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Draggendrop

This one made me laugh....

 

LAPAN: Mysterious object in Sumenep Suspected Denomination Rocket

 

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Jakarta - National Institute of Aeronautics and Space (LAPAN) suspect object that fell from the sky in Sumenep, East Java is a fraction rocket. The rocket is a rocket Falcon 9 belonging to the United States. 

 

"We've analysis, the object is a strong presumption Falcon 9 rocket fragments with serial number 41 730," said Chief Thomas Lapan Jamaladin while talking on Monday (26/09/2016). 

 

The rocket Falcon the Madura is expected across the sky at about 9:21 pm at a height of 129 KM. Not yet known what charge carried by the rocket. 

"The charge has not been checked, but it seems the rocket experiments," said Thomas. Read Also: Benda Suspicious in Sumenep overwriting Cage Cattle, Concerned Citizens Exploding Earlier, an object in the form of a cylindrical tube over 1.5 meters and a diameter of 60 centimeters fell in the District of Gili King and Giligenting, Sumenep, East Java. Some objects fall from the sky around 10:00 am. The tube was wrapped in a kind of fiber. No two pieces are found in the waters and two on the ground. Initially, residents suspected it was the best part. MoT, AirNav, and Juanda made sure there was no aircraft in the sky passed Sumenep

http://news.detik.com/berita/d-3307300/lapan-benda-misterius-di-sumenep-diduga-pecahan-roket?_ga=1.128457740.1436014535.1422939899#

 

7dc9a80c-56d2-4390-8282-71364c42c064.jpg

COPV

 

These puppies can slam into the ground from a higher orbit and look pretty good....but a new one, on the ground though, a bit cranky....:woot:

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FloatingFatMan

Who on Earth wrote that article? The English is so mangled I can barely make head nor tails out of it!

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+John.
2 minutes ago, FloatingFatMan said:

Who on Earth wrote that article? The English is so mangled I can barely make head nor tails out of it!

It's been translated (ish) from Indonesian to English I think

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DocM

Google Translate, IMO.

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Draggendrop

The above was a real botched translate...but with a bit of digging...rocket parts...SpaceX...land on beach.....:s

 

Google translate does a reasonable job....most times....it went on coffee break there though.

 

A better article...

 

SpaceX Rocket Parts Rain Down over Indonesia

 

sumenep-gb1_tabung-494x512.jpg

Photo: Ekliptika Blog via Tribunnews

 

Quote

Large rocket parts rained down over a pair of small Indonesian islands on Monday when the second stage of a Falcon 9 rocket launched earlier this year fell from orbit and, at least to some extent, survived its fiery re-entry over the island of Java.

 

At least two sizeable tanks were reported falling from the sky around 10 Western Indonesian Time in the Sumenep Regency on the eastern end of Madura Island located north-east of Java. The tanks landed on the small islands of Giliraja and Giligenting, causing damage to an animal enclosure but luckily leaving the animals and all locals in the area unharmed.

 

The timing and location of the debris sighting is consistent with the uncontrolled re-entry of the second stage of a Falcon 9 rocket launched in August of this year.

 

The United States tracks objects in Earth orbit and close attention is paid to large objects when approaching the natural decay of their orbit. Ground-based observations yield orbital parameters for the objects from which re-entry predictions can be made a few hours before re-entry with an error bar of around an hour, however, observations with infrared-sensing satellites can detect the signature of a re-entering object and precisely determine the timing and location of the event.

 

According to the Joint Space Operations Center, the Falcon 9 rocket body re-entered at 2:26 UTC on Monday (+/-1 Minute) in a position over the Java Sea. The re-entry ground track took the rocket stage across the islands of Java and Madura, confirming a connection between the debris impact and the re-entry.

 

The actual position and timing of re-entry differ slightly from the data given by JSpOC with decay (80-Kilometer passage) occurring around three minutes earlier, further west than specified in the data. The coordinates given by JSpOC after entry are identical to data issued 80 minutes prior to the event and likely based on calculations rather than actual entry observations.

 

From...

 

28969743225_6b07dff551_k-512x341.jpg

Falcon 9 blasts off with JCSat-16 – Photo: SpaceX

 

more at the link...

http://spaceflight101.com/spacex-rocket-parts-rain-down-over-indonesia/

 

:)

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Draggendrop

 

 

:D

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DocM

Re: STARGATE

 

http://www.utrgvrider.com/stargate-promotes-entrepreneurship/

 

UTRGV physics doctoral student Louis Dartez gave a presentation on STARGATE and the company the program has created, SG Surveillance, as well building a space exploration “corridor” between Brownsville and Houston...



