Tag: Falcon 9

Delta IV, Falcon 9 Launches Set

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NROL45_MissionArtNight owls and insomniacs in California will be able to witness a spectacular night launch on Wednesday morning.

A United Launch Alliance Delta IV is set to lift off at 3:39 a.m. PST (6:39 a.m. EST) from Vandenberg Air Force Base carrying the National Reconnaissance Office’s NROL-45. If there are clear skies, the launch will be visible for hundreds of miles.

ULA will webcast the launch at http://www.ulalaunch.com.

SpaceX is planning to be back in action two weeks later with a planned Feb. 24 launch of its upgraded Falcon 9 booster. The rocket will carry SES-9 communications satellite for SES S.A. of Luxembourg. SpaceX will conduct the launch from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

“In order to minimise the impact of moving the launch from late last year, SpaceX is supporting a mission modification,” SES said in a press release. “The changed mission will reduce the time needed for SES-9 to reach its orbital slot, keeping the Operational Service Date (OSD) in the third quarter of 2016, as previously foreseen….

“SES-9 will use a chemical bi-propellant apogee motor to quickly achieve a 24h synchronous orbit and then electric propulsion to circularise the final orbit and to remove eccentricity at 36,000 kilometers over the equator,” the company added. “Subsequent on-orbit manoeuvres will be executed with electric propulsion.”

Russians Doubt Reusable Boosters, Look to Phase Out Rockot Launches

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Falcon 9 launch and landing. (Credit: SpaceX)

Falcon 9 launch and landing. (Credit: SpaceX)

Russia doesn’t seem overly impressed by the recent progress by SpaceX and Blue Origin in developing reusable launch vehicles. At according to TsNIIMash, which is the company’s main research institute.

“The economic feasibility of reusable launch systems is not obvious. First and foremost it will depend on how often launches will be made. At the moment it is hard to forecast which way the market of launch services will go when reusable space rockets become available. The designers are still to demonstrate the real costs of production and of making reusable stages for re-launching,” a TsNIIMash spokesman said.

Continue reading ‘Russians Doubt Reusable Boosters, Look to Phase Out Rockot Launches’

SpaceX Tests Technology at Pad 39A

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Credit: SpaceX

Credit: SpaceX

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. (NASA PR) — A critical piece of large equipment is being tested at Launch Complex 39A this week as SpaceX raises and lowers the transporter erector that will be used to move the Crew Dragon spacecraft atop a Falcon 9 rocket to the launch pad for missions. Standing 212 feet high – more than 20 stories – the TE, as SpaceX calls the machine, will move launch-ready rockets and spacecraft from the processing hangar at the base of the pad up to the pad surface and into a vertical position over the flame trench.

The lift and lowering of the transporter erector are part of routine tests conducted on the pad to ensure all ground systems are prepared to launch astronauts to the International Space Station. The TE is a much larger and stronger version of the erector the company uses at Space Launch Complex 40, as it will also be used for processing and launching future Falcon Heavy rockets.

SpaceX Plans Higher Production, Launch Rates in 2016

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Gwynne Shotwell

Gwynne Shotwell

SpaceX President Gwynne Shotwell said on Wednesday that the company plans to reach higher production and launch rates this year.

“Now we’re in this factory transformation to go from building six or eight a year to about 18 cores a year. By the end of this year we should be at over 30 cores per year,” she said. “So you see the factory start to morph.”

Shotwell, after her conference speech, said SpaceX plans to launch SES-9 “in the next couple of weeks.” The company then plans to maintain a high flight rate. “You should see us fly every two to three weeks,” she said.

While SpaceX plans to increase production of the Falcon 9, she suggested the company was still making changes to the vehicle. The Dec. 21 launch of 11 Orbcomm satellites was the first flight of an upgraded, or “full thrust,” version of the vehicle, and also the first time the company successfully landed the rocket’s first stage as part of its reusability efforts.

The latest changes, she said, came after a static fire test of the first stage Jan. 15 at Cape Canaveral. “We fired it up, and actually learned something about the rocket,” she said, without elaborating on what the company learned. “We’re going to make some mods based on what we saw on that stage landing and firing.”

SpaceX had earlier planned to reach the production of 40 cores annually by the end of 2015.

Read the full story.

Space Foundation Honors SpaceX for Falcon 9 First Stage Landing

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Falcon 9 launch and landing. (Credit: SpaceX)

Falcon 9 launch and landing. (Credit: SpaceX)

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Feb. 1, 2016) – In December 2015, SpaceX, a known pioneer in the space industry, successfully landed the first stage of its Falcon 9 rocket. The Falcon 9 left Cape Canaveral in Florida, delivered 11 satellites to orbit and historically landed the first stage minutes later. For that achievement, the Space Foundation has selected SpaceX to receive one of its top honors, the 2016 Space Achievement Award.

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Customers Edgy as SpaceX’s Schedule Slips; Falcon Heavy Flight Delayed Again

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Falcon 9 launch (Credit: SpaceX)

Falcon 9 launch (Credit: SpaceX)

SpaceX’s customers are again experiencing the effects of Elon Musk’s focus on continuous upgrades to its Falcon 9 rocket as launch dates slide to the right. Meanwhile, the long-delayed debut of the company’s 28-engine Falcon Heavy vehicle has been postponed by at least five more months.

