General Space Discussion (Thread 1)


Recommended Posts

Jim K
25 minutes ago, Beittil said:

Dang, tonights Ariane 5 mission may have failed. That could have serious repercussions for BepiColumbo and JWST. 

Wouldn't doubt it.  At least with the JWST ... there is time to figure out what went wrong and take corrective actions.  Not sure about BepiColumbo and how pushing back its launch date would affect its mission to Mercury.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Unobscured Vision

Contact reestablished with both birds. They were released into orbit at the correct times. Still gathering info as to the orbit parameters, but at this point they should be more or less okay. Arianespace had better thank their lucky [expletive] stars that this one didn't fail ... sheesh, what a nail-biter.

Link to post
Share on other sites
DocM

The satellites are oK. Comms were lost with the upper stage but all's good now. Still, gives one pause wrt JWST. Need domestic heavy lift :)

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
Beittil

That would still give equal risk of something going wrong on the ride uphill tbh... 

 

I mean the more rockets the merrier but just because it is domestic doesn't mean it is suddenly free of risk. 

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
DocM

True, but all else being equal higher flight rates tend to reduce risk and several US launchers (not just SpaceX) are likely to have insane flight rates. 

 

Another wrinkle related to rate,

 

The convention thinking rap on Falcon Heavy, BFR, New Glenn CV and New Armstrong, Vulcan etc. has been "Why so large? There aren't any payloads that big!. Unnecessary!!" 

 

Apparently the science community has been paying attention to the development of these super-heavy launchers, and is thinking about those big payloads.

 

From Science.org

 

http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2018/01/successful-test-fire-massive-falcon-heavy-rocket-poised-boost-space-science

 

Quote


With successful test fire, massive Falcon Heavy rocket is poised to boost space science

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk has said he'll consider it a win if his enormous new Falcon Heavy rocket even escapes the launch pad. Today, the rocket fired its engines in a test at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, clearing the way for an inaugural launch in the coming weeks. Space scientists will be rooting for it, too. With its heavy-lift capability, the rocket can fling larger probes to distant planets more quicklyand, perhaps, more cheaplythan previous rockets.

"We can think about follow-up missions across the outer solar system, Mars sample return, even missions to Venus or Mercury," says planetary scientist Alan Stern of the Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, Colorado, 
>
...It says a Falcon Heavy launch will start at a mere $90 million, less than 20% of the Delta IV Heavy's cost.

Such price tags could transform mission planning for NASA and other space agencies, Stern says. "You're talking about savings of hundreds of millions of dollars, which is sufficient to create whole new missions just from the savings."
>
Other possible targets for Falcon Heavy include Saturn's moons Titan and Enceladus and the ice giants Neptune and Uranus. Stern, who leads a NASA mission that flew past Pluto in 2015, says teams are considering using the rocket to send a probe with enough fuel to slow down and orbit the distant world. SpaceX has said that Falcon Heavy could deliver 2 to 4 tons to the surface of Marsopening the way to more ambitious missions than the 1-ton Curiosity rover.

Astronomers are also thinking about what heavy lift can do for them. Each component of NASA's upcoming 6.2-ton James Webb Space Telescope, with a 6.5-meter mirror, had to be both lightweight and yet hardy enough to withstand rigorous shaking during launch, two often incompatible requirements. With Falcon Heavy's additional lift, researchers planning the Large UV Optical Infrared Surveyor telescope, a proposed mission for the 2020s with a mirror at least 9 meters across, could focus less on reducing weight and more on delivering a great scientific instrument, says Matt Mountain, president of the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy in Washington, D.C. "If we don't have to fight for mass, the testing is greatly simplified and you can launch more ambitious systems."
>
SpaceX's big rocket will face competition in the coming years, and not just from the SLS. Another private company, Blue Origin, intends to debut its reusable New Glenn rocket in 2020, and ULA is working on a vehicle called Vulcan. The competition could lower prices for researchers, says Phil Larson, an aerospace expert at the University of Colorado in Boulder and a former communications director at SpaceX. "You could see not just governments having space programs, but private entities doing more in space, and maybe universities," he says.
>

Edited by DocM
Link to post
Share on other sites
Beittil

So, while the birds did get to orbit it seems they were a bit off on delivery!