“This is exactly what the city of Brownsville needs to be able to stimulate and nurture the startup culture that we are all so excited about,” he said...

“The Houston Technology Center is going to have an office down here in Brownsville helping the startup culture and the Rio Grande Valley get [on] their feet, especially if your startup has anything to do with space exploration or technology that can be transportable to those fields,” he said.

STARGATE will be housed in a large laboratory and incubator building 75 feet from the command control center of SpaceX at Boca Chica Beach.

“In there, we will have Google offices, NASA offices, and an office for the Houston Technology Center,” he said.

Fredrick Jenet, director and creator of STARGATE, said SG Surveillance is going to promote the concept of entrepreneurship, specifically entrepreneurship in the new space sector.

“Our main purpose is to get people thinking about developing technologies for space,” Jenet said.

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DocM

Re: internet satellite constellation

 

The Seattle satellite/Hall effect thruster factory hired a bunch in August, now up to 123+ and there are 60+ open positions listed. 7 open positions at Irvine (satcom electronics.)

 

@jeff_foust
Musk: we do have plans for a satellite constellation that could help to fund Mars; now is not the time to talk about it. #IAC2016

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Draggendrop

U.S. Air Force puts STP-3 launch out for bid to SpaceX and ULA 

 

Orbital-ATK-Small-Satellite-Family-879x4

Orbital ATK's family of small satellite buses includes that A500 that 's being used for the STPSat-6 spacecraft. Credit: Orbital ATK

 

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WASHINGTON — The U.S. Air Force on Sept. 29 called for bids from SpaceX and United Launch Alliance for a mid-2019 launch of an experimental blast-detection satellite and a half-dozen smaller spacecraft that will tag along for the ride.

 

The Air Force, which is giving SpaceX and ULA until Dec. 2 to send in proposals for the firm-fixed price contract, didn’t say when it will announce the winner.

 

A draft solicitation was released Aug. 19 for industry feedback. The just-released final solicitation follows “extensive industry engagements,” the Air Force said.

 

“Through this solicitation for STP-3, we hope to promote healthy competition in order to foster  innovation while securing Assured Access to Space through multiple reliable, affordable and efficient launch service providers,” Lt. Gen. Samuel Greaves, the Air Force’s Space and Missile Systems Center’s commander said in a statement.

 

The Space Test Program-3 mission — STP-3 for short — comprises the STPSat-6 experimental satellite and a propulsive secondary payload adapter that will hold up to six payloads that Air Force says it will identify at least a year before the launch.

 

STPSat-6 itself is a multipurpose experimental spacecraft. Its main payloads are the National Nuclear Security Administration’s Space and Atmospheric Burst Reporting System-3 and the NASA’s Laser Communications Relay Demonstration payload. The spacecraft is also equipped with seven smaller science and technology payloads selected by the Defense Department’s Space Test Program.

 

The STP-3 mission is the third launch contract the U.S. Air Force has put out for bid since certifying the SpaceX Falcon 9 to compete against ULA’s Atlas 5 and Delta 4 rockets for launch awards. SpaceX won the first contract, an $82.7 million award for a 2018 launch of a GPS 3 satellite, when ULA declined to participate, saying the competition was a price shootout that didn’t adequately account for Atlas 5’s superior reliability.

 

ULA did, however, submit a bid for a 2019 launch of another GPS 3 satellite. Bids for that mission were due Sept. 19.

http://spacenews.com/u-s-air-force-puts-stp-3-launch-out-for-bid-to-spacex-and-ula/

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DocM

Heads up: Elon Musk Reddit AMA

 

Need to keep our ears open for when. SO MANY QUESTIONS.

 

@elonmusk

@bearsper Will do a Reddit AMA on Mars in the next week or two

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DUKE546

Hi everyone!

I already posted this on /r/spacex but have been going around to sites interested in spacex activities. Hope everyone enjoys

 

SpaceX Time Machine

 

Major Highlights:

  • SpaceX Only
  • Information on Past/Present/Future Launches
  • Dedicated Photos/Videos for each launch (Painfully hand collected myself)
  • Dedicated information for each launch (Pulled from launch library.net)
  • Mobile/Desktop friendly
  • Email alerts for upcoming launches

 

If anyone find any issues or have any sort of suggestions, I'm all ears!

