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Old 08-16-2011, 09:21 AM   #31
garyw
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Default SpaceX given a date for ISS docking - Nov 30th

Fantastic news from SpaceX and a huge step up for SpaceX to be allowed (and trusted) to combine two demo flights into one. This also steps up the Dragon docking date from early 2012 to late this year.

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Over the last several months, SpaceX has been hard at work preparing for our next flight — a mission designed to demonstrate that a privately-developed space transportation system can deliver cargo to and from the International Space Station (ISS). NASA has given us a Nov. 30, 2011 launch date, which should be followed nine days later by Dragon berthing at the ISS.

NASA has agreed in principle to allow SpaceX to combine all of the tests and demonstration activities that we originally proposed as two separate missions (COTS Demo 2 and COTS Demo 3) into a single mission. Furthermore, SpaceX plans to carry additional payloads aboard the Falcon 9’s second stage which will deploy after Dragon separates and is well on its way to the ISS. NASA will grant formal approval for the combined COTS missions pending resolution of any potential risks associated with these secondary payloads. Our team continues to work closely with NASA to resolve all questions and concerns.

This next mission represents a huge milestone not only for SpaceX, but also for NASA and the US space program. When the astronauts stationed on the ISS open the hatch and enter the Dragon spacecraft for the first time, it will mark the beginning of a new era in space travel.

Through continued private-public partnerships like the one that helped develop the Falcon 9 and Dragon system, commercial companies will transform the way we access space. Together, government and the private sector can simultaneously increase the reliability, safety and frequency of space travel, while greatly reducing the costs.

The update below highlights our recent progress towards the combined C2/C3 mission and missions beyond. From the 1,500 team members here at SpaceX, thank you for your continued support, and for joining us in this exciting, vital adventure.
Source and pictures: http://www.spacex.com/updates.php (scroll to August 15th, 2011)
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Old 08-16-2011, 12:42 PM   #32
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This is the actual Dragon which will launch on November 30th - I can't wait to finally see this at the ISS.

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Old 08-16-2011, 10:41 PM   #33
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NASASpaceflight: ISS managers evaluating SpaceX via safety reviews ahead of debut arrival

Spaceflight Now: SpaceX fuels Falcon 9 rocket; Dragon to arrive next month
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Old 08-17-2011, 01:44 AM   #34
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The Additional satellites to be launched is worrying NASA, but cots 2 was to approach the station anyway. So why did this not get brought up sooner, or was it noted and I just miss it?
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Old 08-17-2011, 07:22 AM   #35
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This demo flight business puzzles me. I don't understand why they didn't just plan on two demo flights in the first place. What rationale could there be for needing to do a separate flyby orbit before proceeding with an actual docking? Was someone afraid that Dragon would come roaring in too fast and crash into the ISS or something?
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Old 08-17-2011, 07:42 AM   #36
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Originally Posted by elephantium View Post
 This demo flight business puzzles me. I don't understand why they didn't just plan on two demo flights in the first place. What rationale could there be for needing to do a separate flyby orbit before proceeding with an actual docking? Was someone afraid that Dragon would come roaring in too fast and crash into the ISS or something?
That's exactly what they're worried about. After all it happened on Mir, and that was with an already proven spacecraft. Collisions in space are extremely dangerous and nobody wants to take any chances.

That said, I think the main reason why they planned for three flights was so that there would be room in the schedule if everything didn't go perfectly on the first two. i.e. "Hope for the best and plan for the worst." They're still going to do all the safety checks and practice runs that were originally planed for the two separate flights, but after the success of the first test (among other factors, probably), they're now confident enough that the safety checks will go smoothly that they can plan to go ahead and dock without having to stop and analyze what when wrong first.
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Old 08-17-2011, 12:54 PM   #37
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Originally Posted by silent_protagonist View Post
 That's exactly what they're worried about. After all it happened on Mir, and that was with an already proven spacecraft. Collisions in space are extremely dangerous and nobody wants to take any chances.
A proven spacecraft trying to do a new docking manoeuvre by an over tired crew.

ATV & HTV didn't need two flights to prove they could do so I suspect SpaceX decided to do the same. As long as they can demonstrate the abort criteria is all working and that the approach speeds are nice and slow I don't see any reason why the flights shouldn't be merged into one.
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Old 08-17-2011, 01:38 PM   #38
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Ah, that makes more sense, though I suspect there's a touch of politics involved, too -- SpaceX is the outsider in this game, so it has less trust from NASA personnel than other organizations.

For now, anyway. If you believe Musk's enthusiasm, that will all change within the next five years as SpaceX blows away all its competitors with such lowered costs that your head will spin
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Old 08-17-2011, 05:29 PM   #39
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Hell yes, great news for SpaceX. A spacecraft ready to fly, dock, and deliver cargo ahead of schedule! When has NASA ever done that?
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Old 09-16-2011, 03:59 PM   #40
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RIA Novosti: Private U.S. capsule not to dock with ISS:
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MISSION CONTROL (Moscow region), September 16 (RIA Novosti)

The U.S. private space capsule Dragon will conduct a flight near the International Space Station (ISS), but docking between them is not planned, Vladimir Solovyov, head of the Russian segment of the ISS mission control center said on Friday.

{...}
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Old 09-16-2011, 04:20 PM   #41
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What now? Dragon won't dock, it will dock, it won't dock, what?

Didn't NASA ok the docking to the station? Is Russia really that eager to flex their muscles in regard to the ISS? What do NASA and SpaceX say on this issue?

Or do we have to formulate conspiracy theories based on NASA's politics now...
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Old 09-16-2011, 04:24 PM   #42
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Originally Posted by T.Neo View Post
 What now? Dragon won't dock, it will dock, it won't dock, what?
At the end of the RIA Novosti article:
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Earlier Russia said it will not allow the SpaceX vehicle to dock with the ISS unless its safety is fully tested.

"We will not issue docking permission unless the necessary level of reliability and safety is proven," said Alexei Krasov, head of the human spaceflight department of Roscosmos. "So far we have no proof that this spacecraft duly comply with the accepted norms of spaceflight safety."
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Old 09-16-2011, 04:31 PM   #43
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Who's rules of spacecraft safety? It wouldn't be allowed to fly and dock if NASA/the FAA didn't see it as compliant to safety rules. If Russia doesn't trust the American regulations it would be pretty annoying, as (as far as I understand) the US has to do essentially the same thing in regard to the safety of Soyuz.

The ATV and HTV spacecraft docked on the first go. Where was the non-docking rendezvous test for those vehicles?

Smells fishy to me, especially considering that these comments are made by Russia: Major Provider of Launch Services to the ISS.
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Old 09-16-2011, 04:34 PM   #44
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It isn't definite yet that Dragon will not dock. With the current change of COTS 2/3 demo to January/February everything can change and Dragon will be again safe for docking.
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Old 09-16-2011, 05:52 PM   #45
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Quote:
Originally Posted by orb View Post
According to NASA, this article is incorrect

Quote:
Originally Posted by @NASA
 Sorry, despite @ria_novosti reports, a decision has yet to be made regarding the upcoming @SpaceXer test flight ISS. Incorrect article.
@NASA tweet

Last edited by DaveS; 09-16-2011 at 05:58 PM.
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