 

 

Link to post
Share on other sites
DocM

So there was  an S2 anomaly.

 

Hmmmm....not good.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Unobscured Vision

Oh dear. :no: That's gonna put Arianespace in the hurt locker. Wonder if they got useful telemetry from the S2 when it faulted?

Link to post
Share on other sites
Unobscured Vision

Anyway, WRT Falcon Heavy, it opens up a lot of missions that just weren't possible before, as @DocM mentioned, especially ones that were limited by launch costs. And this is before discussing whether or not a SpaceX-designed kicker stage enters the mix -- which can and should be considered, imo. 

 

The other in-work launchers (as @DocM mentioned) all have their uses too in that regard; but what most of us really want to see are the OPO (Outer Planet Orbiter) missions -- Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto-Charon. Nice, beefy, loaded-up Class A+ platforms that'll spend a dedicated 10+ years at each planet. The only really cost-viable SHLV that's appropriate to handle launching the OPO mission series would be BFR. SLS I wouldn't even bother considering at this point; it's a complete waste of materials and engineering. BFR is completely reusable, just gotta buy the fuel and pay SpaceX for the services.

 

Yeah ... plenty to come down the pike. FH is cool, and opens up a ton of great missions that can be done as well as opening up a whole tree of possible options and additions to the platform. I'd like to see a Kicker Stage option to boost the weight an EET (Earth Escape Trajectory) bird can be.

Link to post
Share on other sites
DocM

I understand SLS delays have managers and the administration reconsidering it launching  the Europa Clipper mission, and sending the Deep Space Gateway's Power Propulsion Element uphill in Exploration Mission 2 (EM-2).  The alternatives are commercial birds like FH, New Glenn, BFR, Vulcan etc.

 

If SLS loses them it's a major blow to the entite program.

Link to post
Share on other sites
anthdci
25 minutes ago, Unobscured Vision said:

I'd like to see a Kicker Stage option to boost the weight an EET (Earth Escape Trajectory) bird can be.

kicker stage being an extra stage before/after the second stage?

Link to post
Share on other sites
DocM
14 minutes ago, anthdci said:

kicker stage being an extra stage before/after the second stage?

A tug above the second stage, like Russia's Fregat or Rocket Lab's Curie.

 

More on Ariane 

 

https://www.geo.tv/latest/178742-ariane-5-satellites-in-orbit-but-not-in-right-location

 

For nearly 30 minutes mission controllers were left on tenterhooks when the rocket lost contact in what CEO Stephane Israel described as an "anomaly".



But the team later received good news when the satellites chirped into contact.

"Both satellites were confirmed separated, acquired and they are on orbit," Arianespace said in an updated statement after the initial lift-off scare.

The French-headquartered company said a tracking station in Brazil was unable to track the craft shortly after ignition of the rocket´s upper stage.

"This lack of telemetry lasted throughout the rest of powered flight," the statement said. But both satellites were later "communicating with their respective control centres".

But a source told AFP the satellites did not detach from the rocket in the correct place after the craft followed an "imperfect trajectory".

Arianespace said they were currently "repositioning the satellites in the right place using their propulsion systems" adding that the current status was "reassuring after strong concerns".

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites
flyingskippy

If the trajectory is off, doesn't that mean there was another problem with the rocket besides the telemetry? 

 

I would think the computers on board should have been able to keep launch on the right track irregardless of the telemetry issue. 

Link to post
Share on other sites
Unobscured Vision
3 hours ago, flyingskippy said:

If the trajectory is off, doesn't that mean there was another problem with the rocket besides the telemetry?  

Yes.

3 hours ago, flyingskippy said:

I would think the computers on board should have been able to keep launch on the right track irregardless of the telemetry issue. 

Depends on the issue.

Link to post
Share on other sites
flyingskippy

Just a general question: Do all launches use GPS signals for guidance or is it all time speed pitch and heading calculations? 

Link to post
Share on other sites
DocM

Depends on the launcher. Soyuz uses a rotating launch table to set the azimuth plus inertial, Falcons use precision GPS with an accuracy of <1 meter. The record for an F9 landing was 0.6m.

 

More troubling news on the Ariane 5 front.