 

Future Plans:

  • Still have to add Crew Dragon Abort Test and Falcon 1 launch info
  • Wiki type user based photo/video upload
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+John.
13 hours ago, DUKE546 said:

Hi everyone!

I already posted this on /r/spacex but have been going around to sites interested in spacex activities. Hope everyone enjoys

 

SpaceX Time Machine

 

Major Highlights:

  • SpaceX Only
  • Information on Past/Present/Future Launches
  • Dedicated Photos/Videos for each launch (Painfully hand collected myself)
  • Dedicated information for each launch (Pulled from launch library.net)
  • Mobile/Desktop friendly
  • Email alerts for upcoming launches

 

If anyone find any issues or have any sort of suggestions, I'm all ears!

 

Future Plans:

  • Still have to add Crew Dragon Abort Test and Falcon 1 launch info
  • Wiki type user based photo/video upload

Great website thanks for that! Love the clear and concise layout well done

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Draggendrop

SpaceX’s Shotwell on Falcon 9 inquiry, discounts for reused rockets and Silicon Valley’s test-and-fail ethos

 

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KUALA LUMPUR — SpaceX President Gwynne Shotwell on Oct. 5 said the company remains optimistic it will return to flight this year after the Sept. 1 explosion that destroyed a Falcon 9 rocket and its satellite payload in preparation for a static test fire.

 

Shotwell reiterated that the causes of a June 2015 Falcon 9 launch failure and the Sept. 1 incident appear to be unrelated and that the company is combing through data on operations as it searches for a root cause.

 

Addressing the APSCC 2016 conference, Shotwell also said Hawthorne, California-based SpaceX is offering a 10 percent discount to customers that agree to fly their payloads on reused Falcon 9 first stages.

 

She also said SpaceX’s proposed satellite Internet constellation in low Earth orbit remains in the design phase as the company seeks to tackle issues related to user-terminal cost.

The rest of the articles covers many Q and A's of interest...bit long but informative.

http://spacenews.com/spacexs-shotwell-on-falcon-9-inquiry-discounts-for-reused-rockets-and-silicon-valleys-test-and-fail-ethos/

 

:)

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DocM

Gwynne Shotwell today at the National Academy of Engineering

 

Quote

 

@jeff_foust



Shotwell: homing in on cause of Sept. 1 pad accident; not pointing to a vehicle issue. Hope to fly a couple more times this year.

 

 

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Unobscured Vision

Has to be a loading issue from GSE. That's the only thing it could be at this point. Numerous frame-by-frame analysis have been done that pinpointed the IP being outside the Falcon-9.

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DocM
11 hours ago, SALSN said:

So the fuel loading system? What else is left?

On NSF one leading theory is the chilled LOX and He loading rates and temps conspired to create an accidental thermoacoustic heat engine, which transfer energy as sound, with the COPV as the resonator. These may have produced extremely powerful acoustic waves in the plumbing.  Whammo.

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Unobscured Vision

Another snowflake off their medication, folks. @Draggendrop, if you please?

 

Now then. Back to some actual discussion that doesn't involve the Moon being made of cheese. :laugh:

 

I think we're all familiar with LOX "singing" ... those are the acoustics @DocM is referring to. That can get pretty gnarly and set up all kinds of secondary effects that play havoc with gear. Resonances and such. Get a particularly bad vibration for a long enough period of time, and stuff breaks.

 

Here's an example of LOX "singing" ...

 

 

Interesting, isn't it? That acoustic "singing" becomes "vibration" as LOX moves through plumbing. It's a problem that NASA, Roscosmos, ESA and other Contractors have had to contend with throughout the entirety of Human Spaceflight Operations.

 

http://llis.nasa.gov/lesson/341 - Hydro-Dynamic Vibration in the "Hot Dog" Area on the Top of the Main Combustion Chamber of the SSME Caused Fractures 

https://inis.iaea.org/search/search.aspx?orig_q=RN:18069632 - Flow-induced vibration of the SSME LOX Posts 

http://www.dynamic-concepts.com/projects/sls_structural_lox.html - Space Launch System (SLS) LOX Damper (quite telling indeed ...)

 

So yep. Completely plausible that GSE suffered a failure while transporting LOX and He to the Falcon-9. :yes: 

 

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DocM

The Centaur-G stage (aka Shuttle-Centaur) developed in the 1980's was to be used launch probes and satellites from the Shuttle bay, but in tests it didn't just sing -- it screamed.

