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SpaceX updates (Grasshopper RLV)

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DocM    16,746

Falcon 9, Flight 3 second stage 60 second test fire. Testing is done and it was to arrive at KSC today for integration with the first stage for the C2 (possible C3) mission.

When viewing remember that the first stage is 9X as powerful now, and will be much more than that with next years huge Merlin 1D engine upgrade.

Engine: Merlin 1 Vacuum (M-Vac)

Fuel: RP-1 (rocket grade kerosene) & liquid oxygen

Igniters: dual-redundant TEA-TEB (reliable multiple starts)

Nominal burn time: 345 seconds

Vacuum thrust: 617,000 Newtons (138,800 lb-ft)

ISP (specific impulse): 304 seconds

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neoadorable    405

impressive. so how fast can this guy take us to geo sync orbit?

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DocM    16,746

This block of Falcon 9 can put 4,540 kg (10,000 lbs) into a geosynchronous transfer orbit (GTO) almost immediately, after which it's up to the satellite to go the rest of the way using its own thrusters.

After the Merlin 1D upgrade next year that tonnage will go up significantly.

GTO is a highly elliptical orbit with an apogee of 37,500 km and a perigee of a few hundred km. The satellites thrusters then circularize the orbit to a full GEO at 37,500 all the way around and park it in the assigned orbital slot.

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DocM    16,746

SpaceRef....

SpaceX Groundbreaking at Vandenberg Air Force Base Wednesday

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk, Lt. Governor Newsom, 30th Space Wing Commander Boltz, and Lompoc Mayor to Gather at Future Launch Site of World's Most Powerful Rocket

WHAT: In April 2011, SpaceX announced its plans to design, build and launch the Falcon Heavy - the world's largest launch vehicle since the Saturn V moon rocket. The Falcon Heavy should arrive at Vandenberg by the end of 2012 and launch soon thereafter.

On Wednesday, July 13th, 2011, Hawthorne-based Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) will hold a groundbreaking ceremony for the company's newest launch pad at Vandenberg Air Force Base.

Falcon Heavy will have the ability to carry payloads weighing over 53 metric tons to orbit, offering more than twice the performance of other commercial providers at one-third of the cost. SpaceX save the Department of Defense at least one billion dollars annually in space launch services with such a rocket, while providing an independent family of vehicles to provide assured access to space.

WHO: Elon Musk, SpaceX Founder, CEO & Chief Technology Officer

Gavin Newsom, Lieutenant Governor of California

Colonel Richard W. Boltz, Commander, 30th Space Wing and Western Range, Air Force Space Command, Vandenberg Air Force Base

Mayor John Linn, Lompoc

WHERE: Vandenberg Air Force Base (Space Launch Complex 4-East)

WHEN: Wednesday, July 13, 2011, 1:00 PM

ACCREDITATION

News media desiring accreditation for the SpaceX Groundbreaking ceremony should e-mail/fax their requests (including full legal name, date of birth and media affiliation) to:

Jeremy Eggers

30th Space Wing Public Affairs Office

Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif.

Telephone: 805-606-3595

FAX: 805-606-4571

E-mail: jeremy.eggers@vandenberg.af.mil

A valid, government-issued photo identification will be required upon arrival at Vandenberg. Foreign press will need to provide a passport number and identify the country where issued in their request.

Media desiring to cover the event should meet at the south gate of VAFB on California State Road 246 at (30 minutes before the event or 12:30 PM) to be escorted by 30th Space Wing Public Affairs to the ceremony site.

Falcon Heavy Video

http://www.youtube.com/user/spacexchannel#p/c/F0D3A9748DC5E42D/2/UTwRxtmQ9IY

main_Falcon9Heavy_002.jpg

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neoadorable    405

so the rocket goes all the way up to 37K? or does it stop short and let the payload find its own way there?

