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SpaceX updates (Grasshopper RLV)

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Posted

Consolidating SpaceX news into one thread.

This update is significant in that after celebrating their CCDev 2 selection they dropped a bombshell: the Dragon spacecrafts propulsive landing system will eventually be capable of landing on other [b][i]planets[/b][/i]. Wow....a crew ship and a lander - shades of the DC-X.

[url=http://www.spacex.com/press.php?page=20110419]Latest update....[/url]

[quote][b]SPACEX WINS NASA CONTRACT TO COMPLETE DEVELOPMENT OF SUCCESSOR TO THE SPACE SHUTTLE

First Astronaut Mission Expected in Three Years[/b]

WASHINGTON

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Posted

Latest SpaceX brochure shows Falcon 9 getting the Falcon Heavy's core stretch (and presumably Merlin 1D) and an tncrease to LEO from 10.4 mT to 16 mT. Guess that's why it's in the running for the 13.5 mT CST-100.

http://www.spacex.com/downloads/spacex-brochure.pdf

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Posted

There was a 90 second (1/2 mission length) Falcon 9 test fire at SpaceX's McGregor, Texas test facility. The following is from the local KWTX-TV stations comments thread -
[quote]Posted by: **** Location: Texas on Apr 20, 2011

[b][i]We live 30 miles away and saw it out the window. Thought it was a nuke! Then a minute later felt the rumble and heard the roar. Good grief! How do those that live closer stand it.[/i][/b][/quote]
'nuff said ;)

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Posted

Word is leaking that the next 2 Dragon test flights for NASA's COTS program, C2 and C3, will be blended into a single mission, docking at the next launch and accelerating Dragon's availability to resupply the ISS. If so it means work on crew Dragon can accelerate as cargo Dragon exits development and becomes operational.

Previously C2 was to be this summer and C2 around February 2012, but the blended mission could go in October 2011. The delay from summer to October is so NASA can reset itself and train the current ISS crew to do a mission the next crew was supposed to do.

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Posted

SpaceX looks to be getting the most out of their CCDev2 money -

'Ya gotta admit - these guys have big, round, brass ones.

[quote]The Dragon's side-mount launch abort system will be designed and built to the point of a full-duration engine firing on the ground by next May..[/quote]
Which would be May, 2012. The propulsive launch escape/landing system would also allow it to land on other bodies than Earth, the Moon or Mars (this weeks Wall Street Journal interview.)

Animation of how it'll work -

[media]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W2FpFZXWrvs[/media]

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Posted

thanks for the updates Doc, what kind of mission timeline are we looking at in summation then?

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Posted

The SpaceX CCDev 2 contract has milestones they have to meet to get each parcel of the money for the abort system and other crew items. They also have the blended COTS flight (C2 + C3) for ISS cargo missions coming up.

C2/C3 is slated for October-ish. When it flies they do the required C2 simulated docing maneuvers a few kilometers from ISS, then if all goes well C3 kicks in and Dragon docks at ISS on the American end and delivers a cargo load.

The first CCDev milestones have to be met by April 12, 2012. These include a ground test of the abort/manding engines, tanks, controls etc. Most informed observers believe most of this has been in development for some time and these tests could well be done earlier - perhaps the end of the year.

Once the CCDev 2 goals have been met by all participants, or the laggards drop out or are "fired", the CCDev 3 contracts will be offered. CCDev 3 would involve manned flights to the ISS.

Also, SpaceX posted a new Crew Draon promo showing more footage of Dragon doing a propulsive landing - and it isn't on Earth or the Moon :)

[media]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6p6EruPdoXY[/media]

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Posted

Excerpt from above
[img]http://digitalvideo.8m.net/spacex/dragonmars.jpg[/img]

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Posted

Falcon 9 COTS-2/3 has arrived at KSC's Launch Complex 40. Nice pic of her with the engine covers off -

[img]http://digitalvideo.8m.net/spacex/f9-c2.jpg[/img]

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Posted

thanks for that, indeed the Mars landing makes me feel all nice and warm all over :laugh: it's definitely time for the next American adventure, or the next human adventure. keep us posted on this Doc.

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Posted

Universe Today article..

[url=http://www.universetoday.com/85307/behind-the-scenes-at-spacexs-space-launch-complex-40/]Behind the Scenes at LC-40....[/url]

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Posted

Falcon 9 C2 first stage arriving at KSC LC-40. Looks like they built a custom rig vs. the vanilla one previously used. Now you Southerners know what to look for on the freeway.

