Tag: Falcon 9

Falcon 9 Launch Reset for Friday

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SpaceX CRS 3 Mission Update

NASA and SpaceX have confirmed Friday, April 18 for the next launch attempt for the Falcon 9 rocket to send the Dragon spacecraft on the company’s third commercial resupply mission and fourth visit to the space station. Launch is targeted for 3:25 p.m. ET. The launch will be webcast live at www.spacex.com/webcast beginning at 2:45 p.m. ET.

A launch on Friday results in a rendezvous with the space station on Sunday, April 20 and a grapple at 7:14 a.m ET.

During Monday’s launch attempt, pre-flight checks detected that a helium valve in the stage separation pneumatic system was not holding the right pressure. This meant that the stage separation pistons would be reliant on a backup check valve.

No issue was detected with the backup valve and a flight would likely have been successful, but SpaceX policy is not to launch with any known anomalies. We have brought the vehicle back to horizontal and are replacing the faulty valve, as well as inspecting the whole system for anything that may have contributed to the valve not working as designed.

NASA Signs Agreement with SpaceX for Use of Historic Launch Pad

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Discovery on Pad 39A. (Credit: NASA)

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. (NASA PR) — NASA Kennedy Space Center’s historic Launch Complex 39A, the site from which numerous Apollo and space shuttle missions began, is beginning a new mission as a commercial launch site.

NASA signed a property agreement with Space Exploration Technologies Corporation (SpaceX) of Hawthorne, Calif., on Monday for use and occupancy of the seaside complex along Florida’s central east coast. It will serve as a platform for SpaceX to support their commercial launch activities.

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SpaceX Signs 20-Year Lease for Pad 39A

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Launch Pad 39A with the space shuttle Endeavour. (Credit: NASA)

Launch Pad 39A with the space shuttle Endeavour. (Credit: NASA)

SpaceX has signed a 20-year lease on Pad 39A, the former shuttle launch facility the company plans to use for its Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy boosters.

“I promise everybody, we’re going to make great use of this pad,” said Gwynne Shotwell, SpaceX president and chief operating officer.

NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden and KSC Director Bob Cabana joined Shotwell at the pad to announce the agreement moments after they signed it, beginning the pad’s “new mission as a commercial launch site,” Bolden said.

SpaceX hopes to launch its first heavy-lift Falcon rocket from KSC in the first quarter of next year, a mission previously expected to launch from California.

And if later this year SpaceX wins a NASA contract to launch astronauts to the International Space Station, those missions also would depart from KSC by 2017….

Shotwell said SpaceX would install new instrumentation and some new plumbing at 39A.

More details are to come, but the overhaul likely won’t be as significant as at pad 39B, where NASA dismantled the fixed and rotating shuttle service towers.

Read more here.

SpaceX Scrubs Falcon 9 Launch

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Falcon 9 with landing legs attached. (Credit: SpaceX)

Falcon 9 with landing legs attached. (Credit: SpaceX)

UPDATE:  NASA’s statement on the scrub: “SpaceX’s launch to the International Space Station was scrubbed today due to a helium leak on the Falcon 9 first stage. The next launch opportunity would be Friday, April 18 at 3:25 p.m. EDT if the issue can be resolved.”

SpaceX has scrubbed the scheduled launch of ts Falcon 9 rocket due to an unspecified technical issue. The rocket is to send a Dragon freighter to the International Space Station. SpaceX also will attempt to bring the Falcon 9′s first stage to a controlled landing on the ocean.

The next launch window opens on Friday.

SpaceX Dragon Flight to ISS is On for Monday

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SpaceX's Dragon spacecraft. (Credit: NASA)

SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft. (Credit: NASA)

NASA officials said today that SpaceX’s launch of a Dragon freighter to the International Space Station is on for Monday despite the failure of an external computer on the orbiting facility.

The Falcon 9 launch is set for 4:58 p.m. EDT from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Floriday. NASA is planning a spacewalk for later this month to fix the external computer.

During a press conference this afternoon, NASA officials said there is an 80 percent probability of weather being acceptable for the Monday launch. There is only a 40 percent probability of weather being acceptable on Friday, which is the next launch window.

Launch Provider Panel at Space Tech Expo

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Inaugural Vega flight. (Credits: ESA - S. Corvaja, 2012)

Inaugural Vega flight. (Credits: ESA – S. Corvaja, 2012)

At the Space Tech Expo last week in Long Beach, Calif., representatives from Arianespace, Orbital Sciences Corporation, SpaceX and United Launch Alliance (ULA) discussed the fierce competition in the industry and their plans for the future.

