SpaceX updates (Grasshopper RLV)


Recommended Posts

neoadorable

thanks much for the updates Doc. love that Paragon life support setup, could use it in my room to remove the condensation from the windows now that it's cold outside (Y)

so, we're looking at several flights in 2012, then building up to manned mission by 2015, with a planned non-crewed Mars mission somewhere in between? my friends, we are on the path to manned Mars exploration by 2020 or thereabouts. and this is without the other NASA programs to take into account, and without our partners from other parts of the world figured into the equation. things are looking up again!

Link to post
Share on other sites
DocM

Crew Dragon depends a bit on what NASA and Congress do, but 2014-2016 is about right. Red Dragon looks to be a 2017-2019 project.

Link to post
Share on other sites
DocM

Today's conference call by NASA says budget constraints will delay commercial crew going live to the ISS until 2016-2017, so they'll have to buy a couple more Soyuz flights. This does not stop them from flying crew missions on their own dime.

In better news thd next round of commerciam crew development, CCDev-3, will continue to use Space Act Agreements instead of regular govt. contracting methods, so the commercial guys won that fight. It also looks like at least 2, and possibly 3, competitors will be selected for CCDev-3.

Also: there is a new SpaceX update, with a link to the coming 22.8" Falcon 9/Dragon flying model rocket that'll be sold through Amazon.com

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

http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B006GX14R8/ref=aw_d_detail?pd=1

The flying model F9/Dragon

model-1.jpg

model-2.jpg

Link to post
Share on other sites
DocM

From ISS Status Report 5/12/2011

SpaceX Dragon Update:

CUCU (COTS UHF Communication Unit) test sessions for the Dryden Radio Frequency (RF) checkout with the upgraded CUCU on ISS were conducted last night and the night before. A backup capability, with better line-of-sight visibility, exists today. This is in support of the SpaceX Demo Launch planned currently for 02/07 next year. The SpaceX Dragon capsule will deliver pressurized and unpressurized cargo to ISS after launch from Cape Canaveral and then reenter for splashdown off the coast of California.

If launched on 02/07, Fly-under will follow on 02/09, Berthing via SSRMS (Space Station Remote Manipulator System) on 02/10 and Unberth at 02/23 (work is underway to deconflict Dragon activities from the Russian EVA scheduled for 02/14). Eight demonstration objectives are defined for this mission and documented in Flight Rules.

For Rendezvous & Berthing there will be a hold point at both 30m and 10m, with Go/No-go decision. The ISS crew starts monitoring at 1000m and takes action starting at 200m. Dragon has multiple abort capabilities, each made up of 2 types of burns - large delta-V aligned with X-axis and small delta-V in any body direction.

Link to post
Share on other sites
neoadorable

looks like Feb will be a good month for space! however, not sure where this NASA delay with the manned Dragon flights came from? just a few days ago we were talking 2015. why are they making such a big deal out of this? manned missions to the ISS are nothing new!

and if i purchase this model rocket, will it help the cause of space? is the money going to SpaceX? if so, just let me know where to buy it!

Link to post
Share on other sites
DocM

The problem is that NASA asked for $800m this year for CCDev-2 and Congress only gave them $400m. Part the economy, part politics to keep the Space Launch Syetem and JWST funded.

The link is above to the Amazon store, and at least some of it will go to SpaceX via licensing. Dunno if they're makng it or if Estes will.

A lot of people are writing them to open up an online store for shirts, caps, coffee cups mugs, models etc. They'd sell a ton.

Link to post
Share on other sites
DocM
MEDIA ACCREDITATION NOW OPEN FOR NASA/SPACEX LAUNCH

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla., -- Media accreditation for NASA's second

Commercial Orbital Transportation Services demonstration flight is

open. Liftoff of a Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) Falcon 9

rocket from Space Launch Complex-40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force

Station, Fla., is targeted for Feb. 7, 2012.

During the flight, the Dragon spacecraft will conduct a series of

check-out procedures to test and prove its systems in advance of a

rendezvous with the International Space Station. The primary

objectives for the flight include a fly-by of the space station at a

distance of approximately two miles to validate the operation of

sensors and a flight system necessary for a safe rendezvous and

approach. The spacecraft also will demonstrate the capability to

abort the rendezvous.