 

This and other issues caused a future  shuttle commander to resign, and iconic astronaut John Young  called the first two proposed Shuttle-Centaur missions the "Death Star" missions. Ouch.

 

After Challenger such hardware finickiness became unacceptable and the Death Star was cancelled.

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Jim K
14 minutes ago, DocM said:

The Centaur-G stage (aka Shuttle-Centaur) developed in the 1980's was to be used launch probes and satellites from the Shuttle bay, but in tests it didn't just sing -- it screamed.

 

This and other issues caused a future  shuttle commander to resign, and iconic astronaut John Young  called the first two proposed Shuttle-Centaur missions the "Death Star" missions. Ouch.

 

After Challenger such hardware finickiness became unacceptable and the Death Star was cancelled.

Pretty good article about the Shuttle-Centaur here.

http://arstechnica.com/science/2015/10/dispatches-from-the-death-star-the-rise-and-fall-of-nasas-shuttle-centaur/

and here...

http://www.spaceflightinsider.com/organizations/nasa/nasa-glenn-dedicates-display-of-historic-shuttle-centaur-booster/

 

 

 

Centaur_USSRC_RK_2008_1.jpg

 

Deployment-of-SC.jpg

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Draggendrop

SpaceX resorts to ‘Creative’ Testing in Falcon 9 Explosion Investigation

 

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SpaceX is continuing to narrow down the root cause of the Falcon 9 explosion on September 1st atop its Florida launch pad that had proven to be the most complex failure mechanism encountered in the company’s 14-year history.

 

Tracing down the source of the destructive event which claimed the loss of the Falcon 9 and the Israeli AMOS-6 Satellite had proven difficult due to the rapid timeline of the initial blast that caused Falcon 9 to burst into a ball of fire eight minutes ahead of a scheduled test firing of its engines.

 

However, company officials said in the past week, tremendous progress is being made zeroing in on the root cause that, per current knowledge at SpaceX, is related to operational aspects as opposed to a fundamental flaw in the rocket’s design – good news for a timely return to flight of the Falcon 9.

 

9420707_orig-512x396.jpg

Camera view of the inside of the second stage’s LOX Tank with Helium COPVs – Photo: SpaceX

 

copv-nasa-512x340.jpg

COPV Schematic – Image: NASA

 

Quote

SpaceX President Gwynne Shotwell spoke twice last week, at the APSSC Satellite Conference in Malaysia and the annual meeting of the National Academy of Engineering in Washington, reaffirming that the culprit lies within “business processes” and continuing to express hope that Falcon 9 can resume flying before the end of the year.

 

SpaceX confirmed on September 23 that the explosion was due to “a large breach in the cryogenic helium system of the second stage liquid oxygen tank.” Being more specific, Shotwell said the prime candidate for the failure was a helium pressure ‘letting go’ – industry speak for rupturing.

 

The COPVs, Composite-Overwrapped Pressure Vessels, are responsible for storing high-pressure helium which is heated up in flight and supplied to the fuel and oxidizer tanks to keep them at the proper pressure levels to ensure the vehicle’s stability and propulsion system operation. Falcon’s COPVs measure around 60 centimeters in diameter, stand 1.5 meters tall and a pressurized to over 350 bar.

 

On Falcon 9, COPVs on the first and second stage are installed within the Liquid Oxygen tanks and immersed in the sub-cooled oxidizer.

 

Submerging the helium bottles in the supercold oxidizer has the sole purpose of densifying the gas and thus filling a greater mass of pressurant into the bottles, reducing the number/size of COPVs needed to hold the necessary helium. However, this creates a challenging thermal environment for the COPV material.

 

Falcon 9 is not the only rocket featuring COPVs submerged in liquid oxygen – others include Orbital ATK’s Antares and the Russian Soyuz 2-1B and 2-1v, though none use LOX chilled to the temperatures SpaceX requires to achieve the high performance of the Falcon 9 FT.

 

Per Shotwell’s comments, SpaceX currently explores different operational deficiencies that could cause a COPV to fail in a dramatic way. This implies SpaceX is closely looking at the interaction between the helium COPV, its contents, the LOX in the surrounding tank and pressures within the vessel – creating a complex system with many variables (in addition to the fact that practical experience with densified LOX in rocketry is sparse).

of note...

 

Quote

Potential causes of the COPV failure could include weakening of the structural integrity of the COPV due to the thermal difference between the metal liner on the inside subjected to the warm helium and the carbon fiber overwrap material on the outside in contact with the cold oxidizer. Acoustic phenomena resulting from the high-pressure helium being forced into the tank at a critical time during the LOX loading sequence are also on the table as possible scenarios that may have transpired.

and...

