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SpaceX Falcon Heavy (updates & maiden flight)

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DocM    14,231

They're targeting July 1st for the wet dress rehearsal (fueled up, practice countdown) and launch soon after.

The test stand at their McGregor Texas facility is nearing completion, and the 3 cores (center core and 2 liquid fueled boosters, all based on Falcon 9R) are under construction at Hawthorne, California.

Falcon Heavy will be the most powerful rocket on Earth, capable of sending 53,000 kg to low Earth orbit, 21,200 kg to geostationary orbit, or 13,200 kg to Mars.

53,000 kg is more than the weight of a fully loaded Boeing 737-200.

Falcon Heavy concept of operations (CONOPS) video

http://youtu.be/4Ca6x4QbpoM

falcon-heavy__3.jpg

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DocM    14,231

Did some screen captures,

ce3f31024e6bfe732003941c882c306f.jpg

1ac2907d3cc652ba1d11f4b589717e59.jpg

acdd088bb64222dd16cb31be46de2dac.jpg

b473614d04d55ea82ba7d5d62457f0e7.jpg

fe849373ef4a3471b8b15b9a49941120.jpg

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Beittil    469

I really like the new look on that strongback they animated there! Wonder if it reflects reality or if they will duplicate the one at Vanderberg with the open truss structure.

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DocM    14,231

No idea. It looks a lot like the Atlas V strongback at LC-41 so who knows?

IMG_5925a_JUNO_Atlas_Ken-Kremer1.jpg

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Stokkolm    304

That video is pretty amazing. I hope they can pull all of that off!

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DocM    14,231

The Falcon Heavy test article cores are being shipped to their McGregor, TX test center.

One suffered a ding to a hold down lug going under a bridge, but the damage was said to be minor.

They have a lot of fit and process checkouts to do before we get public notice of a "SEVERELY loud SpaceX test" from the McGregor public safety folks.

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+FloatingFatMan    15,370

The Falcon Heavy test article cores are being shipped to their McGregor, TX test center.

One suffered a ding to a hold down lug going under a bridge, but the damage was said to be minor.

They have a lot of fit and process checkouts to do before we get public notice of a "SEVERELY loud SpaceX test" from the McGregor public safety folks.

 

I wonder how they'll describe the test of the BFR when it's ready... :p

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DocM    14,231

BFR probably won't be tested at McGregor because the diameter of the core precludes road or rail shipment. Their statements indicate the BFR factory, test area, crew training and launch complex will be one large facility.

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+FloatingFatMan    15,370

BFR probably won't be tested at McGregor because the diameter of the core precludes road or rail shipment. Their statements indicate the BFR factory, test area, crew training and launch complex will be one large facility.

 

But will they STILL have to warn the people at McGregor, that's the question! :p

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watkinsx2    96

But will they STILL have to warn the people at McGregor, that's the question! :p

 

and most of texas? :D

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DocM    14,231

It's much further along now, these images being ~2 weeks old. It now has the roof framing etc. Around 65+ feet high and will be 300+ feet long. There'll also be a high bay for payloads.

If you zoom in on the pad & tower in the lower image you can see the framework of the new launch platform taking shape.

http://spaceflightnow.com/2015/02/25/falcon-heavy-rocket-hangar-rises-at-pad-39a/

Falcon Heavy rocket hangar rises at launch pad 39A

SpaceX began erecting a new hangar at a former space shuttle launch pad in Florida last week, moving the historic facility closer to launching astronauts again.

Positioned at the south perimeter of launch pad 39A, the hangar sits on the gravel crawlerway used to transport Saturn 5 moon rockets and space shuttles from the nearby Vehicle Assembly building to the launch pad.

SpaceX has no plans to use the mammoth VAB, the crawlerway or NASA

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DocM    14,231

Speaking of the LC-39A Horizontal Integration Facility (HIF),

@flatoday_jdean

@kelifson yes both, actually. Will hold up to five Falcon cores for FH and F9.

Sounds like they're preparing to play Run and Gun at their new pads.

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Roosvelt    0

Feb 25th in afternoon. Huge roar from McGregor direction that lasted about 3 minutes. I am about 25 miles away.

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DocM    14,231

Stage test for an upcoming flight, probably Dragon CRS-6 or SES-9. The SES-9 core has the 20% more powerful Merlin 1D engine upgrade.

