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SpaceX updates (Grasshopper RLV)

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DocM    16,751

Can't be played on mobiles - 10+ minurts. Shows how they integrate F9 & Dragon, put it on the gantry etc. May not play in some countries due to ITAR export restrictions.

Shorter 5 minute version should play anywhere

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bguy_1986    358

Hopefully this isn't a stupid question, but will these still be lauchned in Florida? or has this not been decided yet?

Just curious if all this history is going to stay in one place, however I would think there are much other reasons why they would want to continue lauching where they are at...

(I didn't even know where in Florida cape canaveral was till I just looked it up... and I was there before... lol - I thought it would be close to the sothern tip of florida.)

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DocM    16,751

At first most missions will be Falcon 9/Dragon to ISS and Falcon 9 satellite launches with an orbital inclination relative to the ewuator of 15? to 50? +/- (ISS = 28.5?) and those are available from KSC.

Next come Falcon Heavy, a true monster capable of lifting 53+ metric tons, 2x as much as the Shuttle or any other launcher. With a hydrogen 2nd stage that could go up to 65+ metric tons. The main initial customer for it will be the National Reconaissance Office for large spy satellites going to polar orbit; an inclination of 80? to 90? which isn't available from KSC. To launch those SpaceX is modify pad SLC-4 East at the Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. First flight is probably late 2013 or early 2014.

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vandenberg_AFB_Space_Launch_Complex_4

Rumors are it'll also get mods allowing Falcon 9 to lainch there as well. These would consist o two integration buildings at 90? to each other; one for FH and the other for F9. An added plus is they could process 2 flights at once. Even if Vandenberg doesn't get the dual launch mod KSC will - that's a lock.

They also want access to one of the retired Shuttle pads for a super-heavy launcher should they compete (you know they will) for NASA's proposed Space Launch System, a rocket twice as large as Falcon Heavy - roughly 130+ metric tons to LEO. They already have a concept that large, Falcon XX, a nearly 400' tall behemoth that makes Saturn V look like a beanpole.

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bguy_1986    358

At first most missions will be Falcon 9/Dragon to ISS and Falcon 9 satellite launches with an orbital inclination relative to the ewuator of 15? to 50? +/- (ISS = 28.5?) and those are available from KSC.

Next come Falcon Heavy, a true monster capable of lifting 53+ metric tons, 2x as much as the Shuttle or any other launcher. With a hydrogen 2nd stage that could go up to 65+ metric tons. The main initial customer for it will be the National Reconaissance Office for large spy satellites going to polar orbit; an inclination of 80? to 90? which isn't available from KSC. To launch those SpaceX is modify pad SLC-4 East at the Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. First flight is probably late 2013 or early 2014.

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vandenberg_AFB_Space_Launch_Complex_4

Rumors are it'll also get mods allowing Falcon 9 to lainch there as well. These would consist o two integration buildings at 90? to each other; one for FH and the other for F9. An added plus is they could process 2 flights at once. Even if Vandenberg doesn't get the dual launch mod KSC will - that's a lock.

They also want access to one of the retired Shuttle pads for a super-heavy launcher should they compete (you know they will) for NASA's proposed Space Launch System, a rocket twice as large as Falcon Heavy - roughly 130+ metric tons to LEO. They already have a concept that large, Falcon XX, a nearly 400' tall behemoth that makes Saturn V look like a beanpole.

Sweet. I didn't really know that much science/math went into the launch pad location/angle (if I halfway understand this all correctly)... Interesting stuff, and any deeper it will go way over my head. lol

Thanks

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DocM    16,751

Yup, certain sites are good for certain launch inclinations but there is another consideration: land overflight.

FH carrying a spy-sat to polar orbit from KSC would have to fly over land (E. Seaboar, New England & Canadsa or parts of S. America). If it comes down on NYC, Buenos Aires or Montreal someone might get a bit upset :p

At Vandenbrrg they could just launch over the Pacific waters well west of Baha & S. America.

FH from Florida could in theory miss S. America or eastern N. America if it were launched out over the Atlantic then made a turn, setting it up to go over one of the poles. Problem is that uses a lot of fuel, reducing the payload to orbit. Not very efficient.

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neoadorable    405

thanks for all the updates Doc. really good reading!

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DocM    16,751

No links yet as the news is very fresh...

In a major coup SpaceX just stole a major launch conteact, Thaicom 6, from Europe's Arianespace. This is SpaceX's 8th international launch contract.

This also has to be giving China fits as they've had eyes on dominating the rapidly expanding Asian launch market. Just a few weeks ago they were publically fretting about SpaceX's prices, and now we know why.

Thaicom operates communications satellites with coverage from Africa to Japan. So far they've used the Arieane launcher, but today it was announced that Thaicom 6 is going up on Falcon 9 in 2013.

Thaicom 6 is a >$100M TV satellite weighing over 3,200 kilograms and will be built by Orbital Sciences of Dulles, Virginia. It will provide TV services to south and southeast Asia & south and eastern Africa.