 

 

 

 

 

Link to post
Share on other sites
Unobscured Vision

I'd really love to know what happened here. Then I'd be in a better place to comment on what should happen next.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Jim K

On second thought, I think this is great news for the JWST mission.  I agree with Ethan Siegal's tweet ... at least this issue appeared with VA-241 and not further down the road (say the JWST mission).  This gives ESA/CNES/etc time to figure out what went wrong and how to prevent future anomalies.  Ariane has had a very high success rate ... and I'm not sure of any delivery systems that have been foolproof (heck SpaceX destroyed a satellite without even launching).  Space is hard...

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
Unobscured Vision

I have to agree here. Space is difficult, and I'm a fan of all space programmes, of whatever size. They'll figure out what happened and press on -- and I also agree that it was better to have something like this happen now rather than on the JWST launch.

Link to post
Share on other sites
DocM

Jeezzzz Louise, 

 

(Jonathan is a Harvard-Smithsonian physicist)

 

 

Edited by DocM
Link to post
Share on other sites
Unobscured Vision

Whoa ... that would explain everything that went on. Wow.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
Jim K

Well ... at least this an inexpensive fix and an error that didn't result in loss of payload (like the Mars Climate Orbiter).

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites
Unobscured Vision
15 minutes ago, Jim K said:

Well ... at least this an inexpensive fix and an error that didn't result in loss of payload (like the Mars Climate Orbiter).

Depending on the definition of "inexpensive" ... nothing is inexpensive when it concerns Space. :laugh:

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Jim K pinned this topic

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

  • Similar Content

    • By zikalify
      TWIRL 8: Starship SN15 undergoing tests ready for launch
      by Paul Hill

      Background image via SpaceX There’s not too much going on with rocket launches this week, SpaceX is going to be performing tests ready for the launch of its SN15 Starship and Blue Origin could finally launch New Shepard NS-15 which has been delayed for the last few weeks. If you read last week’s TWIRL article you might remember that a crewed mission was due to go to the ISS; the mission was successful and there are currently 10 people residing on the space station which is quite a lot of people to be in space at once.

      Wednesday, April 14
      Wednesday will be the first day that Blue Origin could launch its New Shepard NS-15 mission. A major caveat with this mission is that it’s marked as No Earlier Than which just means we won’t see any launch attempts before this date. The crew capsule has been upgraded for this flight to better suit the needs of astronauts that will be aboard for future missions. The crew will be involved in this mission but only to practice coming aboard and leaving the rocket again. The first crewed New Shepard mission will be NS-16.

      When Blue Origin does finally go ahead with the launch, it will be live-streamed on its website and a replay will be available afterwards.

      Thursday, April 15
      The second and final launch of the week has also been discussed in previous editions of This Week in Rocket Launches (TWIRL). The launch will be performed by ExPace, a Chinese firm, which will launch a Kuaizhou KZ-1A rocket carrying the Jilin Gaofen 2D satellite which is also known as Jilin 28. It will join the Jilin 1 Earth observation constellation and take full-colour images from a 535 km altitude with a resolution better than 0.75 metres.

      This mission is also marked with No Earlier Than so it could take off at a later date and there probably won’t be a live stream but we may see post-launch footage.

      Soyuz MS-18 (mission to the ISS) recap
      Starship SN15 status
      It isn’t clear yet whether we’ll see a launch of SpaceX’s Starship SN15 this week. SpaceX has been prepping the rocket for some testing expected this week before the firm has another crack at trying to land the rocket. While the firm made significant progress on the landing with SN10, SN11 turned out to be less successful. The Starship rockets will be crucial over the next decade as SpaceX turns to this rocket to conduct its planned missions to Mars.

      As always, the SN15 mission will be live-streamed by SpaceX and a replay will be made available after the event on the firm’s YouTube channel.

    • By zikalify
      Starship SN11 explodes as SpaceX tries low-visibility landing
      by Paul Hill

      Images via SpaceX The Starship SN11 mission was supposed to be the mission where SpaceX fixed the errors from the Starship SN10 mission and performed a flawless landing, instead, the company went for a landing attempt in low-visibility conditions and the rocket ended up failing for an as yet unconfirmed reason. The official live feed went dead five minutes and 49 seconds into launch but third-party feeds managed to capture the explosion.

