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Old 12-09-2011, 09:31 PM   #106
anemazoso
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Also, the Soyuz failure in August pushed everything back a couple months as well because their where some pieces to the puzzle waiting on a return to flight of the Soyuz.

If your talking about the big picture delays, such as the initial predictions of 2008-2009 as the original Dragon/F9 operational period then that is different. But I will take a little late at a fraction of the cost vs. a lot late at 10x the cost if it was a typical (dinosaur style) NASA program.

Here's to getting out of the stone age!
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Old 12-10-2011, 07:27 AM   #107
Unstung
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By the way, February 7 is a Tuesday.
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Old 12-10-2011, 01:22 PM   #108
RisingFury
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Orbinaut Pete View Post
 NASA isn't "pushing SpaceX back" - on the contrary, NASA want SpaceX to get flying ASAP - ISS depends on them. But it has to be done safely, being a new vehicle and all. Dragon isn't being asked to do anything that HTV and ATV weren't asked to do.
That's exactly it. SpaceX has a history of going at it Russian style... (no offense there, guys )
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Old 12-11-2011, 12:50 AM   #109
RGClark
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Nice article here about Elon Musk and his dedication on getting
the Falcon 9 to be a fully reusable, though not single stage, system:

1 visionary + 3 launchers + 1,500 employees = ?
Is SpaceX changing the rocket equation?
By Andrew Chaikin
Quote:
He says he is committed to turning Falcon 9 into “the first fully and rapidly reusable rocket” because, he says, that accomplishment is key to making spaceflight affordable and routine. To cut the cost of getting to orbit to just $100 per pound, Musk says, “you need to be able to launch multiple times a day, just like an airplane. And it’s got to be complete, so you can’t be throwing away a million dollars of expendable hardware every flight either.” Musk has targeted reusability from the start. Merlin engines, for example, are designed to fly tens of missions—provided you can get them back. An animation on SpaceX’s Web site shows how that might happen: Cast-off Falcon 9 stages reenter the atmosphere at between 17 and 25 times the speed of sound, then use their own guidance systems and engines to fly back to the launch site, where they land upright on deployable legs. A test program called Grasshopper is already in the works at SpaceX’s Texas facility. No one can predict how many years it might take to achieve full and rapid reusability, but Musk says, “it’s absolutely crucial. It’s fundamental. I would consider SpaceX to have failed if we do not succeed in that.”
The insistence on reusability “drives the engineers insane,” says Vozoff. “We could’ve had Falcon 1 in orbit two years earlier than we did if Elon had just given up on first stage reusability. The qualification for the Merlin engine was far outside of what was necessary, unless you plan to recover it and reuse it. And so the engineers are frustrated because this isn’t the quickest means to the end. But Elon has this bigger picture in mind. And he forces them to do what’s hard. And I admire that about him.”
http://www.airspacemag.com/space-exp...tml?c=y&page=1


Bob Clark

Last edited by RGClark; 12-11-2011 at 04:14 PM. Reason: clarity
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Old 12-11-2011, 03:07 AM   #110
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RGClark View Post
 Nice article here about Elon Musk and his dedication on getting
the Falcon 9 to be a fully reusable, if not single stage, system:
So while NASA can't make an SSTO, Mr. Musk will be making Deltagliders(minus the wings)?

I'm looking forward to see SpaceX baces popping up around the planet.

I will be glued to NASA TV during the COTS 2 mission. GO SpaceX!
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Old 12-11-2011, 11:34 AM   #111
T.Neo
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Quote:
Nice article here about Elon Musk and his dedication on getting
the Falcon 9 to be a fully reusable, if not single stage, system:
Where in that article does it say anything about an SSTO? I cannot see anything about an SSTO, anywhere.

The only way Falcon 9 could be an SSTO is if you took the first stage and somehow married to it outsourced engines it wasn't designed for. And then not only would it no longer be a Falcon 9, but it would hardly be better than Falcon 1 in terms of lift capacity, and break a whole lot of SpaceX design traits.

Just look at how few orders there are for Falcon 1/1e; the market for it really is tiny. Do you really think SpaceX would spend money on a whole new vehicle with similar payload capability, that was also larger and more technologically intensive?

SpaceX has chosen Falcon 9, and presumably for good reason (and even without knowledge of SpaceX's secret details, it is evident). And they will keep working with Falcon 9. In the coming years, they are going to try techniques for stage reusability as well.