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DocM    16,746

The 2nd stage M-Vac engine and the 2nd stages Draco thrusters combine to take the payload to GTO. All told it takes just shy of 6 hours after launch. This is the time sequence for a Falcon 9 GTO launch;

T= 0.0 : launch

T= 155.5 sec : MECO-1 (1st stage main engine cut-off #1 - 2 engines shut down to limit acceleration loads)

T= 174.2 sec : MECO-2 (last 7 engines cut-off)

T= 176.2 sec : 2nd stage separation

T= 179.2 sec : 2nd stage engine start #1

T= 199.21 sec : fairing separation

T= 475.9 sec : SECO-1 (2nd stage engine cut-off #1)

T= 476 to 1488 sec : coast

T= 1488.6 sec : 2nd stage engine start #2

T= 1544.6 sec : SEC0-2 (2nd stage engine cut-off #2)

T= 1544.7 to 19,913.1 sec : coast

T= 19,913.2 to 20,968.8 sec : RCS burn (Draco reaction control system burn to GTO)

T= 20,978.8 sec : payload separation

the rest is up to the satellite.

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DocM    16,746

Now they're really hiring the big guns -

Col. Lee Rosen (USAF Ret) is the new SpaceX Director of Vandenberg Launch Operations. Col. Rosen is the former US Air Force Commander of the 45th Launch Group at Cape Canaveral.

His staff tours included Program Element Monitor for the Defense Space Reconnaissance Program and Executive Assistant to the Director of the NRO. Col. Rosen commanded the 4th Space Launch Squadron at Vandenberg Air Force Base and was a graduate of the Industrial College of the Armed Forces. Most recently, he was the Director of the Counterspace Group, Space Superiority Systems Wing at Los Angeles Air Force Base, Calif.

052611-F-AI603-001.jpg

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DocM    16,746

Commemerative coin-

fhcoin.jpg

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DocM    16,746

Man....with all that's going on at SpaceX this guy just doesn't know how to ease up.

Interesting fact came up from some calculations done by pro rocketeers: a Falcon Heavy could toss a fully loaded Dragon to Mars all by itself - no separately launched Earth departure stage or other bits.

NBC Cosmic Log....

SpaceX chief sets his sights on Mars

Don't expect to hear any nostalgia about the soon-to-end space shuttle era from Elon Musk, the millionaire founder of Space Exploration Technologies. Musk isn't prone to look to the past, but rather to the future ? to a "new era of spaceflight" that eventually leads to Mars.

SpaceX may be on the Red Planet sooner than you think: When I talked with him in advance of the shuttle Atlantis' last liftoff, the 40-year-old engineer-entrepreneur told me the company's Dragon capsule could take on a robotic mission to Mars as early as 2016. And he's already said it'd be theoretically possible to send humans to Mars in the next 10 to 20 years ? bettering NASA's target timeframe of the mid-2030s.

You can't always take Musk's timelines at face value. This is rocket science, after all, and Musk himself acknowledges that his company's projects don't always finish on time. But if he commits himself to a task, he tends to see it through. "It may take more time than I expected, but I'll always come through," he told me a year ago.

Since that interview, a lot of things have come through for SpaceX. The company has conducted successful tests of its Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon capsule. Before the end of the year, another test flight is expected to send a Dragon craft all the way to the space station for the first time. If that test is successful, SpaceX can start launching cargo to the International Space Station under the terms of a $1.6 billion NASA contract.

The company is also in line to receive $75 million more from NASA to start turning the Dragon into a crew-worthy space taxi for astronauts by 2015 or so. And just today, the company broke ground on a California launch pad that could be used by the next-generation Falcon Heavy rocket starting in 2013.

Once the Dragon and the Falcon Heavy are in service, the main pieces would be in place for a Mars mission, Musk said.

"One of the ideas we're talking to NASA about is ... using Dragon as a science delivery platform for Mars and a few other locations," he told me. "This would be possibly be several tons of payload ? actually, a single Dragon mission could land with more payload than has been delivered to Mars cumulatively in history."

SpaceX is working with NASA's Ames Research Center in California on an interplanetary mission concept that could theoretically be put into effect for a launch "five or six years from now," Musk said.