      According to Elon Musk, it looks as though there were some problems with engine 2 and that "something significant" happened after the landing burn but it's not clear what until more investigations have been carried out.

      SN11 was the firm’s fourth attempt at landing the rocket after flying to an altitude of 10 km. The mission was delayed twice in total, first last Friday and then yesterday. The second delay was caused by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) after its inspector was unable to reach the launch site in time.

      Had the mission been delayed today, the firm would have had to have waited until Friday before it could get the go-ahead to launch. It also had several hours left today before the launch window closed so it could have waited to see whether the fog cleared but ultimately it decided to take the risk of launching. SpaceX had concerns that if it had waited, winds could have picked up making a launch unviable.

      It’s unclear when SpaceX will be conducting its next Starship launch but we should probably expect it in the next few weeks if the previous launches are anything to go by. The firm really does need to nail the landing process soon as it wants to try out the rocket on orbital and lunar flights in the coming months and years. Be sure to follow This Week in Rocket Launches for any updates on the Starship-front.

    • By zikalify
      TWIRL 6: Blue Origin prepares for a human space flight
      by Paul Hill



      Welcome to This Week in Rocket Launches 6, it looks set to be a bit of an interesting week with Blue Origin planning to launch its New Shepard NS-15 mission which will prep the firm for a crewed flight next time around. We’ve also got launches from SpaceX, Rocket Lab, Roscosmos, China, and ExPace which will re-attempt a mission originally slated for last week.

      Monday, March 29
      The first rocket we could see take off this week is ExPace’s Kuaizhou KZ-1A carrying the Jilin Gaofen 2D satellite that will join the Jilin 1 Earth observation constellation. The payload, also known as Jilin 28, is a 230 kg satellite that will be used to take photos of Earth from 535 km. The launch of this rocket is not set in stone but it could go up from Monday.

      SpaceX is also looking to carry out its Starship SN11 mission on Monday. The firm was aiming for a launch last Friday but it was ultimately scrubbed. Similarly to the last two test flights, SN11 will fly to 10 km before attempting to land. During the SN10 mission, Starship did land but it also managed to catch fire which caused the ship's destruction several minutes later. The SN11 mission will be streamed by SpaceX on its YouTube channel when Starship is ready to launch.

      Thursday, April 1
      The first rocket that we could see launch on Thursday is Rocket Lab’s Electron. As part of its STP-27RM mission, Rocket Lab will launch an experimental payload for the U.S. Air Force. The Payload is a space weather instrument called Monolith and is part of the Space Test Program. It will demonstrate the ability of small satellites to support large aperture payloads. While the mission is eligible for launch on Thursday, it could launch later.

      Another mission that will take off from Thursday is the New Shepard NS-15. Blue Origin, who makes New Shepard, is the firm owned by Amazon’s Jeff Bezos. It will be using a booster rocket called Tail 4 which itself comes equipped with an improved BE-3PM engine. The CC 2.0-2 RSS First Step capsule has been upgraded for astronauts who will also come aboard and then leave again before the rocket launch – this will prepare them for NS-16 which will be a crewed mission. You’ll be able to find a stream of the event here. As with the other launches so far, this mission is also marked with a No Earlier Than (NET) tag so it may happen after Thursday. Below is a video from the NS-14 mission:

      The final launch on Thursday will come from Roscosmos who is launching a Soyuz 2.1b with the 4th Resurs-P satellite. The Resurs-P series of satellites are Earth observation satellites that are used by several Russian governmental agencies including Russia’s meteorological agency. The launch was delayed from November 2019 and November 2020.

      Friday, April 2
      The final launch of the week will come from China. The Long March CZ-4C will carry the Gaofen 12-02 remote sensing satellite which will perform high-res Earth observation. The satellite has a sub-meter level resolution which is suited for urban planning, crop yield estimation, and disaster prevention. The mission is being launched for the China High-definition Earth Observation System (CHEOS).

    • By zikalify
      TWIRL 5: Starship SN11 could launch sometime this week
      by Paul Hill



      Welcome to the fifth instalment of This Week in Rocket Launches, this week has a packed schedule thanks to a few launch delays and a possible Starship SN11 launch by SpaceX. Glavkosmos will attempt to launch the Korean CAS500 satellite, Rocket Lab could finally launch the BlackSky Global 7 satellite, SpaceX has several missions penciled in, OneWeb wants to launch several internet satellites, India and a Chinese firm are looking at launches too.