SpaceX’s silence on the schedule delays of its Falcon 9 Upgrade rocket, whose inaugural flight on Dec. 21 was a success, is causing ripples of concern among commercial customers, which like NASA are counting on a high launch cadence in 2016 to meet these companies’ schedule milestones, industry officials said.
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USAF Testimony on Military Space Launches Before Senate Armed Services Committee

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Capitol Building
PRESENTATION TO THE SENATE ARMED SERVICES COMMITTEE

UNITED STATES SENATE

Subject: Military Space Launch

Witnesses: Honorable Frank Kendall III
Under Secretary of Defense for
Acquisition, Technology and Logistics

Honorable Deborah Lee James
Secretary of the Air Force

JANUARY 27, 2016

Chairman McCain, Ranking Member Reed, and distinguished Members of the committee, thank you for the opportunity to appear before you to discuss how we deliver national security space capabilities to the nation’s warfighters and intelligence community (IC). These capabilities provide our nation decisive advantage in situational awareness, precision navigation and targeting, and command and control, and without assured access to space via reliable launch services, that advantage would be at risk.

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Air Force Certifies Upgraded Falcon 9 Booster

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Falcon 9 launch (Credit: SpaceX)

Falcon 9 launch (Credit: SpaceX)

LOS ANGELES AIR FORCE BASE, El Segundo, Calif. (SMSC PR) — Lt. Gen. Samuel Greaves, Air Force Program Executive Officer for Space and Missile Systems Center commander, updated the certified baseline configuration of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 Launch System to Falcon 9 Upgrade, for use in National Security Space (NSS) missions. The baseline configuration of the Falcon 9 Launch System was updated to the Falcon 9 Upgrade on Jan. 25.

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Crucial Commercial Crew Milestones Lie Ahead in 2016

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Launch_America_Commercial_Crew
By Steven Siceloff,

NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, Fla.

NASA’s Commercial Crew Program and its aerospace industry partners Boeing and SpaceX are on the eve of America’s return to human spaceflight launches. By the time the year closes, Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner and SpaceX’s Crew Dragon will be poised for the flight tests that allow our astronauts to travel to the International Space Station lifting off from Florida’s Space Coast.

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SpaceX Gets an Air Force Funding Infusion for Raptor Engine

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Operators at the E-2 Test Stand at Stennis conduct a test of the oxygen preburner component being developed by SpaceX for its Raptor rocket engine, which is being built to power flights to Mars. (Credit: NASA)

Operators at the E-2 Test Stand at Stennis conduct a test of the oxygen preburner component being developed by SpaceX for its Raptor rocket engine, which is being built to power flights to Mars. (Credit: NASA)

SpaceX’s plans for its high-performance Raptor engine got a boost last week when it received a $33.7 million contract from the U.S. Air Force.

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Jason-3 Launches to Monitor Global Sea Level Rise

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The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket is seen as it launches from Vandenberg Air Force Base Space Launch Complex 4 East with the Jason-3 spacecraft onboard, , Sunday, Jan. 17, 2016, Vandenberg Air Force Base, California. Jason-3, an international mission led by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), will help continue U.S.-European satellite measurements of global ocean height changes. (Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls)

The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket is seen as it launches from Vandenberg Air Force Base Space Launch Complex 4 East with the Jason-3 spacecraft onboard, , Sunday, Jan. 17, 2016, Vandenberg Air Force Base, California. Jason-3, an international mission led by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), will help continue U.S.-European satellite measurements of global ocean height changes. (Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. (NASA PR) — Jason-3, a U.S.-European oceanography satellite mission with NASA participation that will continue a nearly quarter-century record of tracking global sea level rise, lifted off from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California Sunday at 10:42 a.m. PST (1:42 p.m. EST) aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.

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SpaceX Falcon 9 Launches Jason-3 Satellite

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The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket is seen as it launches from Vandenberg Air Force Base Space Launch Complex 4 East with the Jason-3 spacecraft onboard, , Sunday, Jan. 17, 2016, Vandenberg Air Force Base, California. Jason-3, an international mission led by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), will help continue U.S.-European satellite measurements of global ocean height changes. (Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls)

The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket is seen as it launches from Vandenberg Air Force Base Space Launch Complex 4 East with the Jason-3 spacecraft onboard, , Sunday, Jan. 17, 2016, Vandenberg Air Force Base, California. Jason-3, an international mission led by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), will help continue U.S.-European satellite measurements of global ocean height changes. (Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls)

SpaceX successfully launched the Jason-3 environmental satellite from Vandenberg Air Force Base this morning. The second stage and the satellite are now in a coast phase in a nominal orbit.

SpaceX says the first stage landing on an off-shore barge failed. The stage landed hard and might have broken one of its landing legs.

UPDATE: The second burn of Falcon 9 stage went as expected. The satellite has been successfully deployed into the planned orbit.

UPDATE No. 2: Elon Musk says that one of the landing legs was not fully hinged into position and collapsed after landing.

SpaceX Fires Returned Falcon 9 First Stage Engines

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NOAA’s Jason-3 Spacecraft Ready for Launch on Sunday

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Jason-3 satellite (Credit: NASA)

Jason-3 satellite (Credit: NASA)

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — The launch of Jason-3, an international mission led by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to continue U.S.- European satellite measurements of the topography of the ocean surfaces, is scheduled for launch from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California on Sunday, Jan. 17, 2016.

Liftoff aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Vandenberg’s Space Launch Complex 4 East is targeted for 10:42:18 a.m. PST (1:42:18 p.m. EST) at the opening of a 30-second launch window.

NASA TV launch commentary coverage of the countdown will begin at 8 a.m. PST (11 a.m. EST).  Spacecraft separation from the rocket occurs 55 minutes after launch.

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New Video Shows SpaceX Falcon 9 First Stage Landing

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Video Caption: On December 21, 2015, SpaceX’s Falcon 9 delivered 11 satellites to low-Earth orbit and landed the first stage of the rocket back on land.