International news media representatives without U.S. citizenship must

apply for credentials to cover the prelaunch and launch activities by

Jan. 5. The early accreditation deadline is needed because the U.S.

Air Force requires 30 days to process international media

credentials. For U.S. news media, the deadline to apply is Jan. 30.

All media accreditation requests need to be submitted online at:

https://media.ksc.nasa.gov

For questions about accreditation or additional information, contact

NASA Kennedy Space Center's Press Site at 321-867-2468.

For more information on NASA's COTS program, visit:

http://www.nasa.gov/cots

Link to post
Share on other sites
neoadorable

thanks for the update Doc, i'll be sure to watch the launch on NASA TV as usual!

will be purchasing that model, but have some concerns about assembly...you think it's complicated? not very patient with these things. BTW Congress not giving NASA the full funding for commercial partnerships...i mean ideally they should, we have the money, but if it means the Webb goes up or even has a chance of going up...well, i can live with that! the whole idea of private space is that Congress doesn't have to fund it, after all.

Link to post
Share on other sites
DocM

Most of those kits can he put together by a 12 year old, so.....

My problem is with sinking billions into SLS when NASA could give ULA and SpaceX half as much and get two redundant heavy lifters that would require less infrastructure and be cheaper to launch.

SLS = FrankenRocket

Link to post
Share on other sites
DocM

SpaceX Dragon C2/C3 launch

Date: Feb. 7, 2012

Time: 8:28 PM

Sunset: 6:07 PM

Night launch :)

Link to post
Share on other sites
neoadorable

hmmm night launches don't look that great on TV :( but i'll be there to support and cheer on with a cold one and a smile :)

forgot to place an order for the kit on Amazon, too much spending recently, but will buy it once my wallet recovers some!

as for your stance on FrankenRocket as you call SLS, i think you're not taking the NASA long-view and holistic approach. sure, appeasing constituencies may seem corrupt and inefficient but it's what governments need to do. these guys aren't all bad, they're trying to create/keep jobs in the US while promoting space. they figure if they can do that at the cost of a decade's delay to arriving on Mars then so be it. i'm not saying i agree with them, i think we should go to Mars to stay as soon as possible and i'm with Zubrin on this that it can easily happen by the end of this decade. however, i don't discount SLS and other such big ticket programs outright. and i reiterate, private space is so good because it operates totally independent of govt spending...if they become quasi-governmental, then what have we gained really?

Link to post
Share on other sites
DocM

My problem with SLS isn't that we don't need a heavy lift rocket, we do, but its high cost/kg launched. With a $38B development cost and high base operational costs it's unaffordable. OTOH they could pay 20% of that to have SpaceX build Falcon X and have ULA build Atlas V Heavy, both with lower operational costs. Having both would also provide redundancy.

Link to post
Share on other sites
neoadorable

i can't argue with you on that $38 billion hit. that's freakin insane, it's NASA's budget for two whole years, and could easily fund several manned Mars missions with current tech. why is the SLS so expensive? what is it doing so radically different that it needs to take up so much money? the lift will be more than 100 tons to low orbit, right? i think more than Saturn V, am i correct?

Link to post
Share on other sites
DocM

Saturn V lifted 106-112 MT.

The initial version of SLS has a 75 MT lift to orbit and is supposed to fly about 2017-2018, but no one believes that. Everyone expects it to slip to 2020-2022+. The 130 MT version wouldn't be ready until 2030+.

A methane or hydrogen upper stage for Falcon Heavy woyld take it to 65-75 MT and cost a lot less. Enhance the Atlas V to Atkas Heavy with a J2-X upper stage and you do the same thing, also for less money.

Also; SpaceX has said they could build the 150-160 MT Falcon X in <5 years for $5-6 billion. All it would take is expanding Falcon 9's core from 3.66 meters to 5 meters, building Merlin 2, and using 2 methane/hydrogen engines in the 2nd stage. The diameter expansion would be fairly easy given their use of monocoque tankage/fuselages.