PANELISTS

Carissa Christensen
Managing Partner
The Tauri Group
(Moderator)

Gwynne Shotwell
President & Chief Operating Officer
SpaceX

Daniel J Collins
Chief Operating Officer
United Launch Alliance

Clay Mowry
President
Arianespace

Frank Culbertson
Executive Vice President
Orbital Sciences Corporation

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NASA, Partners Provide Updates on Commercial Crew

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commercial_crew_earthDuring last week’s Space Tech Expo in Long Beach, Calif., a panel of NASA and private sector partners gathered to discuss their progress on returning U.S. crew launches to American soil.

Below is a summary of their comments that provides some insights into where each partner is in development and what lies ahead for the rest of the year.

NASA is expected to award the next round of commercial crew contracts later this year.

Continue reading ‘NASA, Partners Provide Updates on Commercial Crew’

Atlas V, Falcon 9 Launches Rescheduled

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The United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket with NASA’s Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN (MAVEN) spacecraft launches from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station Space Launch Complex 41, Monday, Nov. 18, 2013, Cape Canaveral, Florida. NASA’s Mars-bound spacecraft, the Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN, or MAVEN, is the first spacecraft devoted to exploring and understanding the Martian upper atmosphere. (Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls)

The United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket with NASA’s Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN (MAVEN) spacecraft launches from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station Space Launch Complex 41, Monday, Nov. 18, 2013, Cape Canaveral, Florida. NASA’s Mars-bound spacecraft, the Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN, or MAVEN, is the first spacecraft devoted to exploring and understanding the Martian upper atmosphere. (Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls)

The Atlas V and Falcon 9 launches delayed by a problem on the Eastern Range have been rescheduled for April 10 and 14, respectively.

ULA’s Atlas V will launch NROL-67 — a National Reconnaissance Office payload — from Cape Canaveral on Thursday at 1:45 p.m. EDT. The launch window extends to 2:26 p.m. EDT. The company usually streams launched at www.ulalaunch.com.

SpaceX’s Falcon 9 will launch a Dragon freighter to the International Space Station. Liftoff is scheduled for 4:58 p.m. EDT. The company typically streams its launches at www.spacex.com.

The launches were delayed because of a fire that knocked out a crucial radar unit the U.S. Air Force uses to track launches. Florida Today has a story about the problems on the Eastern Range, which include aging technology and budget cutbacks.

Below is a list of upcoming launches worldwide.

Date Launch Vehicle Payload(s) Launch Site Nation
04/09/14 Soyuz Progress 55P Baikonur Russia
04/10/14 Atlas V NROL-67 CCAFS USA
04/14/14 Falcon 9 CRS 3 CCAFS USA
04/16/14 Soyuz EgyptSat 2 Baikonur Russia
04/27/14 Proton Luch 5V & Kazsat 3 Baikonur Russia
04/28/14 Vega DZZ-HR Kourou Europe

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SpaceX Commercial Crew Milestones Status

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SpaceX Dragon abort test article. (Credit: SpaceX)

SpaceX Dragon abort test article. (Credit: SpaceX)

SpaceX CCiCAP Milestone Status
Award Period: August 2012 – August 2014
Milestones: 17
Milestones Completed: 13
Milestones Remaining: 4
Total Possible Award: $460 Million
Total Award to Date: $330 Million
Total Award Remaining: $130 Million