[img]http://www-pao.ksc.nasa.gov/kscpao/images/medium/2011-3175-m.jpg[/img]

[img]http://www-pao.ksc.nasa.gov/kscpao/images/medium/2011-3178-m.jpg[/img]

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Posted

"WHY THE US CAN BEAT CHINA: THE FACTS ABOUT SPACEX COSTS"

http://www.spacex.com/updates.php

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Posted

nice photos! and i like the fact that they're comparing the US to China, competition is a huge motivator obviously. China's not exactly excelling in space, though, they're spending all their money on terrestrial concerns at the moment. i still hope they'll be able to proceed with their manned moon missions for later this decade, which will ultimately beg the issue of combining forces and doing a joint, much bigger mission. but yeah, all this SpaceX activity is really good for the economy of those states. i'd love to drive by one of the rockets on the interstate, they'd get a salute for sure!

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Posted

How about being on the freeway in California when [i][b]this[/i][/b] drove by -

[img]http://digitalvideo.8m.net/spacex/newdragon/DragonOnTheRoad.jpg[/img]

[img]http://digitalvideo.8m.net/spacex/newdragon/DragonOnTheRoad2.jpg[/img]

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Posted

what?! just like that, on the truck? no tarps or anything? what the hey? and did you take these?

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Posted

I find using the capsule and a rocket to be anticlimactic, more junk tossed in outer space more waste or resources (at lest from the vid anyway)


I wish they would actually make a shuttle replacement not a damn soyuz

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Posted

I didn't take those and it was an engineering test Dragon, not flight hardware. Still, one helluva thing to see on the freeway :)

Spaceplanes have only one non-cosmetic advantage in orbital ops: a large cross-range capability, meaning they can glide to a landing up to a few hundred km either side of the orbital track, and because of its flying brick shape and huge mass the shuttle couldn't even do that very well.

This might make sense for a space ambulance or station evacuatiin vehicle that could land on any airport near a medical center, but otherwise....

In all other aspects of spafeflight; crago mass as a % of launch mass, volume/mass etc. spaceplanes operate at a severe disadvantage to capsules.

Remember your science 101: the shape with the greatest volumetric efficiency (internal volume divided by surface area) is a sphere, and capsules are closer to spherical than winged flying bricks. Dragon & Soyuz have the highest volumetric efficiency of todays capsules (CST-100 & Orion are more conical).

In beyond Earth orbit space, of which Dragon, Soyuz and Oriion are capable, wings are dead weight, their mass better used to increase cargo capability, and there isn't a spaceplane design that could handle those re-entry velocities.

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Posted

heh heh i thought you took those pics. and good to know it wasn't the actual ship, uncovered would have been bad...

i know you're not a big fan of spaceplanes Doc, but as you see the popular opinion is indeed in their favor. your explanations only have scientific grounding because we've been reluctant to do the right thing...for the billions we've spent on crap hardware that hasn't flown yet we could have indeed built the Valkyrie shuttle from Avatar...for real.

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Posted

Valkyrie is cool sci-fi. but until new engine tech allows for single stage to orbit with margins to burn capsules have too many advantages including safety.

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Posted

Looks like the decision point for combining the Dragon C2 test flight and the C3 ISS mission is late June, and if C2+C3 is approved it'll be in the latter half of November. The main issue seems to be a relatively minor problem with the S-Band (2-2.5ghz) Omni comm gears power flux density.

Clearer shot of the test Dragon on the road - gives some scale, though it's minus the trunk/service module.
[img]http://digitalvideo.8m.net/spacex/newdragon/dragonontheroadzoom.jpg[/img]

Just for fun -
[img]http://digitalvideo.8m.net/spacex/newdragon/DragonMarsLanding.jpg[/img]

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Posted

Expanding a bit, the issue woth power flux density is asafety one vs. humans in the gears output beam. Basically, too high a PFD is bad. PFD is a function of distance from the transmitter, so (IIRC) -

PFD(r) = kW*Gt/(4*PI*r^2)

when kW is isotropic radiated power, Gt is transmitter gain and r is meters. The result is in kw/m^2

But power at distance isn't the only standard. Basic standards come down to the direction of the max signal strength, its polarization, frequency & strength of the ambients, and the duty cycle.

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Posted

[quote][b]SpaceX Names Bret Johnsen as Chief Financial Officer

[i]Former Broadcom Executive Joins Company at a Time of Incredible Growth [/i][/b]

Hawthorne, CA

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Posted

NASA Admin. Gen. Charles Bolden & Princeton Astrophysicist Christopher Chyba think SpaceX is "disruptive," in the good way. Prof. Chyba also testified as much in Senate testimony....

[url=http://www.aviationweek.com/aw/generic/story_generic.jsp?channel=awst&id=news/awst/2011/05/23/AW_05_23_2011_p36-324881.xml&headline=SpaceX%20Might%20Be%20Able%20To%20Teach%20NASA%20A%20Lesson]Aviation Week... [/url]

[quote]NASA might ease its

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Posted

good, sounds like healthy competition and perhaps even inspiration.

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