An SSTO vehicle with F9 payload capacity would be even more of a new development project. If all works out well, F9 will eventually be fully or at least partially reusable... SSTO is just an unecessary distraction and waste of money.

Last edited by T.Neo; 12-11-2011 at 02:57 PM.
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Old 12-11-2011, 04:08 PM   #112
RGClark
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Quote:
Originally Posted by T.Neo View Post
 Where in that article does it say anything about an SSTO? I cannot see anything about an SSTO, anywhere.
Yes, I included the phrase "if not single stage" to indicate he was not planning SSTO. I rephrased that in the edited post to make it more clear.
The reason why I'm arguing in favor of SSTO is that it would make possible a "gas and go" operation, which would mean spaceflight would be open to private citizens.

Bob Clark

Last edited by RGClark; 12-11-2011 at 04:16 PM.
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Old 12-11-2011, 05:05 PM   #113
T.Neo
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Quote:
I included the phrase "if not single stage" to indicate he was not planning SSTO.
Silly me, then.

Quote:
The reason why I'm arguing in favor of SSTO is that it would make possible a "gas and go" operation, which would mean spaceflight would be open to private citizens.
There are other issues than making things a "gas and go" operation, it depends on how much 'gas' and how much 'go'. Integration costs for the vehicle are pretty low relative to everything else, it isn't a major concern.

Private citizens don't need to operate spacecraft, they can't operate airliners either (unless they're John Travolta).
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Old 12-11-2011, 05:12 PM   #114
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Quote:
Originally Posted by T.Neo View Post
 Private citizens don't need to operate spacecraft, they can't operate airliners either (unless they're John Travolta).
Or Bruce Willis... SSTO is still several years off at least. Im more concerned about our inability to get into space. Relying on the Russians, is not what NASA is for.
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Old 12-11-2011, 05:52 PM   #115
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The only reason SSTO was even considered is because people thought it would make for a more completely and rapidly reusable launcher. If SpaceX can pull that off with two stages (or 2.75 stages, with Falcon Heavy), SSTO is unnecessary.
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Old 12-11-2011, 06:06 PM   #116
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Just to remind you: This isn't a discussion about SSTO, or SpaceX future plans, and speculations about NASA's future, or such, but just updates of the COTS2/3 demo flight, which isn't SSTO, nor doesn't use Falcon Heavy rocket.
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Old 12-12-2011, 03:05 AM   #117
Kyle
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FWIW, February 7th launch date would be from 7-9 pm, I pegged it at 7:40ish, could be wrong though.

Meaning that it will be the first ever SpaceX night launch of any rocket.
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Old 12-15-2011, 08:51 PM   #118
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I'm subscribbed to the SpaceX email news, and here's the latest:

Quote:
NASA ANNOUNCES: DRAGON TO THE SPACE STATION

December 8 2011, marked the one year anniversary of Dragon’s first Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) demonstration flight. The flight made history as SpaceX became the only commercial company to successfully return a spacecraft from orbit. This feat had previously been accomplished only by five nations and the European Space Agency.

We are now preparing the Dragon spacecraft for yet another historic flight – becoming the first commercial vehicle in history to visit the International Space Station (ISS)!

NASA recently announced February 7, 2012, as our new target launch date for the upcoming mission. In addition, NASA officially confirmed that SpaceX will be allowed to complete the objectives of COTS 2 and COTS 3 in a single mission.

This means Dragon will perform all of the COTS 2 mission objectives which include numerous operations in the vicinity of the ISS, and will then perform the COTS 3 objectives. These include approach, berthing with the ISS, astronauts opening Dragon and unloading cargo, and finally, astronauts closing the spacecraft and sending it back to Earth for recovery from the Pacific Ocean off the coast of California.

This mission marks a major milestone in American spaceflight. While our first missions to the ISS will be to transport cargo, both Falcon 9 and Dragon were designed to ultimately transport astronauts. Every trip we make to the ISS from this point forward gets us closer to that goal. SpaceX is incredibly excited for what the future holds and as always, we greatly appreciate NASA’s continued support and partnership in this process.



THE COTS 2/3 DEMONSTRATION MISSION

Just as Dragon’s first mission to orbit and back involved a level of effort equal to launching the first Falcon 9, preparing Dragon for two weeks of operation in space and for approach and berthing with the ISS poses new challenges. Meeting them requires a large amount of detailed planning and careful execution.

