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NASA Orion crew exploration vehicle (updates)


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#61 OP DocM

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Posted 07 December 2014 - 23:57

Hey Docm, what would SpaceX have to do to to Human rate the Falcon 9 v 1.1.?

Falcon 9 v1.1/F9R was designed as a human rated launcher, so physically it already is. The main difference would be a software upload to reduce G loads the crew is exposed to and avoid maneuvers that would make aborts difficult (aka "black zones".)

It actually goes goes beyond the usual human ratings because it has engine-out capability. Engine-out for Falcon 9 v1.1 means there is armor plate and fireproofing between its 9 engines, so if one or two fail catastrophically the others are protected and can simply throttle up to continue the mission.

Having the 9 engine layout means losing one only reduces thrust by 11% instead of 50% like Antares. Such a single engine failure with Falcon 9 wouldn't end the mission

This has actually been used during a CRS flight of Falcon 9 v1.0, which also had engine-out. The fuel dome of its #5 engine let go so the computers shut its systems off, burned the remaining 8 engines longer to compensate (it's engines weren't throttleable), and Dragon got to ISS 30 minutes early.


#62 AnotherITguy

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Posted 08 December 2014 - 02:24

Thanks you guys, for clearing that out. So I take it the next step for SPACEX would be to go through the battery of tests to certify DRAGON 2.0 as human rated, are there any timelines for said work to commence?



#63 flyingskippy

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Posted 08 December 2014 - 03:10

Falcon 9 was built from the start to be human rated. Once the dragon 2 completes the pad abort and in flight abort tests, the booster is good to go.

#64 flyingskippy

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Posted 08 December 2014 - 03:18

Pad abort should happen really soon. Last date thrown around was November so either December or January I would say.

#65 OP DocM

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Posted 08 December 2014 - 08:21

Most likely January given all the effort and the delay caused by getting Dragon CRS-5 reconfigured to haul up duplicates of critical cargo lost in the Antares explosion.

The pad abort test involves a temporary platform attachment for LC-40's TEL (transporter erector launcher) that'll raise Dragon 2 to its launch height. It also provides the operational data lines and stage 2 mechanical and fluid attachments. It's been mounted to the TEL and tested, so after CRS-5 they'll re-mount it and prep for the pad abort.

It's also VERY likely Falcon 9 will launch 2 Cygnus CRS missions while Orbital qualifies different engines for Antares. Most likely the RD-193, a derivation of the RD-191 used in Angara. It's a drop-replacement for Antares NK-33.

#66 bguy_1986

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Posted 08 December 2014 - 13:56

Most likely January given all the effort and the delay caused by getting Dragon CRS-5 reconfigured to haul up duplicates of critical cargo lost in the Antares explosion.

The pad abort test involves a temporary platform attachment for LC-40's TEL (transporter erector launcher) that'll raise Dragon 2 to its launch height. It also provides the operational data lines and stage 2 mechanical and fluid attachments. It's been mounted to the TEL and tested, so after CRS-5 they'll re-mount it and prep for the pad abort.

It's also VERY likely Falcon 9 will launch 2 Cygnus CRS missions while Orbital qualifies different engines for Antares. Most likely the RD-193, a derivation of the RD-191 used in Angara. It's a drop-replacement for Antares NK-33.

Will they fly the Cygnus capsule up or will they just use a Dragon capsule since it's already fitted to go on a Falcon 9?



#67 OP DocM

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Posted 08 December 2014 - 14:32

They'll fly an improved Cygnus spacecraft. The Cygnus uses interfaces that are very similar to other Orbital built satellites F9 has launched and the companies have worked well together.

The improvement consists of adding container segments which make it longer, and also making it possible to use Cygnus as a crew mission habitat for Orion, Dragon 2 or CST-100 during long duration flights.

For Dragon 2 the theory is a Cygnus could be mounted to the F9 upper stage but inside a Dragon 2 stretched Trunk. Dragon and the Trunk would separate, turn around, dock with and move away with the Cygnus much as Apollo did with the LEM.

Cygnus-Congigurations.jpg

cst100_cygnus_bkgtest2.jpg

#68 OP DocM

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Posted 08 December 2014 - 15:03

Thanks you guys, for clearing that out. So I take it the next step for SPACEX would be to go through the battery of tests to certify DRAGON 2.0 as human rated, are there any timelines for said work to commence?

Pad abort around January 2015 as discussed, an in-flight abort test spring/summer 2015 at Vandenberg, and a full up orbital test in early/mid 2016. SpaceX believes a crewed test could happen later in 2016, but NASA may not have the funding.

SpaceX may fly a crew in 2016 on their own dime to put an exclamation point on things since CST-100 won't be ready until 2017.

#69 AnotherITguy

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Posted 09 December 2014 - 01:39

Sweet!  Keep up the news stream docm.



#70 BetaguyGZT

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Posted 09 December 2014 - 02:08

This whole topic is full of win. Keep up the good information flow, DocM. :yes: