting ground systems.

The review was the seventh 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.

For more information about NASA's Commercial Crew Program and its aerospace industry partners, visit:

http://www.nasa.gov/commercialcrew




#17 OP DocM

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Posted 19 August 2013 - 19:14

1) F9 v1.1 / CASSIOPE WDR (wet dress rehearsal) set for the last week of August. Hotfire a few days before launch, which is still set for NET Sept. 5th.

2) the recent Grasshopper "divert" test may have been the last one for McGregor. Not confirmed, but strongly rumored. If true later tests will be at SpacePort America.

3) CRS-3 to ISS is set for January 17, 2014.

#18 Beittil

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Posted 20 August 2013 - 08:18

I wonder if SpaceX CRS-3 would get the december timeslot in case the Antares/Cygnus mission next month fails. SpaceX does have their pad abort test comming up in december, so their pad might not even be free for a CRS mission in case NASA should ask them to move back?!?



#19 OP DocM

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Posted 20 August 2013 - 13:18

CRS-3 is up for January 17 because Orbital's Cygnus got the earlier VV (visiting vehicle) slot. It's up to Orbital to make that slot or slip to one after SpaceX.

OTOH, SpaceX has several commercial paunches with stages already completed and in testing. CASSIOPE is F9 #6 and on the pad at Vandenberg, stage 7 (SES8) is at McGregor undergoing hotfire acceptance tests and stages 8, 9 and 10 prepping for shipment.

The production line is HUMMING.

#20 Beittil

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Posted 21 August 2013 - 06:41

I know the CRS-3 is in the january slot because Cygnus is slated for december. What I mean is that in case next months COTS2/3 demo fails for Cygnus then they are obviously not going to get a december launch! In which case i wonder if NASA would open up that december slot to SpaceX again.



#21 OP DocM

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Posted 21 August 2013 - 13:46

No - if Cygnus slips SpaceX would not get the CRS-3 cargo in time to do a fast turnaround in time. Too many logistical issues now that the plan is January, plus they're moving commercial launches into the earlier timeframe.

#22 Beittil

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Posted 27 August 2013 - 06:44

 

WASHINGTON — NASA is stretching out the third phase of its Commercial Crew Program, providing an additional $55 million to three contractors for more development work on privately designed space transportation systems that could ferry astronauts to and from the international space station as soon as 2017.

 

 

SpaceX would also get another $20 million, bringing the company’s total CCiCap award to $440 million.  The new milestone would fund parachute tests, to be completed in November, for the crewed version of the company’s Dragon spacecraft. The newly funded test will give SpaceX a chance to evaluate Dragon’s chutes before they are used in April for a previously scheduled pad-abort test at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. In that test, SpaceX will evaluate the capsule’s crew escape system, which is designed to blast crews to safety in the event of an anomaly during any phase of Dragon’s ascent to space aboard the company’s Falcon 9 rocket.

 

http://www.spacenews...-crew-contracts

 

What I don't understand is, wasn't SpaceX going to do parachute drop test(s) in the october/november months anyway? Not sure, but I thought I read that somewhere. I mean, good for them if they could get an additional $20M out of it when they kick Dragon out the back of a plane... any1 knows more?



#23 OP DocM

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Posted 27 August 2013 - 11:55

The $20m is to pay for the govts share of the new parachute systems tests.

Recapping -

In Oct/Nov there will be a test of a new Dragon parachute system. The deployment mortar and drogue systems were modded to allow the faster deployment. This mod allows it to deploy faster and at lower altitudes after a launch pad abort, or in case the SuperDraco landing thrusters fail during a land touchdown (later Dragon will land using thrusters only - no chutes.)

Around December there will be a launch pad abort test of the SuperDraco's and the parachute systems - a Dragon will be mounted atop a simulated 2nd stage at their KSC pad. The SD's will fire as they would to pull Dragon away from a failing Falcon 9 booster and the parachutes will bring it down in the Atlantic just off the coast.