By that time, astronauts will once again be riding on U.S.-made spaceships to the space station, including the Dragon ? that is, if the current schedules hold true. But there's a lot of doubt surrounding those schedules. As you'd expect, the end of the space shuttle program and the shape of spaceships to come were major themes in my conversation with Musk. Here's an edited version of the Q&A on those subjects:

>

Q & A

>

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DocM    16,746

Inside SpaceX Mission Control -

Exterior

control-1.jpg

Mission Control

control-2.jpg

Triple-monitor workstations

control-3.jpg

Taking things very seriously

control-4.jpg

Testing MC software on a mock-up

control-5.jpg

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Boxster17    78

Thanks for putting this thread together, it's been a good read and going to be watching this from now on. Thanks for the continuous updates :)

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neoadorable    405

yeah Doc is awesome when it comes to this stuff.

and Doc, your post from the 14th about SpaceX planning Mars missions has given me so much hope...this is exactly the kind of pressure we need to be putting on NASA and the other space agencies!

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DocM    16,746

Interesting tidbits re: Dragon safety -

http://satellite.tmcnet.com/topics/satellite/articles/197915-cocktails-with-spacex-dragon.htm

>

Dragon uses two physically separate drogue parachutes ejected from opposite sides of the capsule to start main parachute deployment. Each individual drogue is capable of pulling off the main parachute cover and deploying the three primary parachutes, so there's redundancy in case one drogue fails to deploy.

In case of an onboard computer failure, Dragon passengers would literally have a manual rip cord to pop the drogues, ensuring parachute deployment under worst-case circumstances.

>

In addition to this Dragon has 3 main parachutes but only needs one. The parachutes are made by Airborne Systems, who have made the parachutes for so many space missions people have quit counting as well as the military.

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DocM    16,746

http://www.universetoday.com/87577/one-on-one-with-spacexs-garrett-reisman/

CAPE CANAVERAL Fla. ? Garrett Reisman knows a thing or two about what it takes to send astronauts to orbit. He should, he has taken the trip himself ? twice. Reisman spent three months on the International Space Station launching with the STS-123 crew, and was a Mission Specialist on STS-132. He has walked in space, operated Canada?s Dextre robot and installed critical flight hardware to the ISS.

He has since left NASA to work for Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX). Reisman took a moment to chat with Universe Today just before the final launch of the shuttle program, STS-135, on the orbiter Atlantis. Reisman spoke about SpaceX?s contract with NASA under the second phase of the Commercial Crew Development contract or CCDev-02, his new role as Director of SpaceX?s Dragon Rider program and whether there is another trip to space in his future.

Universe Today: Hi Garrett, thanks for taking the time to talk with us today, tell us a little about CCDev-02.

Reisman: ?Thanks, it?s good to be here, SpaceX has dubbed CCDev-02 the ?Dragon Rider? program, CCDev sounds like someone?s logon name. Dragon Rider is the name of SpaceX?s efforts to send astronauts into orbit on board the Dragon Spacecraft.?

Universe Today: A nod to Anne McCaffrey?s Dragonriders of Pern?

Reisman: ?Exactly!?

>

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DocM    16,746

Regarding blending the COTS C2 and C3 flights and Dragon going straight to the ISS on this next flight - looks like a GO. NASA staffer this week -

We haven't made a final decision but we're pretty close. As far as technically can we combine the flights and feel comfortable, that you can do the demonstration steps planned for both of the missions in one mission, and get the delta testing done on the ground to make up for what you may not have gotten on the first demo flight? - we're there, technically we're good.

>

But the planning is all assuming that we're flying the next flight to ISS - that's what we'll be doing, so we're not losing any time with regard to being prepared for that flight. And its probably in ... later in November launch date that we'll go for it - that hasn't been finalized yet.

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DocM    16,746

Confirmed -

Aviation Week....

>

Agency and company officials reached agreement on planning dates of Nov. 30 for the launch and Dec. 7 for the rendezvous and berthing of the Dragon cargo spacecraft with the station during a July 15 meeting.

The plan depends on how SpaceX intends to manage the deployment of two small satellites during the flight that could pose an impact hazard to the station. ?I think we will find a way to sort that out,? Suffredini says.

>

The two satellites are from ORBCOMM, who is launching a new constellation of communications birds into a 775km high orbit. The Falcon 9's 2nd stage would deploy Dragon at 300km first, then re-aim itself for another burn to boost the ORBCOMM's to their orbit. IIRC it will also drop off a few microsatellites.

