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Science and Technology "Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known." - Carl Sagan.

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Old September 29 2013, 10:02 PM   #1
YellowSubmarine
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29 September 2013, great day for private spaceflight

So, today:
1. Orbital Sciences became the second private company to dock their spacecraft with the ISS.
2. SpaceX:
- Successfully launched their first Falcon 9 for a private customer
- Inaugurated the new Falcon 9 with the sexy engine arrangement (you can't tell I am a fan)
- Tested refiring the engines after stage separation for rocket re-entry, moving further towards reusable rockets after the recent Grasshopper tests (no, they didn't recover the rocket, sadly)
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Old October 2 2013, 05:36 PM   #2
sojourner
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Re: 29 September 2013, great day for private spaceflight

They did recover parts and video footage from the first stage. It came tantalizingly close to success in it's attempt at water landing.

And yeah, all on my birthday. hehe.
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Old December 4 2013, 12:28 AM   #3
YellowSubmarine
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Re: 29 September 2013, great day for private spaceflight

And Falcon 9 reached GEO.

Another commercial milestone, plus seven successful launches to support the reliability of the vehicle. Sounds good. I was thinking it was going to explode this time.
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Old December 4 2013, 12:37 AM   #4
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Re: 29 September 2013, great day for private spaceflight

Considering all the changes made to the rocket, most consider this the second successful flight of this version. But yeah, third time seemed to be the charm today. Was a great flight and appeared to work perfectly.
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Old December 4 2013, 01:42 PM   #5
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Re: 29 September 2013, great day for private spaceflight

Even better. Seven successful launches by switching the vehicle right in the middle is an even better proof of the reliability if not of the vehicle itself, of the company. If they keep such a clean record until their first manned flights, I don't think anyone will have a problem flying with them.

And with the escape system requirements NASA asks for CCdev, not to mention SpaceX free interpretation of it, the future of manned spaceflight sounds safer than ever. Hopefully it is as it sounds.
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Old December 4 2013, 06:28 PM   #6
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Re: 29 September 2013, great day for private spaceflight

Yeah, it's mainly for statistical purposes that it's only counted as the second launch. They basically "reset the clock" with such a major redesign. Definitely worth it in my opinion. Can't wait for the next CRS mission when they try to return the first stage to the launch site (pending NASA and FAA approval)
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Old December 5 2013, 08:03 PM   #7
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Re: 29 September 2013, great day for private spaceflight

As first stage controlled re-entry and landing starts to work, I think the FAA will realize that having a stage come down following a controlled path is a whole lot safer than uncontrolled re-entry, which by any other standards would be called a crash.
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Old December 6 2013, 07:40 PM   #8
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Re: 29 September 2013, great day for private spaceflight

sojourner wrote: View Post
Yeah, it's mainly for statistical purposes that it's only counted as the second launch. They basically "reset the clock" with such a major redesign. Definitely worth it in my opinion. Can't wait for the next CRS mission when they try to return the first stage to the launch site (pending NASA and FAA approval)
They are actually going to try to get approved to land in Cape Canaveral? Sounds like a very dangerous idea. It can cause a lot of damage if they hit the complex, but not the landing site, and who knows what damage if they miss the complex altogether.

That gets me quite excited - it means they have everything except for the landing gear figured out, and the landing gear should not be that big of a deal. Even with the Grasshopper demonstrations I wasn't as optimistic to suspect that they are this close enough to pulling it off (close enough to risk landing in Florida). So we are NASA/FAA approval short of seeing history being made?

Well, I guess the hovering over water was enough of a demonstration to make me figure that out. They can't try this again for their GTO missions, can they?

gturner wrote: View Post
As first stage controlled re-entry and landing starts to work, I think the FAA will realize that having a stage come down following a controlled path is a whole lot safer than uncontrolled re-entry, which by any other standards would be called a crash.
But it is over water, hence the crash can kill less people. Plus, they don't need to crash it controllably over water (which SpaceX have done), it's going close to land that needs an approval, if I understand correctly.
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Old December 7 2013, 12:05 AM   #9
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Re: 29 September 2013, great day for private spaceflight

Uneasy lies the head of ULA execs...

He was able to do that because he could afford to operate at a loss early on--what with the Paypal fortune.


There was a man who came before him named Beal, with a powerful but simple pressure-fed concept. When Musk was forced off the coast due to "range safety" I thought he might fold up.


Boeing and Lockheed-Martin both have their own Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicles (Delta IV and Atlas V respectively), and before they cut their losses and became one big happy fleet under ULA, LockMart was suing Boeing over EELV data theft:

http://www.globalsecurity.org/space/...30610-lmco.htm


The complaint alleges that Boeing and the individual defendants, together with other Boeing employees, actively participated in the misappropriation of Lockheed Martin's proprietary information and then "covered up" their activity by misrepresenting to both Lockheed Martin and the Air Force...


This isn't the first time Boeing employees played dirty pool: http://nlpc.org/stories/2010/03/10/n...boeing-scandal


The central figure in the scandal was Darleen Druyun, the former Air Force official who negotiated the deal with Boeing and soon after took a job with Boeing.




Musk fought back...
http://articles.washingtonpost.com/2...atellites-eelv
http://nasawatch.com/archives/2005/1...v-venture.html


This quote is very telling:
“'I am a little disappointed' with the Air Force, Musk said. 'It is now practically the sole holdout of all the world’s agencies, the sole entity' that has not purchased a Falcon 9 rocket."

http://www.spacenews.com/article/aft...ty-taking-eelv


There is a group called The Aerospace Corporation--they called for EELVs, and have a history of talking out of both sides of their mouths. They didn't like the idea of NASA building its own rockets--wanting the commercial world (meaning them) to step up. But when a real commercial rocket came to the for--the release some white paper or other questioning whether we needed in house capability after all:



They got caught:
http://www.commercialspaceflight.org...-crew-program/
http://nationalspacestudiescenter.wo...mercial-space/


A number of years ago, Aerospace wanted to go public, a move that would have created a windfall for some individuals within the company. The USAF blocked the move and that’s where it stands today, as a federally funded effort.


There is a bit of a thaw:
http://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2011/...rce-agreement/
http://www.defensenews.com/article/2...-EELV-Missions


The EELV lobby has teeth, still. The whole concept of pushing Rube Goldberg Depots over heavy lift--even when one of ULA's own men wrote that the cost savings just aren't there ( http://www.thespacereview.com/article/1447/1 ) is proof enough of that.


The damage was done, and the myths still circulate.


Musk still needs to watch his back.


For now, both SLS and Space X are winning. Musk looks to inherit LEO and GEO, and NASA/SLS BEO, with ULA eating dust.


Even Boeing, having learned their lesson, is warming to heavy lift now that EELVs may be on the way out.
http://newpapyrusmagazine.blogspot.c...d-be-dc-3.html

Bigelow's largest module can now be lofted, with Boeing's new upper stage:
http://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2013/...e-upper-stage/


But for most comsat missions, Musk's rocket is perfect.

Last edited by publiusr; December 7 2013 at 07:32 PM.
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Old December 7 2013, 08:48 AM   #10
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Re: 29 September 2013, great day for private spaceflight

It's rather bizarre, a man with no experience and money beat the guys with all the experience and the money in the area, and is now running circles around their headquarters. The universe needs to hire new screenwriters, because the plot is getting totally inplausible now.
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