 

Quote

It is also understood that SpaceX was testing modifications to the countdown sequence on the Static Fire Test for the previous Falcon 9 mission with JCSat-16 to introduce window management capabilities for the FT version of Falcon 9 that initially had to launch very shortly after propellant loading finished in order to avoid the chilled propellants warming up inside the tanks. These modified countdown steps include adjustments to engine chilldown as well as the propellant and pressurant loading sequence.

 

It is possible that, with these seemingly minor adjustments to the sequencing of events, SpaceX has inadvertently designed a chain of events that overstressed the Helium bottles.

 

To gather data on the potential scenarios that can lead to a COPV failure, SpaceX has taken to its McGregor test site where, according to Shotwell, a lot of tests were being run on the COPVs. These tests, in all likelihood, are running different propellant and helium loading modes on highly instrumented tanks to learn about the critical chain of events in both loading sequences that overstress the COPVs.

 

Observant SpaceX fans passing by McGregor noted experimentation involving LOX tankers and helium supplies was underway in an open area of the facility.

more at the link...

http://spaceflight101.com/spacex-resorts-to-creative-testing-in-falcon-9-explosion-investigation/

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Jim K

Of course ... the full investigation and cause hasn't been released ... but this part concerns me ...

Quote

It is also understood that SpaceX was testing modifications to the countdown sequence on the Static Fire Test for the previous Falcon 9 mission with JCSat-16 to introduce window management capabilities for the FT version of Falcon 9 that initially had to launch very shortly after propellant loading finished in order to avoid the chilled propellants warming up inside the tanks. These modified countdown steps include adjustments to engine chilldown as well as the propellant and pressurant loading sequence.

 

It is possible that, with these seemingly minor adjustments to the sequencing of events, SpaceX has inadvertently designed a chain of events that overstressed the Helium bottles.

If that turns out to be the case ... SpaceX seriously needs to reconsider when and what "modifications" are "tested" when there is a payload onboard.  Fueling and firing should be standard procedure which has already been "tested" and done many times successfully ... modifications to said procedures should be done prior to strapping a $285M dollar payload on top.

 

If that was my money that went up in smoke ... because they were testing a modified procedure ... I'd be ######.  Just my opinion. :)  

 

Edit:  Speaking of the COPV tanks ... are those them at the top of this thread (the debris)?  Matches the description of ....1.5 meters tall and a diameter of 60 centimeters

 

 

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DocM

For the record, SpaceX isn't the only one to test ops during wet dress rehearsals. It's the only time you have an assembled stack to do it.

 

Another write-up

 

http://spacenews.com/shotwell-says-spacex-homing-in-on-cause-of-falcon-9-pad-explosion/

 

AMOS-6

WASHINGTON — SpaceX is getting closer to finding the cause of a September pad explosion that destroyed a Falcon 9, and the company’s president remains confident the vehicle will return to flight later this year.


>
“We’re homing in on what happened,” she said. “I think it’s going to point not to a vehicle issue or an engineering design issue but more of a business process issue.”
>
 Speaking Oct. 5 at the Asia-Pacific Satellite Communications Council 2016 conference in Malaysia, Shotwell said it was unlikely there was a design flaw in the bottles used to store helium in the tank, but rather an “operations” issue.

Because it is not a design issue, Shotwell remained confident that the Falcon 9 can resume launches later this year. “Hopefully we’ll recover from this and be back flying a couple times this year,” she said.

Reuse tests of JCSat-14

On reusability, Shotwell discussed a series of static-fire tests of the first stage recovered from the May launch of the JCSAT-14 satellite. “It was the hottest incoming that we had with one of these stages,” she said, referring to the high-velocity return and landing of the stage. “It was kind of a wreck.”



After doing “the minimum work” to make it operational, the company has been firing the stage on a test stand at the company’s McGregor, Texas, test site. “We’ve fired that stage eight full mission durations, half of which have been at about 10 percent additional thrust,” she said.

Two more full-duration static-fire tests are planned for the stage to gain confidence for limited reuse of the first stage. “We’ll feel pretty good about reflying each stage once or twice” once those tests are complete, she said. An updated version of the Falcon 9, to be rolled out next year, should be able to reuse its first stage up to 10 times.

SpaceX comment constellation

Shotwell also briefly discussed a potential broadband satellite constellation the company has been studying. “Our constellation is about 4,000 satellites that we would deploy late in this decade or early in the next,” she said.