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neoadorable    405

good for SpaceX but hope the Chinese operators also get their fair share. we're all in this together. yes, when it comes to space i'm somewhat of a communist.

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DocM    16,751

As they themselves acknowledge, China's still rattled by SpaceX's prices and rate/costs of development. Of course they're not alone in that.

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neoadorable    405

competition is good, but something as massive as becoming a spacefaring civilization will require extensive regulation and an umbrella organization. time to get everyone at a table and get things done. undercutting may not be a good idea in this case, it may undermine the effort.

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DocM    16,751

In the US the FAA has oversight for manned flights, save for ISS traffic where NASA and the international partners set standards.

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neoadorable    405

so let's say i'm a multi-multi billionnaire, let's say Haden Industries, and i want to start building a ship that can go to Mars tomorrow. who do i need to call if i want to launch all the various parts from the US?

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DocM    16,751

Read up on Mars Society President/engineer Robert Zubrin's proposals. This article is a summary by Jeff Foust of The Space Review, but there are links in it to Zubrins IoEd in the Wall Street Journal and his Mars Railroad propsal.

http://www.marssociety.org/home/press/tms-in-the-news/atransorbitalrailroadtomars

By the way: Sen. Richard Shelby, the main opponent to an open competition to develop NASA's Space Launch System (SLS), has thrown in the towel. The letter went to the NASA administrator last night. SLS is to have an 80-130 metric ton to low Earth orbit capability - something made for Mars & beyond.

This means SpaceX is in the hunt for SLS and the idea of using $$$$ pieces of the shuttle system, mainly the solid boosters, are far less likely to be in the plan.

Interesting side note to this is that they've been working on an engine, the Merlin 2, that is more powerful than the F1 used on the Saturn V moon rocket; 1.7 million lb-ft each, and they'd use 6 in their Falcon XX proposal. One big, powerful mother that would greatly exceed SLS's requirements.

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DocM    16,751

SpaceX just "recruited" Orbital Sciences chief lobbyist.

Orbital Sciences is a major outfit wh not only launches but builds communications and other satellites. This guys contact list probably includes most of Congress and the administration, as well as all the other aerospace companies.

Nice guy to have on your team :p

http://www.spacenews.com/civil/110616-orbital-lobbyist-join-spacex.html

WASHINGTON ? Orbital Sciences Corp.?s top lobbyist, Mark Bitterman, is leaving the Dulles, Va.-based satellite and rocket builder for rival Space Exploration Technologies Corp., (SpaceX), according to officials at both companies.

Bitterman, a 19-year-veteran of Orbital Sciences, is stepping down as senior vice president of government relations effective June 17 to join SpaceX?s 10- to 15- person Washington office in mid-July. He will run the Hawthorne, Calif.-based rocket startup?s Capitol Hill activities, these officials said.

>

SpaceX, like Orbital Sciences, is under contract to start making supply runs to the international space station using commercially operated vehicles built with NASA?s financial assistance.

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DocM    16,751

From Dr. Ralph Ewig, a Mission Operations Engineer at SpaceX -

Starting a Dragon?s Heart

This morning we booted up the Dragon 2 spacecraft for the first time. It was just a simple power-up to test all the avionics, sensors, and electrical systems, but with something this complex you always anticipate glitches.

However, everything worked flawlessly, and while to some this may seem like not that big a deal, to the people doing the work this moment of watching it light up the telemetry screens for the first time meant to wake a spacecraft that holds the blood, sweat, and tears of hundreds - and the dreams of thousands more.

By the end of this year it will carry those dreams to space with it, and do its part as another small stepping stone in humanity?s ongoing endeavor to build a bridge to the stars. Here?s hoping this Dragon?s temperament will be as benign in flight as it was at its first awakening

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bguy_1986    358

From Dr. Ralph Ewig, a Mission Operations Engineer at SpaceX -

Can't even imagine how complex that system has to be. And to have it boot and run correctly the first time is amazing.

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DocM    16,751

Link....

Press Release ? June 16, 2011

$250,000 HEINLEIN PRIZE FOR ADVANCES IN SPACE COMMERCIALIZATION HONORS ELON MUSK

Trustees of the Robert A. and Virginia Heinlein Prize Trust announced today that the second-ever Heinlein Prize will go to Elon Musk, founder, CEO and CTO of Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX).

The Heinlein Prize honors the memory of Robert A. Heinlein, a renowned American science fiction author. The purpose of the prize is to encourage and reward individuals for making practical contributions to the commercialization of space. Mr. Musk will be honored at a luncheon and award ceremony on June 29, 2011 at the Hyatt in Washington, DC and will receive $250,000, a gold Heinlein Medallion, the Lady Vivamus Sword (as described in Heinlein?s book Glory Road), and a Laureate?s Diploma.