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Draggendrop    5,175

Took me a bit to find this thread, but, we will be using it shortly...

 

 

 

 

 

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DocM    14,231

Yup, and it appears the delay driver was getting F9 Full Thrust and stage landings sorted out. No they just need to put the final touches on LC-39A, and to that the rotating service structure demolition has started.

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Draggendrop    5,175

Getting excited about this, so bear with me...bit of catch up....

 

Latest specifications from SpaceX web page...

 

Falcon Heavy

 

Quote

When Falcon Heavy lifts off later this year, it will be the most powerful operational rocket in the world by a factor of two. With the ability to lift into orbit over 54 metric tons (119,000 lb)--a mass equivalent to a 737 jetliner loaded with passengers, crew, luggage and fuel--Falcon Heavy can lift more than twice the payload of the next closest operational vehicle, the Delta IV Heavy, at one-third the cost.

 

Falcon Heavy draws upon the proven heritage and reliability of Falcon 9. Its first stage is composed of three Falcon 9 nine-engine cores whose 27 Merlin engines together generate more than 5 million pounds of thrust at liftoff, equal to approximately eighteen 747 aircraft. Only the Saturn V moon rocket, last flown in 1973, delivered more payload to orbit. Falcon Heavy was designed from the outset to carry humans into space and restores the possibility of flying missions with crew to the Moon or Mars.

 

Quote

TECHNICAL OVERVIEW


HEIGHT
70m229.6 ft

 

STAGES 2

 

BOOSTERS 2

 

PAYLOAD TO LEO
54,400kg119,930 lb

PAYLOAD TO MARS
13,600kg29,980 lb

 

TOTAL WIDTH
12.2m39.9 ft

 

MASS
1,420,788kg3,125,735 lb

 

PAYLOAD TO GTO
22,200kg48,940 lb

 

PAYLOAD TO PLUTO
2,900kg6,390 lb

 

fhgraphic_updated.jpg

 

falcon-heavy-render.png

Nice big rocket picture      SpaceX

http://www.spacex.com/falcon-heavy

 

and we must have this...

 

Falcon Heavy | Flight Animation

video is 2:29 min.

 

 

 

------------------------------

 

SpaceX undecided on payload for first Falcon Heavy flight

 

21048044876_bae2435d96_k.jpg

Artist’s concept of SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy rocket. Credit: SpaceX

 

Quote

As SpaceX engineers put together the first model of the company’s new Falcon Heavy rocket, officials have not ruled out flying a paying customer’s satellite aboard the maiden flight of the humongous launcher scheduled later this year, the company’s president told Spaceflight Now.

 

The long-awaited Falcon Heavy rocket could blast off on its first flight as soon as November from launch pad 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, returning the storied Apollo- and shuttle-era launch complex to service for the first time since the last space shuttle mission took off in 2011.

The destination and passenger for the Falcon Heavy’s first flight remains undecided, said Gwynne Shotwell, SpaceX’s president and chief operating officer.

 

“There have been a number of customers interested in flying on that (mission),” Shotwell said in an interview with Spaceflight Now. “We’re trying to balance, does it make sense for this to just be our mission, so we own it completely?”

 

SpaceX officials have previously said the first launch of the Falcon Heavy will be strictly a test flight, but Shotwell said the company’s growing customer base has signaled a desire to fly a satellite on the mission.

 

She said SpaceX will make the first Falcon Heavy launch “useful” by proving its capabilities to future customers, such as heaving a hefty payload to geostationary transfer orbit, the targeted drop-off orbit for communications satellites heading for stations 22,300 miles (nearly 36,000 kilometers) over the equator.

“Regardless of whether we fly a customer or a purely demonstration mission, we’ll make that mission useful, whether it’s to demonstrate something for a GTO (geostationary transfer orbit) capability for our commercial customers, or whether it’s to demonstrate some requirement for national security space,” Shotwell said.

much more at the link...

http://spaceflightnow.com/2016/05/03/spacex-undecided-on-payload-for-first-falcon-heavy-flight/

 

:D

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DocM    14,231

Most common configurations used

 

Atlas V 401 launch thrust: 860,000 lbf

 

Delta IV Medium+ launch thrust: 1.076.600 lbf

 

Falcon 9 launch thrust: 1,700,000 lbf

 

Delta IV Heavy launch thrust: 2,130,000 lbf

 

Falcon Heavy launch thrust: 5,100,000 lbf

Edited by DocM
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SALSN    54

What is the word on the cross feed system, has that been cancelled completely, or will we see an upgraded version with this as well?
If so, what can we expect with regard to payload mass improvements?

