Tag: Falcon 9

Elon Musk Updates Status of Satellite Launch, Falcon 9R Destruction

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Elon Musk (Credit: SpaceX)

Elon Musk (Credit: SpaceX)

A message from SpaceX:

SpaceX has decided to postpone tomorrow’s flight of AsiaSat 6. We are not aware of any issue with Falcon 9, nor the interfaces with the Spacecraft, but have decided to review all potential failure modes and contingencies again. We expect to complete this process in one to two weeks.

The natural question is whether this is related to the test vehicle malfunction at our development facility in Texas last week. After a thorough review, we are confident that there is no direct link. Had the same blocked sensor port problem occurred with an operational Falcon 9, it would have been outvoted by several other sensors. That voting system was not present on the test vehicle.

What we do want to triple-check is whether even highly improbable corner case scenarios have the optimal fault detection and recovery logic. This has already been reviewed by SpaceX and multiple outside agencies, so the most likely outcome is no change. If any changes are made, we will provide as much detail as is allowed under US law.

– Elon Musk

SpaceX Postpones AsiaSat6 Launch

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Falcon 9 launches AsiaSat8 into orbit. (Credit: SpaceX)

Falcon 9 launches AsiaSat8 into orbit. (Credit: SpaceX)

SpaceX has postponed a Falcon 9 launch planned for this evening. The rocket was to have launched the AsiaSat6 satellite.

Early reports are that engineers need more time to review data from a failed test flight last week of its Falcon 9R reusable test vehicle in McGregor, Texas. The vehicle was blown up in flight after it suffered an anomaly. The Falcon 9 launch could be rescheduled for sometime next week.

Update: NASASpaceflight.com reports that SpaceX has provided no official reason for the delay. However, it reports that “engineers had been working on a helium leak throughout the past 24 hours or so.” That problem had been resolved with the replacement of two valves, but Elon Musk apparently then called a scrub to allow engineers to check the health of the vehicle. It’s not clear why.

Falcon 9 launches have been dogged by helium leaks this year. Reliable reports say the company brought helium tank production in house earlier this year.

 

Video of SpaceX Rocket Explosion in McGregor

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SpaceX Set to Launch Again Tuesday, FAA Gives DragonFly Final Approval

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Falcon 9 launches AsiaSat8 into orbit. (Credit: SpaceX)

Falcon 9 launches AsiaSat8 into orbit. (Credit: SpaceX)

UPDATE: The launch has been shifted to Wednesday morning.

UPDATE: SpaceX successfully conducted a static fire of the Falcon 9 engines on Friday.

SpaceX’s Falcon 9 is set to soar again from Cape Canaveral early Tuesday morning with the AsiaSat 6 satellite. The launch window is set from 12:50-4:05 a.m. EDT (0450-0805 GMT).

SpaceX is set to conduct a static fire of the Falcon 9′s engine today.

Meanwhile, the FAA has issued its final environmental assessment for flights of SpaceX’s experimental DragonFly vehicle at the company’s McGregor test facility in Texas.

“After reviewing and analyzing currently available data and information on existing conditions and the potential impacts of the Proposed Action as compared with the No Action Alternative, the FAA has determined that the Proposed Action would not significantly impact the quality of the human environment. Therefore, preparation of an Environmental Impact Statement is not required, and the FAA is issuing this FONSI [Finding of No Significant Impact],” the environmental assessment reads.

SpaceX to Get $13 Million, 10-Year Tax Exemption for Texas Spaceport

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Artist's conception of the proposed SpaceX commercial launch facility near Brownsville, Texas.

Artist’s conception of the proposed SpaceX commercial launch facility near Brownsville, Texas.

An update on the incentives package being worked out for SpaceX’s spaceport in Texas:

The Cameron County Commissioners’ Court agreed to waive 10 years of county taxes owed by SpaceX, or Space Exploration Technologies Corp., if the company brings its launch operations to South Texas.

Commissioners also approved a draft of an economic agreement with SpaceX that states the responsibilities of each entity involved, including the Cameron County Spaceport Development Corp.