>

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neoadorable    405

good news for Elon, he does deserve it!

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DocM    16,751

If anyone's going to be in the area take pics & post :)

SPACEX DRAGON SPACECRAFT RETURNS TO FLORIDA

Public Viewings Available Through July 10, 2011, at the Air Force Space and Missile History Center

CAPE CANAVERAL, FL?On December 8, 2010, SpaceX became the first commercial company in history to launch, fly, land and recover a spacecraft from low Earth orbit. Now through July 10, 2011, that spacecraft, the SpaceX Dragon, will make its first public appearance in Florida since its historic inaugural flight.

SpaceX, in coordination with the Air Force Space and Missile History Center, will host a public viewing of the Dragon capsule through July 10 on the grounds of the History Center, located just outside the South Gate of Cape Canaveral Air Force Station (CCAFS).

(in the email a pic of Dragon C1 is here)

Dragon?s inaugural launch served as an important step toward ensuring the future of US-based space programs following shuttle retirement. Having the spacecraft back in Florida will serve as a reminder that the US has a strong future in space exploration, and that American vehicles will continue to launch from Florida after the last flight of Atlantis in July.

The Air Force Space and Missile History Center will offer extended hours to the public during this time, remaining open from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Sunday through the final date of the exhibit. The facility offers free public access and houses historic hardware and visual displays that highlight all active and deactivated CCAFS launch complexes from the past 50+ years of flight. Additionally, the Center features 10 large displays, including a Mercury capsule, Atlas and Titan rocket engines, and a launch console from Launch Complex 19 (Gemini Program).

?This spacecraft made history last December, and it started its space journey here in Florida. We are excited to bring Dragon back to the state. We are also pleased to work with the Air Force Space and Missile History Center to display Dragon for the public to see,? said SpaceX President Gwynne Shotwell. ?With the space shuttle now retiring, Dragon will serve a critical role in next-generation US space exploration programs.?

?Putting the Dragon capsule on display at the History Center will complement the current exhibits, which highlight past, present and future launch activities at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station,? said Emily Perry, Air Force Space and Missile History Center Director.

With an additional NASA demonstration flight slated for later this year from CCAFS, SpaceX will become the first U.S. commercial launch services company to successfully demonstrate and execute US-based cargo transport capability to the International Space Station through Dragon. Dragon is the first commercially manufactured space transport vehicle and will play a key role in the country?s next generation of manned space exploration initiatives.

# # #

About the Air Force Space and Missile History Center

The Air Force Space and Missile History Center is a 3,200-square-foot facility outside the gates of Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. The facility is open to the public and admission is free. In addition to numerous exhibits, the History Center features 10 large displays, including a Mercury capsule, Atlas and Titan rocket engines and a launch console from the Gemini Program. The History Center also features a gift shop that offers many unique aerospace-related items. To learn more, call 321-853-1919 or visit www.afspacemuseum.org (click on link to the History Center).

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DocM    16,751

Taking over the Delta 2 launch processing center will help them up the Dragon & DragonLab flight rate. Once they modify the pad for Falcon Heavy launches (a 2nd integration barn 90? to the Falcon 9 barn) they'll need even more space.

Link....

A New Home for Falcon-9 Processing at the Cape

(Source: SPACErePORT)

Last month, Space Florida's board of directors approved several infrastructure investments at the Cape Canaveral Spaceport. One of those investments was apparently intended to meet SpaceX's need for expansion at the spaceport. With limited room at a Launch Complex 40 building for horizontal processing of Falcon-9 rockets, and scant extra room in the same facility for work on Dragon capsules, SpaceX was looking at excess facilities within the CCAFS Industrial Area nearby. With support from Space Florida and the Air Force 45th Space Wing, SpaceX is now modifying the Delta Mission Checkout (DMCO) facility--which formerly supported Delta-2 rocket processing--for Falcon-9 operations. (7/1)

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DocM    16,751

The Falcon 9 first stage for the COTS 2 flight at SpaceX's Launch Complex 40 today, and the second stage arives tomorrow for integration.

Still no official decision on if the COTS 2 and 3 missions will be blended, but everything is in place to di it including the training of the current ISS crew.

If they do COTS 3 on this flight Dragon will berth at the ISS and deliver cargo, another first for a commercial spacecraft.

Development of Dragon's launch abort/propulsive landing system continues with the documentation of the work done so far and supporting documents being delivered to NASA last month. A test stand firing still looks to be on for Q2 of 2012.

cots2first.jpg

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neoadorable    405

still too slow, just launch the guy already!

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DocM    16,751

Blame NASA - they're the ones causing most of the delay over the blended C2/C3 flight decision.

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neoadorable    405

what's their reasoning for this?

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DocM    16,751

That the stars were aligned was known 2-3 months ago, and there were a couple problems on SpaceX's end (a radio issue and a damaged weld found in the 2nd stage & fixed), but mainly the bureaucrats have to justify their existance.

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