No.
Description Original Date Status Amount
1 CCiCap Kickoff Meeting. SpaceX will hold a kickoff meeting at the SpaceX headquarters in Hawthorne, CA, or a nearby facility to review the current state of existing hardware, processes and designs, describe plans for CCiCap program execution during both the base period and the optional period and lay the groundwork for a successful partnership between NASA and SpaceX. August 2012 Complete $40
Million
2 Financial and Business Review. SpaceX will hold a financial and business review to accomplish verification of financial ability to meet NASA’s stated goals for the CCiCap program by providing NASA insight into SpaceX finances. August 2012
Complete $20 Million
3 Integrated System Requirements Review (ISRR). SpaceX will hold an integrated System Requirements Review (ISRR) to examine the functional and performance requirements defined for the entire CTS for the Commercial Crew Program design reference mission per section 3.1 of CCT-DRM-1110, as well as to evaluate the interpretation and applicability of each requirement. October 2012 Complete $50 Million
4 Ground Systems and Ascent Preliminary Design Review (PDR). SpaceX will hold a Ground Systems and Ascent Preliminary Design Review (PDR) to demonstrate that the overall CTS preliminary design for ground systems and ascent meets all requirements with acceptable risk and within schedule constraints and that it establishes the basis for proceeding with detailed design. December 2012 Complete $35 Million
5 Pad Abort Test Review. SpaceX will hold a Pad Abort Test Review to demonstrate the maturity of the pad abort test article design and test concept of operations. March 2013 Complete $20 Million
6 Human Certification Plan Review. SpaceX will hold a Human Certification Plan Review to present the Human Certification Plan. This Human Certification Plan Review will cover plans for certification of the design of the spacecraft, launch vehicle, and ground and mission operations systems. May 2013 Complete $50 Million
7 On-Orbit and Entry Preliminary Design Review (PDR). SpaceX will hold an On-Orbit and Entry Preliminary Design Review (PDR) to demonstrate that the overall CTS preliminary design for orbit, rendezvous and docking with the ISS, and entry flight regimes meets all requirements with acceptable risk and within schedule constraints and that it establishes the basis for proceeding with detailed design. July 2013 Complete $34 Million
7A Delta Ground Systems Preliminary Design Review (PDR). A PDR of the delta ground systems.
July 2013 Complete $1
Million
8 In-Flight Abort Test Review. SpaceX will hold an In-Flight Abort Test Review to demonstrate the maturity of the in-flight abort test article design and test concept of operations. September 2013 Complete $10 Million
9 Safety Review. SpaceX will hold a Safety Review at the SpaceX headquarters in Hawthorne, CA, or a nearby facility to demonstrate that the CTS design is progressing toward meeting the Commercial Crew Program’s safety goals. October 2013 Complete $50 Million
10 Flight Review of Upgraded Falcon 9. SpaceX will conduct a review of a launch of the upgraded Falcon 9 launch vehicle demonstrating the operation of enhanced first-stage M1D engines, stage separation systems, enhanced second-stage MVacD engine and mission-critical vehicle telemetry during flight. Demonstration of the upgraded launch vehicle will serve as a risk reduction for the planned inflight abort test. November 2013 Compete $0
15A Dragon Parachute Tests Phases I & II. SpaceX will conduct parachute drop tests in order to validate the new parachute design as capable of supporting a pad abort event. Milestone 15A included a crane drop test. November 2013 Complete $15 Million
15B Dragon Parachute Tests Phases I & II. SpaceX will conduct parachute drop tests in order to validate the new parachute design as capable of supporting a pad abort event. Milestone 15B featured a helicopter drop test. November 2013 Complete $5 Million
TOTAL TO DATE
(OUT OF $460 MILLION):
$330 Million
11 Pad Abort Test. SpaceX will conduct a pad abort test of the Dragon spacecraft. The scenario where an abort is initiated while the CTS is still on the pad is a design driver for the launch abort system as it dictates the total impulse and also requires parachute deployment in close proximity to the ground. December 2013 Pending 3Q 2014 $30 Million
12 Dragon Primary Structure Qualification. SpaceX will conduct static structural testing of all Dragon primary structure components to ultimate load factors, as applicable. This series of tests will validate the Dragon structure’s ability to maintain integrity during all driving load cases as well as verify the accuracy of math models used to analyze the Dragon structure. Individual tests will be designed to exercise all credible failure modes and minimum margin areas. January 2014 Pending 2Q 2014 $30 Million
13 Integrated Critical Design Review (CDR). SpaceX will hold an Integrated Critical Design Review (CDR) to demonstrate that the maturity of the CTS design is appropriate to support proceeding with full-scale fabrication, assembly, integration and test. March 2014 Pending 2Q 2014 $40 Million
14 In-Flight Abort Test. SpaceX will conduct an in-flight abort test of the Dragon spacecraft. The in-flight abort test will supplement the pad abort test and complete the corners-of-the-box stress cases. The in-flight abort scenario represents a Dragon abort while under propulsive flight of the launch vehicle during the worst-case dynamic loads on the CTS. April 2014 Pending 3Q 2014 $30 Million
TOTAL: $460 Million

NASA Commercial Crew Partners Complete Space System Milestones

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WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — NASA’s commercial space partners continue to meet milestones under agreements with the agency’s Commercial Crew Program (CCP), as they move forward in their development of spacecraft and rockets that will transport humans to destinations in low-Earth orbit.

The achievements in February are the latest development in a cycle that is seeing all four industry partners meet their milestones in their Commercial Crew Integrated Capability and Commercial Crew Development Round 2 agreements with the agency.

Blue Origin, The Boeing Company, Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) and Space Exploration Technology (SpaceX) are developing unique transportation systems and face challenging evaluations and tests in 2014. CCP’s engineering team is working closely with its partners as they develop the next generation of crewed spacecraft. Ultimately, NASA intends to certify and use commercial systems to fly astronauts from the United States to the International Space Station, and back.

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