The Spaceport Board of Directors met Thursday afternoon to discuss the agreement and authorize Board Chairman Nick Serafy Jr. to sign it on behalf of the board.

The Spaceport Board also agreed to accept $13 million from the state’s Spaceport Development Trust Fund.

Read the full story.

 

NASA and Commercial Partners Review Summer of Advancements

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ISS_lifeboat_graphic_no_title
WASHINGTON (NASA PR) – NASA’s spaceflight experts in the Commercial Crew Program (CCP) met throughout July with aerospace partners to review increasingly advanced designs, elements and systems of the spacecraft and launch vehicles under development as part of the space agency’s Commercial Crew Integrated Capability (CCiCap) and Commercial Crew Development Round 2 (CCDev2) initiatives.

Blue Origin, The Boeing Co., Sierra Nevada Corporation and SpaceX are partners with NASA in these initiatives to develop a new generation of safe, reliable, and cost-effective crew space transportation systems to low-Earth orbit.

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Video of Falcon 9 First Stage Descent From Chase Plane

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Video Caption: Following the successful launch of six ORBCOMM satellites, the Falcon 9 rocket’s first stage reentered Earth’s atmosphere and soft landed in the Atlantic Ocean. This footage is from a chase plane filming the decent of the first stage back to earth.

Towards the end of the video, the camera operator attempted to zoom in and unfortunately lost sight of the stage and was unable to capture the tip over into the water.

SpaceX Sets Dates for Dragon Abort Tests

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SpaceX Dragon abort test article. (Credit: SpaceX)

SpaceX Dragon abort test article. (Credit: SpaceX)

SpaceX has updated its schedule for completing its remaining commercial crew milestones. A pad abort test is now scheduled for November, with an in-flight abort test set for January 2015. NASA recently granted the company an extension to complete its six remaining milestones until March 2015.

SpaceX CCiCAP Milestone Status
Award Period: August 2012 – March 2015
Milestones: 20
Milestones Completed: 14
Milestones Remaining: 6
Total Possible Award: $460 Million
Total Award to Date: $357 Million
Total Award Remaining: $103 Million

REMAINING COMMERCIAL CREW MILESTONES

NO. DESCRIPTION ORIGINAL DATE
STATUS AMOUNT
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 November 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 2nd Half 2014 $30 Million
13B Ground Systems and Mission Operations Critical Design Review (CDR). Part 2 of the CDR focused on ground systems and mission operations. The goal of the CDR is to demonstrate that the maturity of the CTS design is appropriate to support proceeding with full-scale fabrication, assembly, integration and test. March 2014 August 2014 $3 Million
13C Crew Vehicle Technical Interchange Meetings. Part 3 of the CDR. The goal of the CDR is to demonstrate that the maturity of the CTS design is appropriate to support proceeding with full-scale fabrication, assembly, integration and test. March 2014 September 2014 $5 Million
13D Delta Crew Vehicle Critical Design Review (CDR). The final milestone in the CDR.The goal of the CDR is to demonstrate that the maturity of the CTS design is appropriate to support proceeding with full-scale fabrication, assembly, integration and test.
March 2014 November 2014 $5 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 January 2015 $30 Million
TOTAL REMAINING (OUT OF $460 MILLION): $103 Million

Video Shows Falcon 9 First Stage Ocean Landing From Chase Plane

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Video Caption: This is the sanctioned and original 1080p version of the sneak peak of what SpaceX is expected to release soon, per the ORBCOMM F9 First Stage propulsive return.

Falcon 9 Launches AsiaSat8 into Orbit

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Falcon 9 launches AsiaSat8 into orbit. (Credit: SpaceX)

Falcon 9 launches AsiaSat8 into orbit. (Credit: SpaceX)

Hong Kong, 5 August 2014 (AsiaSat PR) – AsiaSat8 aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 launch vehicle successfully lifted off from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, U.S.A. at Hong Kong Time 4:00 p.m. (4:00 a.m. EDT or Cape Canaveral local time) on the 5th of August.

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