She explained that SpaceX is driven to develop the constellation in part because the company believes potential customers are dissatisfied with their current options for broadband Internet access. “Elon tends to find an industry where customers are very angry and frustrated,” she said. “Let’s build little communications satellites and provide global broadband capability for reasonable prices.”

A version of that system would also eventually be used at Mars, she added. “If you send a million people to Mars, you better provide some way for them to communicate,” she said. “I don’t think the people who go to Mars are going to be satisfied with some terrible, old-fashioned radios. They’ll want their iPhones or Androids on Mars.”

Revenue from a broadband constellation could also support the company’s Mars mission plans, she said, noting that telecommunications is a trillion-dollar industry worldwide. “For us to take just a tiny percentage of that provides huge revenue opportunity for us, which would really be a defining factor for Mars and beyond,” she said.


 

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Draggendrop

SpaceX still expects to resume launches by the end of the year

 

smab_matthew.jpg

An aerial reconnaissance plane surveyed damage from Hurricane Matthew along the U.S. East Coast, revealing exterior siding stripped from SpaceX’s payload processing facility at Cape Canaveral. Credit: NOAA

 

Quote

Strong winds from Hurricane Matthew stripped exterior panels from SpaceX’s payload processing facility at Cape Canaveral last week, but the damage is not likely to affect the company’s plans to launch Falcon 9 rockets again by the end of the year, officials said.

 

Hurricane Matthew blasted Cape Canaveral with wind gusts of more than 100 mph, but officials reported no significant structural damage, just widespread roof and siding damage and blown-out windows.

 

“Hurricane Matthew caused some damage to the exterior of SpaceX’s payload processing facility at Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station,” said John Taylor, a company spokesperson. “The company has a ready and fully capable back-up for processing payloads at its SLC-40 hangar annex building.”

 

SpaceX is investigating a catastrophic rocket explosion on the Complex 40 launch pad Sept. 1 that destroyed a Falcon 9 booster and the Israeli-owned Amos 6 communications satellite.

 

The payload processing facility is a pristine clean room where satellites slated to launch on SpaceX rockets are fueled and enclosed inside their payload fairings. SpaceX set up the processing facility inside the Air Force’s former Solid Motor Assembly Building left vacant after the retirement of the Titan 4 rocket in 2005.

 

SpaceX said there was no damage at nearby launch pad 39A, which engineers are readying to support Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy flights once the investigation into last month’s explosion is complete. Complex 40 will require more time for repairs before it can be re-activated for launches.

 

SpaceX’s payload processing facility is about one-and-a-half miles southwest of Complex 40.

 

13254247_10157477718190131_4343179080728

File photo of the Thaicom 8 satellite being prepared for launch inside SpaceX’s payload processing facility. Credit: SpaceX

 

Quote

Gwynne Shotwell, SpaceX’s president and chief operating officer, said Sunday that the company now intends to repair the hurricane damage at the payload processing facility.

 

“We’re going to have to try and get that up and running as quickly as we can so we can get back to flying,” Shotwell said in a speech at the National Academy of Engineering in Washington, according to a report by Space News. “It’s a shame that, basically, the ability to process the payload in that building might keep us grounded for a little bit longer than we had hoped.”

 

Officials previously said they hoped to have the Falcon 9 flying again in November, but Shotwell did not give a timeframe Sunday.

 

“Hopefully we’ll recover from this and be back flying a couple times this year,” she said in a story posted on Space News’ website.

 

SpaceX has linked the Sept. 1 explosion with a large breach in the helium pressurization system inside the liquid oxygen tank on the Falcon 9’s second stage. Last week, Space News reported Shotwell said the cause was unlikely to be a design flaw in the high-pressure helium tanks used on SpaceX’s upper stage.

 

“We’re homing in on what happened,” Shotwell said Sunday. “I think it’s going to point not to a vehicle issue or an engineering design issue but more of a business process issue.”

http://spaceflightnow.com/2016/10/11/spacex-still-expects-to-resume-launches-by-the-end-of-the-year/

 

:)

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      SpaceX's Starship performs successful soft landing for the first time [Update]
      by Paul Hill



      SpaceX has successfully landed its Starship craft that it plans to use to fly astronauts to the Moon later in the decade. The Starship SN15 which flew on this test is the first Starship craft to make a successful soft landing after descending from an altitude of 10 km. Previous tests all saw the various Starship iterations blow up at landing and had varying degrees of success.