      The first launches of the week, on Monday, will be from Glavkosmos and possibly Rocket Lab. The Glavkosmos mission will take the Compact Advanced Satellite 500 (CAS500) into orbit along with Astroscale’s ELSA-d debris removal demonstration mission. The launch was scrubbed from last week but hopefully, it can get off the launch pad tomorrow. You can find a live stream on YouTube.

      Rocket Lab’s ‘They Go Up So Fast’ mission has been a possibility for several weeks now. The launch could take off early this week from New Zealand but it’s not definite. The mission consists of an Electron rocket launching a BlackSky Global satellite alongside several other satellites. The BlackSky satellite constellation is made up of 1-metre resolution Earth observation microsatellites that are useful for ground observation. If Rocket Lab’s mission goes ahead, you can find a live stream on its website.

      Wednesday is the earliest time we’ll see the launch of SpaceX’s Starship SN11, according to the Neowin forums. SpaceX wants to do a static fire test at the start of the week and if all goes according to plan, it can attempt a launch on Wednesday or Thursday. SpaceX was almost able to do a successful landing of its Starship SN10 rocket earlier this month but it ultimately exploded due to a fire. All of the SpaceX flights this week will be live-streamed and shared on the SpaceX website.

      On Wednesday, SpaceX will also be trying again with its Falcon 9 B5 rocket to launch a batch of Starlink satellites into low Earth orbit. This mission was mentioned in TWIRL 4 but was delayed. As the end goal, SpaceX wants to have 30,000 Starlink satellites in orbit around the Earth to beam internet connectivity down to those in areas that are hard to connect. The firm also has a separate Starlink mission to launch the day after.

      On Thursday, India will launch its EOS 3 satellite that is designed to provide continuous remote sensing observations over India from a geostationary orbit. It will be taken into space using India’s Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV), which has received several modifications that are being used for the first time.

      Also on Thursday, China’s state-run ExPace will launch a Kuaizhou KZ-10 rocket with the Jilin Gaofen 2D satellite (Jilin 28). The 230kg satellite will be used to take full-colour images from a 535km-high operational orbit to complement other satellites that are already in orbit as part of the commercial Jilin 1 constellation.

      The final launch of the week will be a Soyuz 2.1b which will carry 36 OneWeb internet communication satellites. The satellites will go into a near-polar orbit at an altitude of 450km. OneWeb, which is now owned by the British government, announced plans earlier in the week to help deliver Wi-Fi to aeroplanes from its satellites; those being launched this week will contribute to connecting those planes to the net.

    • By zikalify
      NASA's SLS' core stage to undergo final Green Run test
      by Paul Hill



      NASA has announced that its Space Launch System (SLS), a rocket designed to send astronauts to the Moon, will undergo its final Green Run series test this week on Thursday. The space agency said that the two-hour testing window will open at 3 p.m. EDT on March 18 and plans to begin streaming the event 30 minutes before the test on NASA Television, the agency’s website, and the NASA app.

      In this eighth and final Green Run test, engineers will power up all of the core stage systems and fire the rocket’s four RS-25 engines to simulate the stage’s operation during launch. The engines will burn 700,000 gallons of supercold cryogenic propellant and generate 1.6 million pounds of thrust.

      Two hours after the test, NASA will hold a briefing on NASA TV where it will be able to explain whether everything went smoothly and will answer media questions by phone. Once this test is complete, NASA will be assured that the core stage of the SLS rocket is ready for the Artemis missions to the Moon, marking a major milestone.

      The core stage of the rocket is a very important part of the rocket; it includes a liquid hydrogen tank and liquid oxygen tank, four RS-25 engines, computers, electronics, and avionics, which NASA explains, acts as the brains of the SLS.

      The Artemis I mission, which will use the SLS rocket, is planned for November this year. It is an uncrewed test flight and will be the first to integrate the Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle (MPCV) and the Space Launch System. This will then pave the way for two planned Artemis missions and a further six proposed missions - all of which will be crewed.