Another SuperDraco abort test will happen in early 2014 - a fully equipped Falcon 9 will launch a Dragon at KSC then suffer a simulated "failure" at MAX-Q (maximum dynamic pressure - about where Challenger failed), at which time the SuperDraco's will fire and pull the Dragon to safety. The parachutes will then bring it down in the Atlantic.

Pretty extensive tests of a highly advanced and redundant escape system, something the shuttle never had.

#24 FloatingFatMan

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Posted 27 August 2013 - 12:02

Pretty extensive tests of a highly advanced snd redundant escape system, something the shuttle never had.

 

Was gonna say. They seem to be doing WAY more escape tests than NASA did...  Or is it more a case of there being more reporting these days?



#25 OP DocM

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Posted 27 August 2013 - 12:19

Was gonna say. They seem to be doing WAY more escape tests than NASA did... Or is it more a case of there being more reporting these days?

You cannot report on something Shuttle never had.

The only pad escape system Shuttle had was a zip-line from the launch tower to a bunker some distance away. The crew had to blow the hatch, crawl out and take turns sliding down the zip-line. Useless in a fast moving event.

After launch there were no launch abort options for the first 3 minutes of flight - basically until the solid rocket boosters (SRB's) separated. Before then any malfunction resulted in a loss of mission and crew (LOM & LOC.)

Early in the Shuttles development there were proposals for ejection seats (these were actually installed in the Enterprise testbed) and a parachute system that would eject the entire pressure vessel-capsule from the orbiter, but both were cut to maximize payload capacity and cut costs.

"Nothing can go wrong....wrong....wro...."

The capsule parachute system would have saved the Challenger crew as they survived the explosion, not dying until their crew capsule hit the water at 300 mph.

#26 FloatingFatMan

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Posted 27 August 2013 - 12:36

That's just... wrong. :(



#27 OP DocM

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Posted 27 August 2013 - 13:07

Yup. Nearly criminal IMHO.

Following Challenger a new program was started to develop Shuttle replacements for use as ISS crew and cargo taxi's - the HL-20 and its upscaled big brother the HL-42. Both were canceled during the Clinton years, supposedly for budget reasons but in reality because the major Shuttle contractors had them killed. They were so inexpensive to build & operate it would have reduced their profits.

The design for HL-20 was licensed from NASA in the mid-1990's by Jim Benson, President & CEO of SpaceDev, and developed for several years until his death. SpaceDev was acquired by Sierra Nevada Corp., and today HL-20 lives on as the Dream Chaser.

#28 OP DocM

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Posted 10 September 2013 - 00:19

Facilities update;

SpaceX is completing the design of a 250 foot MST (mobile servicing tower) for their Vandenberg SLC-4E pad. This will be used for US Dept. of Defense spacecraft, which require vertical integration. The first few DoD launches will use mobile cranes, but the MST will have a built-in crane.

#29 bguy_1986

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Posted 11 September 2013 - 01:03

I've got a request DocM.  Whenever you start a new thread on subject, would you be able to put a quick post in the previous thread that you started a new one?  I try to follow all of the SpaceX threads but didn't see you started this one until now. 

 

It's totally up to you, I appreciate the work you put in keeping us all up to date.  Usually looks like I'm the only one that follows them (by clicking the button on the top right of the forum), everybody else gets on enough and probably just checks themselves.  Not a huge deal, would just be a bonus and make it easier to see when somebody updated the thread.

 

Thanks!

 

 

Actually scratch that... I'm not sure what happened.  Just seen this thread has been open since the end of July, and I'm pretty sure I've told it to follow it since then.



#30 OP DocM

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Posted 11 September 2013 - 03:49

For the record - I included links to all previous SpaceX general update threads in the first post of this one.

Thread 1: http://www.neowin.ne...rasshopper-rlv/

Thread 2: http://www.neowin.ne...dates-thread-2/

Thread 3: http://www.neowin.ne...dates-thread-3/