      The launch today took off around 5:24 p.m. CDT (10:24 p.m. UTC) from Boca Chica in Texas. The main goal of the mission was to perform a successful soft landing which SpaceX did manage to pull off. With all that said, a fire did break out near the base of the ship and it was promptly doused with water before it eventually went out. SpaceX will definitely need to get this sorted out in future missions as fires can cause an explosion, as happened with Starship SN10 back in March.

      Following the landing of Starship, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk took to what is presumably his favourite social media site, Twitter, to report that Starship’s landing was nominal – in other words, everything went to plan.

      At the end of April, Reuters reported that the Federal Aviation Administration had authorised three launches of Starship – the one that just occurred, SN15; SN16; and SN17. It’s not clear yet when the next two launches are going to take off but we should see them in a relatively short time. We’ll be watching to see whether SpaceX truly has perfected the landing and whether it can stop fires from breaking out on the landing pad.

      Update: Elon Musk has said that SpaceX may try to re-fly Starship SN15, following its successful landing.



    • By zikalify
      TWIRL 11: SpaceX to launch 60 Starlink satellites and maybe Starship SN15
      by Paul Hill

      Background image via SpaceX We’ve got a pretty quiet week in terms of rocket launches this week. SpaceX will try to launch its Starlink 25 mission, we may see Virgin Galactic launch its VSS Unity rocketplane, and a Long March rocket will put three satellites into orbit to carry out possible SIGINT work. We may also see SpaceX launch its Starship SN15 this week as a launch was scrubbed on Friday.

      Tuesday, May 4
      On Tuesday, we’ve got just one launch from SpaceX who will be launching its Starlink 25 mission. This mission will send 60 Starlink satellites into low Earth orbit where they’ll beam internet connectivity back down to the planet. The satellites will be taken into space atop SpaceX’s trusty Falcon 9 Block 5 rocket which has reliably sent hundreds of Starlink satellites to space. If you’d like to watch the launch, head over to SpaceX’s website at 7:01 p.m. UTC on Tuesday.



      Wednesday, May 5
      May 5 will be the first date that we could see the launch of the Virgin Galactic SpaceShipTwo-class VSS Unity. It’s really important to point out that this launch is marked as no earlier than which means the launch could take place after Wednesday. If the flight does go ahead, VSS Unity will launch from a VMS EVE carrier aircraft and fly to the edge of space. It will carry payloads as part of the NASA flight opportunities program that will generate revenue for Virgin Galactic.

      Friday, May 7
      The final flight of the week will launch from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in China. A Long March CZ-2C rocket will launch three satellites that have been designated as Yaogan 30 Group 08. The satellites will perform electromagnetic detection and perform other technical tests but to what ends is unknown. It’s speculated that the satellites could be being used for signals intelligence work. No live stream will show this launch but post-launch videos could appear on YouTube afterwards.

      Starship SN15
      We could see SpaceX launch its Starship SN15 from Monday onwards following its flight last Friday that was scrubbed due to bad weather. SpaceX has still not performed a smooth landing of a Starship vehicle to date but NASA recently selected SpaceX’s Starship to land the next Americans on the Moon; this should motivate the firm to nail the landing process.

    • By zikalify
      NASA Crew-1 Dragon set to return to Earth with Saturday splashdown
      by Paul Hill



      The American space agency NASA has announced that it will be live streaming the return to Earth for the NASA SpaceX Crew-1 mission from the International Space Station. NASA astronauts Michael Hopkins, Victor Glover, Shannon Walker, and JAXA’s Soichi Noguchi are set to splashdown in the Gulf of Mexico at 11:36 a.m. EDT on Saturday, May 1.

      The Crew Dragon spacecraft which will be returning the astronauts is dubbed Resilience and will undock from the ISS at 5:55 p.m. following the hatch closure at 3:50 p.m. NASA TV will stream the hatch closure from 3:30 p.m. and the undocking from 5:30 p.m. It will then provide continuous coverage until the following morning when the craft finally lands back in the gulf. Following the return, NASA will hold a news conference from the NASA Johnson Space Center in Houston at 1:30 p.m. You can find the NASA TV stream on the agency’s website.

      According to NASA, the undocking and splashdown were originally slated for Wednesday, April 28, but due to weather conditions expected in the splashdown zones, the return has been delayed. The agency and its commercial partner SpaceX will continue to monitor the weather forecasts to ensure that the return can still go ahead on Friday night.