As to why SLS costs so much - legacy costs and NASA's insane bureaucracy. Much of its tech will be legacy hardware from the Shuttle, which as we know was very expensive in terms of both launch costs and recurring operational costs.

As they say; insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.

Link to post
Share on other sites
neoadorable

ok, you're getting very close to selling me against SLS...i say we put her on backburner development and focus on crew vehicles while letting SpaceX and ULA do their thing. HOWEVER, if those two need government funding to do said thing, i'm against it because it's then quasi-private space. what's the point of that?

Link to post
Share on other sites
DocM

The point of NASA-private joint ventures on the COTS/CCDev model is drastically reduced costs.

When the numbers were crunched for Falcon 9 the bean counters came up with a cost of ~$400 million vs. $1.7+ billion for the traditional NASA model. Non-trivial savings, to say the least.

Link to post
Share on other sites
neoadorable

definitely not trivial savings, but it should be 100% private funded. NASA pays for cargo and personnel fares, hires hardware for projects, the UN doles out mining rights eventually, and so on. this is how private space needs to make its money. not through Congress.

Link to post
Share on other sites
DocM

NASA funding is a minority share of SpaceX's funding, and that's strictly on a fee for service basis: NASA wants the low cost ride and pays part of ther development. SpaceX gets to keep the intellectual property rights and gets the monies paid for nonh-NASA uses of the tech.

Also;

SpaceX's Falcon Heavy launch facility at Vandenberg Air Force Base's SLC-4E pad is taking shape.

The below pic shows the concrete foundation pads for the FH's horizontal integration hangar have been laid, so it shouldn't be long before it goes up. This hangar is supposed to be about 120 feet wide by 260 feet long - ~31,200 sq/ft. It has to be that wide because of using 3 side-by-side cores on the first stage. A big mutha.

No shots of the pad itself, but it'll uise the existing Titan IV flame trench.

post-347280-0-58348400-1325633044.jpg

Link to post
Share on other sites
neoadorable

is this going to be enough to fit the actual rockets? it doesn't look that big! but i'm glad the work is proceeding as planned!

Link to post
Share on other sites
DocM

The Falcon Heavy will be about 38 feet wide and about 230 feet high (depending on payload), so it should fit.

A Falcon 9 is 12 feet by 180 feet high (depending on payload), but the next block upgrade will be stretched to have more fuel for the much more powerful Merlin 1D engines - perhaps as long as FH's center core. The 'standard' core length will be used for FH's side boosters and lighter payload launches.

An Atlas V is about 12.5 feet wide and 192 feet high (depending on payuload)

A Delta IV Heavy is about 12 feet wider and about the same height as FH, but it uses liquid hydrogen for fuel which is less powerful than FH's RP-1 fuel (same stuff as Atlas V and Saturn V first stages.) This allows FH to use smaller tanks while still lifting twice as much.

Link to post
Share on other sites
DocM

Waco Tribune article on the SpaceX McGregor, TX test site and its upgrades.

Below are Google Earth shots showing the McGregor test site, the new construction for the underground test facility, and perhaps Grasshopper. Many people think its excessive sounding specs point to something even bigger than a Falcon Heavy - perhaps the massive Falcon X and its Merlin 2 engines.

http://www.wacotrib..../135938808.html

SpaceX: Blasting into the future ? A Waco Today interview with Elon Musk

What does the advancement of technology sound like? If you live anywhere near the SpaceX rocket development test site in McGregor, you know it can be window-rattlingly loud.

SpaceX, short for Space Exploration Technologies, is competing to be the first commercial company to launch U.S. astronauts into space. If all goes as planned, the number and force of rocket engine tests will increase significantly this year. With every test, the company appears closer to one day taking astronauts into space and possibly sending spacecraft to other realms.

>

>

This year, Musk promises exciting new rocket tests at the McGregor plant that will be unlike anything before. Adjacent land that SpaceX secured last spring will be excavated for an in-ground testing facility for its newest rocket, the Falcon Heavy. He says it will be the most powerful rocket in the world.

