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Unobscured Vision    2,644

It's only because they have to. Otherwise ULA will be squawking about "monopolies" and being "locked out" (get it?) and such ... the same crap they themselves did for years and years. LockMart and Boeing used to take each other to court so often in the old days before the joint venture ULA that it was almost comical.

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flyingskippy    165

 

55 minutes ago, Unobscured Vision said:

It's only because they have to. Otherwise ULA will be squawking about "monopolies" and being "locked out" (get it?) and such ... the same crap they themselves did for years and years. LockMart and Boeing used to take each other to court so often in the old days before the joint venture ULA that it was almost comical.

That's what I figured it was. Thanks! 

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DocM    16,225

This favoring of Atlas V only lasts until the launchers bought on the bulk buy are expended and Vulcan takes over from it. 

 

Atlas V and Delta IV are going away. That's a is lock. Delta IV's last launch is 2018, and as soon as an alternative can be fielded which does not use Russian engines Atlas V will be relegated to non-government launches where it cannot easily compete.

 

Then the situation favors the Falcons because Vulcan will need 3-7 successful launches of various types to qualify for all classes of NASA or USAF payloads. Ditto for Blue and for BFR. Example, you wouldn't launch an RTG or nuclear reactor on a vehicle with only 3 or 4 launches. 

 

Near term the launch bid to watch for is the test flight of NASA's Kilopower space nuclear reactor, and its full size ground test takes place within the next few weeks. If either Falcon 9 or Falcon Heavy gets that launch then it will be nuclear qualified, perhaps both due to their commonality, which is the last major advantage Atlas V will have.

Edited by DocM
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DocM    16,225

:laugh:

 

 

 

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Unobscured Vision    2,644

:laugh: Sticking to what they know ... it's not gonna last, either. The whole "we gotta do what we've always done because that's the way we've always done it" mentality is gonna get them retired.

 

Just take the pension, fellas. Take the pension. You've served your masters well for long enough.

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DocM    16,225

One correction to my previous post is that Delta 4-Heavy will continue to fly until 2023. 

 

There is an upcoming funded procurement/competition by the US Air Force for DIV-H's  replacement, with the expected competitors to be; 

 

ULA Vulcan (Centaur & ACES upper stages)

 

Blue Origin's New Glenn 

 

OrbitalATK's Next Generation Launcher (pka Liberty) 

 

and a SpaceX entry which could be Falcon Heavy but is more likely the BFR with the  'Chomper' Spaceship/S2 (and yes, Musk called it that at IAC-2017.) 

 

Onthe other hand, SpaceX could offer both FH and BFR/Chomper with a dual bid.

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DocM    16,225

Wall Street Journal reporter

 

 

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Unobscured Vision    2,644

This should be for Raptor 40 then. Iteration 20.0 is ready to go, as far as we can tell. Now comes the part where SpaceX gives it the "Merlin treatment", squeezing more and more performance out of the platform in incremental upgrades. :yes: 

 

By the time they're at 20.5 or so, it'll be jamming at roughly twice the power output. Time will tell .... 

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DocM    16,225

Time to start taking bets as to if the power to weight ratio will  be over 300. Merlin at 200 is crazy enough, what with most engines not cracking 80-ish.

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DocM    16,225

Looks like a modification of the January 2016 USAF Raptor upper stage engine development contract for F9/FH. 

 

That contract cut a USAF check for $33.6m and the proportial contribution was 2:1, meaning  a new $40.8m USAF check results in a SpaceX expenditure of $81.6m.

 

They've also moved up the completion date from December 31, 2018 to April 30, 2018.

 

In light of recent IAC announcements, the F9/FH phase out and BFR/BFS acceleration,  ISTM this could now be applylied to the BFS "Chomper" satellite delivery vehicle/BFR "upper stage."

 

https://www.defense.gov/News/Contracts/Contract-View/Article/1348379/

 

Quote


Space Exploration Technologies Corp., Hawthorne, California, has been awarded a $40,766,512 modification (P00007) for the development of the Raptor rocket propulsion system prototype for the Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle program.  Work will be performed at NASA Stennis Space Center, Mississippi; Hawthorne, California; McGregor, Texas; and Los Angeles Air Force Base, California; and is expected to be complete by April 30, 2018.  Fiscal 2017 research, development, test and evaluation funds in the amount of $40,766,512 are being obligated at the time of award.  The Launch Systems Enterprise Directorate, Space and Missile Systems Center, Los Angeles AFB, California, is the contracting activity (FA8811-16-9-0001).

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Unobscured Vision    2,644

We won't have to wait long to find out then. Most of the Raptor-40 work has likely been finished already. Same design, just beef/scale some components up, retool the powerhead for the increased pressure it has to deal with, etc.

 

Likely Raptor-40 will be the 650k lbf model, and then SpaceX will start aiming for the 1,000k lbf one after that for BFR 2.0.

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Unobscured Vision    2,644
17 hours ago, DocM said:

Time to start taking bets as to if the power to weight ratio will  be over 300. Merlin at 200 is crazy enough, what with most engines not cracking 80-ish.

Even if they get 275 it'll be a hell of an achievement. Merlin at 200 is already a milestone for RP-1's efficiency rating. Best RP-1 engine ever made. :yes: AR-1 is gonna be great, sure -- if it gets off the test bench (and likely will) -- but Merlin is my favorite.

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DocM    16,225

Chris at NasaSpaceFlight reports that pending NASA front office approval, on December 4th 2017 Dragon CRS-13 will fly on a Flight Proven™ booster (CRS-11). The tech reviewers green flagged it. 

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DocM    16,225

As the KoreaSat static fire happens....