      There are currently 11 people on the space station which is several more than we usually see up there at any one time. This is because the SpaceX vehicles take four astronauts up at a time rather than the three that Soyuz vehicles are able to carry and the arrival of two crews in quick succession. The latest crew arrived at the ISS on April 21 aboard the Crew-2 Dragon.

    • By zikalify
      TWIRL 10: Chinese Space Station module Tianhe set for launch
      by Paul Hill



      It’s set to be a jam-packed week of rocket launches with launches scheduled every day except on Friday and Sunday. One of the most important launches this week will be of the Tianhe (Harmony of the heavens) module of the Chinese Space Station which will sit in a low Earth orbit (LEO). It’s expected that the first three taikonauts (Chinese astronauts) will arrive at the station as soon as June 2021.

      Monday, April 26
      The first launch of the week will be conducted by United Launch Alliance (Lockheed, Boeing) which will launch classified spy satellite cargo for the U.S. National Reconnaissance Office atop a huge Delta IV Heavy rocket, the mission is called NROL-82. The payload is allegedly an electro-optical digital imaging Keyhole satellite (KH-11) dubbed Crystal 18 and has a ground resolution of up to 15 cm.

      The launch will be shown on the United Launch Alliance website at 8:46 p.m. UTC.

      To learn more about the flight itself, check out this ULA video about NROL-82:

      Tuesday, April 27
      On Tuesday, a Chinese Long March CZ-6 is expected to take off from Launch Complex 16 at the Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center at around 3:20 a.m. UTC carrying several Earth observation satellites including Qilu 1 and Qilu 4. We spoke about these satellites in This Week in Rocket Launches #7 explaining that they’re used for remote sensing radar and can produce detailed radar images of the Earth’s surface even if it's cloudy or dark.

      Wednesday, April 28
      The first mission is expected to launch at 1:50 a.m. UTC from Carbet Toukan, French Guiana. The mission is called VV18 and will see an Arianespace Vega rocket take the Pleiades Neo 3 and NORSAT 3 satellites into orbit. Pleiades Neo 3 is the first, not the third, Pleiades satellite to be orbited and will be joined by three more satellites later on. The very high-resolution Earth observation satellites will be able to capture images with 30 cm ground resolution. According to Arianespace, Pleiades Neo 4 will be orbited in the following Vega flight. You should be able to find a live stream of the launch on Arianespace’s YouTube channel closer to the time of launch.

      The second launch of the day comes from SpaceX which is launching another batch of 60 Starlink satellites into low Earth orbit. The mission is called Starlink 24 and is set to launch at 4:05 a.m. UTC. There are already lots of Starlink satellites beaming internet connectivity back down to Earth but SpaceX is looking to eventually build the constellation to the point where there will be 30,000 satellites in orbit. You can watch the live stream on SpaceX’s website at the time of launch.

      Thursday, April 29
      There is only one launch scheduled for Thursday but it’s definitely the most exciting of the lot. The Chinese National Space Agency will be launching a Long March CZ-5B rocket carrying the first module of the Chinese Space Station (CSS) called Tianhe into a low Earth orbit at 3:18 a.m. UTC from Pad 101 at the Wenchang Satellite Launch Center.

      The Tianhe module will be joined at a later date by the Mengtian and Wentian modules as well as a robotic arm and a free-flying, dockable space telescope called Xuntian. The first three taikonauts to arrive at the CSS are expected to arrive by as soon as June and will push up the total number of people in space at any one time.

      With the launch coming from China, it probably won’t be streamed live but there should be some clips from the launch posted online shortly after a successful launch.

      Image via China Manned Space Saturday, May 1
      Saturday’s flights are all marked as no earlier than which means none of them may take off. Some of the interesting flights listed include the Starlink 25 mission which will see 60 more Starlink satellites orbited, a Northrop Grumman Pegasus XL rocket could deploy the TacRL-2 mission as part of Space Force’s Tactically Responsive Launch program, and Virgin Galactic could carry out a test flight of its SpaceShipTwo rocket-plane carrying several commercial payloads. If previous weeks are anything to go by, we will likely look at these missions in a bit more depth in future TWIRL instalments.

      Last week
      We got some interesting news on the space front last week. For the first time, NASA flew a helicopter on the surface of another celestial body and NASA and SpaceX carried out the second successful Crew Dragon mission carrying astronauts to the space station. There are currently 11 people residing on the ISS for the next couple of days which is most likely a record for the number of people on the ISS at any one time.