Testing will begin this spring on the Merlin 1D engine, which will power the Falcon Heavy. (this sentence is incorrect: Merlin 1D has been under test for some time) To fire all 27 engines at the same time, which is required to lift the massive rocket, a test stand will be built deep into the earth.

?We are, in fact, looking at digging a very deep flame trench so that instead of firing Falcon Heavy engines on elevated test stands, they fire into the ground, reducing noise levels,? said Kirstin Brost Grantham, SpaceX spokeswoman.

The new test stand will be connected to the tallest water tower in America. The tower will be 280 feet high and hold 500,000 gallons of water that can be emptied in less than 90 seconds via 6-foot-wide tubes. Rocket engine tests require water to buffer sound; a test of this magnitude will require a lot of water to minimize the noise.

>

post-347280-0-01917100-1325719518_thumb.

post-347280-0-21457600-1325719978_thumb.

post-347280-0-72870200-1325720050.jpg

post-347280-0-32179100-1325720064.jpg

Link to post
Share on other sites
DocM

Dragon C2/C3 with the new trunk & solar panel outriggers

post-347280-0-30494200-1325721294_thumb.

Link to post
Share on other sites
DocM

Agter looking at the lens distortion in the Dragon/Trunk image it started to bug me, so I loaded it into some of my s/w kit and.....

post-347280-0-03072500-1325733339_thumb.

Link to post
Share on other sites
DocM

Jan 7, 2012 update

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

GOING SOLAR

January 7, 2012

For its first mission to the International Space Station, SpaceX?s Dragon spacecraft will use deployable solar arrays as its primary power source for running sensors, driving heating and cooling systems, and communicating with SpaceX?s Mission Control Center and the Space Station. Dragon?s solar arrays generate up to 5,000 watts of power ? enough to power over 80 standard light bulbs. The solar arrays, shielded by protective covers during launch, deploy just minutes after Dragon separates from the Falcon 9 second stage, as it heads towards its rendezvous with the Space Station.

While many commercial satellites and NASA missions such as the Hubble Space Telescope use solar arrays, Dragon will be the first American commercial transport vehicle to do so.

Past American spacecraft like Mercury, Gemini, Apollo and Shuttle used fuel cells or battery packs. Fuel cells are limited by the amount of chemical reactants (typically oxygen and hydrogen) that the vehicle can carry. Batteries alone are limiting due to their mass and the amount of power they can carry.

Solar energy provides a key benefit ? long-term power. Combining Dragon?s solar arrays with a compact and efficient battery pack provides a reliable and renewable source of power. When in the sun, Dragon?s solar arrays recharge the battery pack, and the charged batteries provide power while Dragon passes through the Earth?s shadow. With solar panels, Dragon will have the power it needs for longer trips, whether to the Space Station or future missions to Mars.

Dragon?s deployable solar arrays were developed from scratch by a small team of SpaceX engineers. To ensure they will survive the harsh environment of space, our engineers put the solar arrays through hundreds of hours of rigorous testing including thermal, vacuum, vibration, structural and electrical testing.

SpaceX conducts most of these tests in-house. The video below shows an array full deployment test using testing equipment developed by SpaceX as part of a NASA Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) milestone.

After testing was complete, the solar arrays headed to SpaceX?s Cape Canaveral launch site for final integration. The solar arrays and fairing covers that protect the folded arrays during launch have since been installed on the Dragon spacecraft in preparation for their first flight to the International Space Station.

Stay tuned for additional updates as we continue preparations for our first flight to the Space Station!

Solar array deployment test

post-347280-0-56916400-1325986966.jpg

post-347280-0-36076000-1325986974.jpg

post-347280-0-39059800-1325986981.jpg

post-347280-0-55453400-1325986989_thumb.

Link to post
Share on other sites
DocM

Just a thought I forgot to put in the above post: a comparison of the various spacecraft's power systems -

Dragon: 5,000 watts

NASA Orion MPCV: 6,000 watts (high cost/low flight rate)

Shenzhou: 1,500 watts

Soyuz: 1,300 watts

Blue Origin SV: battery (? upgradeable)

Boeing CST-100: battery (upgradeable)

SNC Dream Chaser: battery (upgradeable)

Link to post
Share on other sites

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.