Each launch day will have just one narrow liftoff window—no more than a few minutes—in order to synchronize Dragon’s flight with the orbit of the ISS. Catching up to the ISS will take from one to three days. Once there, Dragon will begin the COTS 2 demonstrations to show proper performance and control in the vicinity of the ISS, while remaining outside the Station’s safe zone.



COTS 2 objectives include Dragon demonstrating safe operations in the vicinity of the ISS. Actual zone of operations is greater than shown in the illustration above. Illustration: NASA / SpaceX.

During the entire time Dragon is in the vicinity of the ISS, Station astronauts will be in direct communication with Dragon and will be able to monitor the spacecraft as well as issue spacecraft commands.

After successfully completing the COTS 2 requirements, Dragon will receive approval to begin the COTS 3 activities, gradually approaching the ISS from the radial direction (toward the Earth), while under constant observation.



As part of the COTS 3 objectives Dragon approaches the ISS, so astronauts can reach it with the robotic arm. Illustration: NASA / SpaceX.

Dragon will approach to within a few meters of the ISS, allowing astronauts to reach out and grapple Dragon with the Station’s robotic arm and then maneuver it carefully into place. The entire process will take a few hours.



The astronaut operating the robot arm aboard the ISS will move Dragon into position at the berthing port where it will be locked in place. Illustration: NASA / SpaceX.

Once in place, Station astronauts will equalize the pressure between the ISS and Dragon, open the hatches, enter the vehicle and begin unloading Dragon’s cargo.



In the SpaceX cleanroom the crew prepares the COTS 2/3 Dragon for its visit to the ISS. View looking through the forward hatch from the ISS side of the berthing adapter. Photo: Roger Gilbertson / SpaceX

After Dragon spends about a week berthed at the ISS, astronauts will reverse the process, loading Dragon with cargo for return to Earth, sealing the hatches, and un-berthing Dragon using the robotic arm.

Dragon will then depart from the ISS and return to Earth within a day or so, and the SpaceX recovery crew will meet it at splash down in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of California.



PREPARING FOR LAUNCH AT THE CAPE

As previously reported, both the Falcon 9 launch vehicle and the Dragon spacecraft that will fly in the COTS Demo 2/3 mission have been delivered to our launch complex in Cape Canaveral, Florida. Falcon 9’s first stage, second stage, and interstage were integrated and rolled out for two separate wet dress rehearsals in which SpaceX engineers performed the entire countdown sequence up until the moment the engines would be fired.



The completed Falcon 9 COTS Demo 2/3 vehicle in the SpaceX hangar at Cape Canaveral, Florida. Photo: Mike Sheehan / SpaceX.

The Dragon COTS Demo 2/3 spacecraft and trunk have also been delivered to our launch pad and are undergoing final processing for flight.



The COTS Demo 2/3 Dragon spacecraft at Cape Canaveral. Photo: SpaceX



BUILD AND FLY YOUR OWN FALCON 9 AND DRAGON MODEL ROCKET

You can now build and fly your very own 1:88 scale model of SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket with the Dragon spacecraft.



The flight test prototype. The production model will have transparent fins that can be removed for display. Photo: SpaceX

The Falcon 9/Dragon model kit includes a molded nose and tail, along with full color stickers for the body and nose (no painting required). The finished model stands 58 cm (22.8 in) tall. It has molded transparent fins for flight, which can be removed for display. Dual parachutes return the Falcon 9 and Dragon spacecraft separately to Earth.

The model kits are in production and will be made available over Amazon.com in the coming weeks. To reserve one, visit http://www.amazon.com/dp/B006GX14R8 and add the Falcon 9 and Dragon model to your personal Wish List. You will receive an email as soon as the kits reach the warehouse shelves and are ready to ship.

Thanks to all for your support and stay tuned for more updates on Dragon’s first visit to the ISS!

Last edited by RisingFury; 12-15-2011 at 11:53 PM.
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Old 12-15-2011, 10:12 PM   #119
T.Neo
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Ok, SpaceX has totally surpassed all other rocket launching organisations/companies in terms of public relations...
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Old 12-16-2011, 01:50 AM   #120
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^Agreed, I get this in my E-Mail as well, I went ahead and added the model to my wish list, even though it's 1/88 it will make a nice addition to my 1\144 collection. 1\88 is very close to HO model railroad scale 1\86, so I will deffinatly put one on a custom scratchbuilt flat car for our mall layout. I have several scales including Z scale as I've been into model rocketry and model railroading since Jr High.
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