Falcon 9 / Dragon

Discussion in 'Science' started by MoorKhan, Dec 8, 2010.

  1. MoorKhan

    MoorKhan Member

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    The Ares 1-X launch got a fair bit of attention here last year, but I haven't seen anything about the Falcon 9 / Dragon Launch scheduled for this week.

    In my opinion this is heaps more interesting than Ares 1-X was:
    - Its using lox/kero engines rather than a repurposed shuttle solid rocket booster.
    - Its launching a full fledged capsule all the way to LEO.
    - Its tech with a future not as tightly bound to the whims of the US gov.
    - The vented fuel from the last Falcon 9 launch created an interesting lightshow for large areas of eastern Aus :)

    The initial launch was planned for Tuesday, but has been delayed due to some cracks spotted in the second stage neobium alloy nozzle. It will likely still be launched this week though, because they have enough performance margin that they can trim the bottom off the nozzle and still fly. They can reportedly replace it entirely by the end of the week if need be and still launch on Saturday.

    If this test is successful there will be one more test flight next year and then the dragon will start running supply missions to the ISS.

    There should be launch streams up on the spacex website and probably on a bunch of other sites like spacevidcast.
     
  2. itsmydamnation

    itsmydamnation Member

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    i have no idea about this rocket but do you mean GEO not LEO? LEO is like 2000km away vs like 60000km fro GEO, its just the way you said all the way to LEO.

    cheers
     
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2010
  3. MoorKhan

    MoorKhan Member

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    I meant LEO, the reason I said all the way to LEO was because Ares 1-X wasn't designed to get that far, so the fact this test flight should be reaching low earth orbit is significant.

    If successful this launch will be the first time a commercial group has ever sent and retrieved a vehicle from LEO, which is a pretty cool achievement by itself.
     
  4. Tabris

    Tabris Member

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    Test will also be going ahead despite some cracking found in the 2nd stage engine bell. Static test firing the other day was also cut short due to over-pressure.

    This is take two for Falcon-9, 1st one went very well and I see no real reason this wont chalk up some more gold stars for SpaceX
     
  5. Tabris

    Tabris Member

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    T-minus 2 hours, 3 minutes and counting. Countdown clocks are ticking down to a scheduled launch time of 1403 GMT this morning.
     
  6. Whisper

    Whisper Member

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    Bugger

    New Lift off time, at 43 minutes past this hour
     
  7. MoorKhan

    MoorKhan Member

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    Baked the tower a little on takeoff, but pretty smooth so far... just waiting on re-entry now :D
     
  8. Tabris

    Tabris Member

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    Despite Elon Musk admitting he thought they only had about a 60% chance of everything going to plan, at this stage it looks as if that has been what has occured.

    Nothing immediately anomalous about the launch, nor the Dragon capsule operations, nor re-entry. Awesome work all round by SpaceX

    The first successful re-entry of a vehicle by a commercial entity! Space flight advances onwards!

    And they say rocket science is hard :p

    (yes yes I know, it was said partly in jest)
     
  9. Tabris

    Tabris Member

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    Video of the launch

    It did cook off on the hardback tower a bit didn't it. Probably toasted some hoses in an O2 rich environment. Looks like they'll have to sort out a purge system
     
  10. RnR

    RnR Member

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    Space is hard :(

     
  11. power

    power Member

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  12. MUTMAN

    MUTMAN Member

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    WOW. that didnt take long to go boomboom at all :(
     
  13. Phido

    Phido Member

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    Space is hard. Rocket science is hard.

    Still interesting, didn't explode like I would think, just sort of looks like a nice white fluffly snowball disintegration.

    However, failures are part of a rocket program. They will occur.
     
  14. RnR

    RnR Member

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    18 commercial launches. 1 failure. 0 deaths.

    Still I feel for the engineers when I see so many hours go up in smoke...

    http://archive.wired.com/science/space/news/2008/08/musk_qa

    :thumbup: :thumbup: :thumbup: :thumbup: :thumbup: :thumbup: :thumbup:
     
  15. RnR

    RnR Member

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    A prelaunch comment on Hackers News;

    https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=9793361
     
  16. Phido

    Phido Member

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    Must be heart breaking to see something you create explode.

    But conversely must be pretty dam exciting when your rocket works and goes into space. Spacex = successful overall

    Amazing job to be an engineer on a successful rocket program
    Sucky job to be an engineer on an unsuccessful rocket program with loads of failures.

    At least Elon seems committed to it. You wouldn't want someone half hearted owning a rocket business. Which is why commercial space launches haven't really existed. You need to have balls of steel to be in that business.
     
  17. power

    power Member

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    They'd want to be it's not like they don't have Billions in contracts.

    At least they can say this launch didn't fail to land on the barge this time. :thumbup:
     
  18. RobRoySyd

    RobRoySyd Member

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    To be fair some of the last one did land on the barge. I thought it was a pretty decent effort for a first go rather than a failure.
     
  19. MoorKhan

    MoorKhan Member

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    I think that's partly because of the altitude and probably partly because the flight termination system went off (at least partially anyway).

    There's been a few interesting things happen since the failure:

    • SpaceX investigated and determined the likely cause was a failed strut holding a helium bottle inside the upper stage. The strut failed at ~1/5th of its rated strength. The struts are widely used, but sourced from outside of SpaceX.
    • They were able to narrow down the location of the failure by acoustic triangulation using onboard accelerometers. Fairly crazy that they are sensitive enough to pick up the strut snapping elsewhere in the stage, especially in that environment.
    • SpaceX are replacing that type of strut throughout the F9, as a result they are not expected to fly again until late October at the earliest.
    • SpaceX indicated they should still fill all scheduled flights on their manifest for this year (don't know what they are though). So there may be a few flights fairly close together at the end of the year. Falcon Heavy pushed back until ~April 2016 :(
    • A bunch of US senators (who may be connected with SpaceX's competitors) have questioned why SpaceX is allowed to conduct its own investigation without NASA performing an independent one.
     
  20. Sphinx2000

    Sphinx2000 Member

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