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DocM    14,231

Crossfeed was shelved until someone needs it, and with the possibility of the USAF funded methane fueled Raptor upper stage for F9 and FH that could be never. The Raptor S2 could push FH into the 70-80 tonne range. 

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SALSN    54

Perhaps they can use the concept for a BFR heavy when Bigelow is ready to launch an inflatable death star :-P

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DocM    14,231

BFR won't have a 3-core Heavy version, so no boosters and therefore no need for crossfeed. It'll be born with one gigantic core, and the most powerful rocket in history. 

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anthdci    184
12 minutes ago, SALSN said:

Perhaps they can use the concept for a BFR heavy when Bigelow is ready to launch an inflatable death star :-P

If that took off from the cape I'd be able to hear it here in the UK!

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DocM    14,231

Someone at NASA once calculated that if Saturn V exploded shortly after liftoff (similar to the 2014 Antares explosion) the fireball would be 1,400 feet in diameter and the blast equivalent to a 2-3 kiloton tactical nuke. 

 

A BFR blowing up would be significantly larger, so it's launch sites will have to have a safety zone several to ten miles in diameter, or it'll have to launch from an offshore platform or island.

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Unobscured Vision    2,412
On 5/25/2016 at 9:30 AM, DocM said:

Someone at NASA once calculated that if Saturn V exploded shortly after liftoff (similar to the 2014 Antares explosion) the fireball would be 1,400 feet in diameter and the blast equivalent to a 2-3 kiloton tactical nuke. 

 

A BFR blowing up would be significantly larger, so it's launch sites will have to have a safety zone several to ten miles in diameter, or it'll have to launch from an offshore platform or island.

BFR fireballing at < 2km would be death. Preferably (and there's no "preferable" scenario here, just to be clear) we'd want BFR "feet wet" and 13~15km up. An S1 failure of some kind that there's some warning about (5~10 seconds) so that there's some time to react and perform a Launch Abort before things really get bad (although the further away the crew is, the better it'll be on them, as we'll see why in a sec) is better then simply "it just went up, holy [expletive]".


Crew survivability is gonna depend on how far away we can get them from the S1 before this monstrosity goes nuclear. It's still headed uphill, so if we can get the crew 45-90 degrees off-relative-position using the LES and distance them from whatever happens next that's a good thing. They're gonna get tossed around and beat up a little -- that's what the safety harnesses and seats are designed to mitigate, as much as possible. If something like this had happened on Apollo/Saturn (and NASA has already said this in the past) there really was no saving the Crew -- and SpaceX finds that unacceptable; so they've been working from day one from a standpoint of safety.

 

So the LES/LAS has been tripped, the Crew Module has removed itself from the now-doomed and still-ascending BFR with extreme haste, taking it on a parabolic arc away from the bad stuff. Is it far enough away?

 

The doomed S1 gives up the ghost, and goes critical; and one of the more powerful non-Nuclear explosions in the past 60 years occurs. Without exact figures of fuel remaining, weight of the vehicle, speed, altitude and direction of travel it's impossible to give an exact number regarding how powerful that explosion would be, but it's going to be 9~12 kilotons. How much of that energy reaches the Crew Module will largely depend on distance; but the decay of energy is going to be pretty much the same as any other mid-altitude explosion and based upon the same factors: Initial Energy (small letter I), time (t) squared, distance (d), velocity and angle of the Crew Module as it is travelling away from the IP (which will offset some of the acoustic energy by 25~55% at the maximum).

 

(And yes, I'm getting decent at Math. :yes:)

 

So, plainly put, I'd be quite concerned about people on the ground witnessing something like this and being too close. A good rule of thumb (for those who didn't have the benefit of Military Training) is for every potential Kiloton of energy something can crank out, one should put two kilometers (1.4 miles, roughly) of distance between themselves and it to also account for any acoustical energy.

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