For the record: this 2nd stage can also throw large payloads to the Moon or Mars - in the latter case it could have sent both Spirit and Opportunity to Mars in one launch. Thing is, SpaceX is planning an even bigger one.

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neoadorable    405

awesome news, i'm excited! so the Dragon will start going up to the ISS in Nov! wow Soyuz will not get too much action out of NASA after all...well, the Russians need to step up to the plate with their own projects, they've been spoiled by easy money from launching other people's stuff to low orbit.

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DocM    16,746

New update with pics etc. of the groundbreaking of the Falcon Heavy pad at Vandenberg Air Force Base SLC-4E.

http://www.spacex.com/updates.php

samples -

20110725-011.jpg

20110725-012.jpg

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neoadorable    405

nice pics, i'm sure they will lead to great achievements!

regarding your sig, one of my favorite boats actually did have wheels...the Chevy Caprice :laugh:

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DocM    16,746

Mine was a 1978 Cadillac Eldorado. That wasn't just a boat though - more of a battleship ;)

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DocM    16,746

Enter: Super Draco - the thruster for Dragon's launch escape and propulsive landing systems.

Garret Reisman: SpaceX Project Manager for commercial crew talking at NewSpace 2011 sez -

- Been with SpaceX for about 5 months.

- Feeling of great responsibility

- The Commercial Crew funding by the House was less than 2% of the NASA budget.

- When first visited SpaceX, was blown away by their capabilties.

- 5 Falcon 9s in constructions, 2 or 3 Dragons

- 1400 employees

- Engineers paradise.

- VPs are experienced technical people.

- First private company to bring <back> something from space

- Focus on launch abort system - just had conceptual design review, and is due to complete its primary design review in September (PDR from elsewhere)

- Will be test firing Super Draco thrusters soon at the Texas test center.

Testing of the Super Draco starting "soon" is a big deal since under their NASA CCDev-2 contract they aren't required to do it until May, 2012.

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DocM    16,746

Dragon propulsive landing animation. Shows 8 Super Draco's; four sets of two set 90? apart.

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DocM    16,746

New cutaway of the crew Dragon.

Apparently there will be a flight crew of 2; Commander and a Pilot. The Commander handles launch, orbital and re-entry ops and the Pilot ISS approaches, docking and backing away. Not too unlike how commercial ships work. The rest on board will be up to 5 passengers.

This capacity of 7 matches the Shuttles max crew compliment.

dragoncrew-1.jpg

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DocM    16,746

NASA and SpaceX are working on a 2018 mission tentatively named Red Dragon.

Red Dragon would search for evidence of life buried in the Martian soil. The NASA science package would fly to Mars aboard a modified Dragon spacecraft equipped with the crew versions Super Draco landing thrusters. Cost is estimated at $400 million or less. No doubt the Falcon Heavy would be the launcher as it can easily send that much mass and more to Mars.

Using Dragon as a cargo transporter to Mars lines up with SpaceX's long-term plans. Musk recently told MSNBC "This would possibly be several tons of payload ? actually, a single Dragon mission could land with more payload than has been delivered to Mars cumulatively in history."

dragon_landing_on_mars.jpg

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DocM    16,746

There is something in the wind some are calling the Dragon's Nest - a platform the Dragon would do a full, low velocity propulsive landing on and use for departure.

Speculation is Dragon could separate from it, fly point to point using the Super Draco's to various experimental sites, then land back on Dragon's Nest for the trip back up. They are saying that Dragon will be able to do the requited pinpoint landings so....

Others think that Dragon's Nest would wait for crewed flights and that Red Dragon would use a stripped down Dragon with a s***load of extra fuel. I'm in that camp because the Dragon's Nest is big enough to have to be assembled in space using at least 2 launchers..

There is also the possibility that Dragon could be changing to a non-toxic/high impulse (ISP) monopropellant (single fluid) called NOFBx. This is a nitrous oxide blend and we know that its maker, who happens to include former SpaceX people as officers, has built prototype engines that match the general specs for Super Draco. Self pressurizing too meaning no gas tanks, their plumbing & controls and much more room for fuel. As it is it Dragon can carry 1290 kg of hypergolic fuels.

The below pic shows what could be Dragon's Nest in the center background.

dragonmars.jpg

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