 

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Unobscured Vision    2,644

Can't say we didn't see this coming after the USAF move to use them. :yes: NASA won't regret it either.

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DocM    16,225

And all those Flight Proven™ cores in the barns are going to make it much easier to fly 40 missions next year.

 

That French space agency dude must really regret creating the SpaceX Steamroller saying

 

59f7c15140fd6_spacexsteamroller.thumb.jpg.c1fb0e67d69360c95cd4a80ba31cba7b.jpg

 

 

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Unobscured Vision    2,644

Yep, and all the while SpaceX will be busy:

- rolling Block-4 and Block-5 Falcon-9's out of the factory

- finalizing tooling and production methods for BFR/BFS 1.0

- getting Brownsville and Boca Chica facilities to Stage 3 milestones of completion

- getting new Vandenberg & Cape facilities up and running (for BFR/BFS assembly)

planning the Brownsville and Boca Chica BFS/BFR facilities if they haven't already been factored in

- moving/hiring personnel, equipment and logistics for the above

 

Gonna be a busy year. :yes: 

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Jim K    12,673
Quote

SpaceX suffers Merlin engine test mishap

 

WASHINGTON — SpaceX said Nov. 8 that it suffered a failure of a Merlin engine during a recent test at its Texas facility, but that the incident would not delay any upcoming launches.

 

The incident, which took place Nov. 4 and was first reported by the Washington Post, may have involved a new version of the Merlin engine being developed by SpaceX for the next upgrade of the company’s Falcon 9 launch vehicle.

 

“SpaceX experienced an anomaly during a Qualification test set up of a Merlin engine at our rocket development facility in McGregor, Texas,” the company said in a statement to SpaceNews. No one was injured in the test, the company said, and “a thorough and fully transparent investigation” is underway, in coordination with various government agencies.

 

SpaceX has yet to disclose specific details about the incident, which a company source said took place on a Merlin test stand that has two bays. One bay reportedly suffered damage that will take two to four weeks to repair, while the neighboring bay received only minor damage that can be repaired in days.

 

The incident, according to the source, took place not during an actual engine firing but during a troubleshooting activity called a “LOX drop” where liquid oxygen is flowed through the engine to look for leaks. It wasn’t clear how this test led to the anomaly that damaged the engine and its test bay.

/snip

More at SpaceNews

 

Better on the test stand than on the launch pad or going down range.  Odd that it blew up during the LOX drop.  Will be interesting to read SpaceX's investigation into the cause.

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DocM    16,225

This was not during an engine run, it was during a LOX dump - a flow and leak test. It may not have even been in the engine but in the ground support equipment on the test stand. We'll get that info later.

 

Such incidents can occur when cleaning procedures were not sufficient to get all combustibles out of the engine before the next test. For example, RP-1 or some other hydrocarbon could have been missed during a cleanup and ignited when the LOX hit it.

 

Since this was a developmental Block 5 engine test, not a Block f4 which is the operational engine, the flight schedule will not be impacted.

 

Give them 2 to 4 weeks to clean up the mess and get the stand ready and it's back to testing Block 5.

 

If you aren't breaking things you aren't learning anything.

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Unobscured Vision    2,644

Yeah, I thought the purge system was supposed to clear all of that out between tests -- just for this reason?

 

Something went screwy. They'll figure it out, identify a new and better way to handle purges, make it (and their procedures) better & more robust than ever, and it'll never happen again.

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flyingskippy    165

WAPO were the first ones to run this story and that is kind of messed up. Is BO going to use WAPO to spread negative info on its competitors? I don't even think they covered BO's power head failure.  Also, how did WAPO get this information? 

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DocM    16,225

Scuttlebutt is a disgruntled employee at McGregor, or contractor.

 

That Bezos has been using WapPo as a political and business PR attack dog is old news. He's been doing it ever since he bought the paper a few years ago.

 

WaPo also gives Bezos and in with the spook agencies. Philip and Katherine Graham, its long-time publishers from the World War 2 days forward, were involved and there's no sign that the paper has broken that connection. Today, Amazon Web Services provides cloud services for the spooks. If you have the time look up Operation Mockingbird.

 

In other news,

 

 

Edited by DocM

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DocM    16,225

Back to the "engine explosion" 

 

This was  a failure of ground support equipment (GSE) in the test stand. NASASpaceFlight.com has a story with SpaceX & NASA sourced information, photos taken by a user flying over the test center, etc. 

 

The test stand should be repaired and back in operation within a couple of weeks, and the adjoining test stand should be ready in a few days. There will be no impact on the flight manifest.

 

The test stand info starts about halfway down the page,

 

https://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2017/11/spacex-static-fire-zuma-falcon-9-engine-no-issue-manifest/

 

As SpaceX gets closer to launching astronauts using Block 5 Falcon 9's and Crew Dragon capsules in mid-2018 there will be more FUD (fear, uncertainty & doubt) and concern troll  stories, mostly sourcing from those who see this is a threat. The Usual Suspects in the industry, and their shills in Congress and the media. 

 

Expect even more as their BFR super-heavy Booster and BFS  Spaceship progress through their test programs. A BFS will be up to bat first, with the first test vehicle's keel being laid  around Q2 of 2018. The factory is being prepared, and the tooling on order.

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FloatingFatMan    17,660
1 hour ago, DocM said:

Expect even more as their BFR super-heavy Booster and BFS  Spaceship progress through their test programs. A BFS will be up to bat first, with the first test vehicle's keel being laid  around Q2 of 2018. The factory is being prepared, and the tooling on order.

Yeah, you want to be standing WELL back when they test that bugger...

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