Tag: Falcon 9

Are SpaceX’s 60 to 80 Hour Work Weeks Really Such a Good Idea?

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Credit: USLaunchReport.com

Credit: USLaunchReport.com

Elon Musk has been credited with bringing Silicon Valleyesque practices to the rocket industry: the 60 to 80 hour weeks, frequent hardware as software upgrades, multi-tasking, free coffee, vested stock options, gala holiday parties each more extravagant than the last, and the other things.

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SpaceXplosion Update: Preliminary Review Suggests “Large Breach in Cryogenic Helium System”

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Credit: USLaunchReport.com

Credit: USLaunchReport.com

SpaceX Falcon 9 Loss Update
September 23, 1:00pm EDT

Three weeks ago, SpaceX experienced an anomaly at our Launch Complex 40 (LC-40) at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. This resulted in the loss of one of our Falcon 9 rockets and its payload.

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ULA Sought to Delay USAF Satellite Bids After SpaceX Launch Pad Accident

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ULA_logoULA sought to have the U.S. Air Force delay bids on an upcoming GPS III satellite launch by 60 days in the wake of SpaceX’s loss of a Falcon 9 and its payload earlier this month, The Washington Post reports.

Tory Bruno, ULA’s chief executive, urged the Air Force to postpone the deadline for bids, saying it should take time to explore the impact of SpaceX’s rocket failure while also taking into account both companies’ experience and past performance.

The Pentagon should have particular reservations, Bruno wrote, given that two of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rockets have blown up, which he said “serve as a reminder of the complexity and hazards intrinsic to space launch services.”

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SpaceX, NASA Misled Public About First Commercial Resupply Flight

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Falcon 9 launches on its first commercial resupply mission.

Falcon 9 launches on its first commercial resupply mission.

As SpaceX prepared to launch its first commercial resupply mission to the International Space Station in October 2012, there was a rather curious aspect about the mission. While the Dragon spacecraft was advertised as being able to carry 3,310 kg of cargo, the ship was only loaded with 450 kg of cargo — less than 14 percent of maximum capacity.

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A Video Analysis of the SpaceX Falcon 9 Firexplanomaly

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Video Caption: A more detailed analysis of the spacex falcon 9 rocket explosion.

Several interesting details. Firstly the main explosion is actually from the fuel from the second stage and the liquid oxygen from the first stage.

In order to save weight on the rocket the second stage of the falcon 9 uses a common wall for the liquid oxygen and fuel tank (rp1). Any rupture in this tank wall would doom the rocket.

The quiet ‘pop’ may well be a failure of a helium tank. They are usually used to keep a pressure in the tanks while they are emptying due to the rocket burning the fuel. If one of these had ruptured while the oxygen tank was full, it could have overpressurized the tank causing it to also fail.

I Will Launch America: Mike Ravenscroft

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Mike Ravenscroft (Credit: NASA)

Mike Ravenscroft (Credit: NASA)

By Steven Siceloff,
NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, Florida

Every astronaut who flies into space should go with the confidence that every detail of their spacecraft, rocket and mission has been thought-through and evaluated carefully, engineer Michael Ravenscroft said. That’s one of the reasons that the Commercial Crew Program engineer takes so little for granted as the program steers itself and partners toward a new dawn of human spaceflight from American soil.

“It’s one of those things you always think about – you don’t want to put anybody at unnecessary risk,” Ravenscroft said.

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NASA Still Hasn’t Released Report on SpaceX’s Last Accident

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Dragon capsule separated from Falcon 9 launch vehicle.

Dragon capsule separated from Falcon 9 launch vehicle.

SpaceX’s recent firexplanomaly on the launch pad that destroyed a Falcon 9 rocket and the Amos-6 reminded me that NASA has not yet released an accident report from the company’s previous catastrophic failure in June 2015. That in-flight accident launched a Dragon supply ship bound for the International Space Station into the Atlantic Ocean.

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SpaceX: Giant Leaps, Deep Troughs But No Plateaus

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Credit: USLaunchReport.com

Credit: USLaunchReport.com

Out of the blue and into the black
They give you this, but you pay for that
And once you’re gone, you can never come back
When you’re out of the blue and into the black.

My My, Hey Hey (Out of the Blue)
Neil Young

In his book, “Mastery,” George Leonard provides a fascinating explanation of how people master new skills.

The mastery curve (Credit: George Leonard)

The mastery curve (Credit: George Leonard)

“There’s really no way around it. Learning any new skill involves relatively brief spurts of progress, each of which is followed by a slight decline to a plateau somewhat higher in most cases than that which preceded it,” Leonard writes. “The curve above is not necessarily idealized. In the actual learning experience, progress is less regular; the upward spurts vary; the plateaus have their own dips and rises along the way. But the general progression is almost always the same.”

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SpaceX Pad Explosion Endangered NASA’s OSIRIS-REx Spacecraft

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Credit: USLaunchReport.com

Credit: USLaunchReport.com

“No sooner had we accomplished the securing of the pumps when I was approached by another one of our range users who explained they were losing pressure on the chillers at a neighboring launch complex. Without those chillers the spacecraft for the next launch would be lost. [Emphasis added] Needless to say at this point I had to reestablish our priorities and get a team working on a way to get our IRT into Space Launch Complex 41 to allow access for technicians to enter in order to make the necessary repairs.”

NASA’s OSIRIS-REx was sitting on top of an ULA Atlas V on Space Launch Complex 41. Read the full story below.

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SpaceX Launch Pad Explanomaly is a Real Head Scratcher

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Credit: USLaunchReport.com

Credit: USLaunchReport.com

SpaceX and its founder, Elon Musk, are scratching their heads over how the company managed to destroy a Falcon 9 launch and the Amos-6 communications satellite during routine propellant loading last week.

And it’s little wonder. There’s not a lot of precedent for this type of accident. The last time a launch provider had a failure like this one was more than half a century ago when the industry was in its infancy.

Conspiracies Abound on Falcon 9 Fireplosion

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Falcon 9 explodes on the launch pad. (Credit: USLaunchReport.com)

Falcon 9 explodes on the launch pad. (Credit: USLaunchReport.com)

By now, you’ve probably heard the conspiracy theories about the fire and explosion (fireplosion?) that destroyed a Falcon 9 rocket and destroyed the Amos-6 spacecraft.

Was the rocket taken out by a drone? An alien UFO? An U.S. government determined to keep Spacecom out of the hands of a Chinese conglomerate? A bird pooping on the equipment? Or all of the above?

While the investigation continues and the speculation rages over the cause, there’s been one possibility that has been ignored completely….

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NASA, Air Force & Others Weigh in on SpaceX Falcon 9 Accident

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Falcon 9 explodes on the launch pad. (Credit: USLaunchReport.com)

Falcon 9 explodes on the launch pad. (Credit: USLaunchReport.com)

NASA

“We remain confident in our commercial partners and firmly stand behind the successful 21st century launch complex that NASA, other federal agencies, and U.S. commercial companies are building on Florida’s Space Coast. Today’s incident — while it was not a NASA launch — is a reminder that spaceflight is an incredible challenge, but our partners learn from each success and setback.

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Spacecom’s Stock Crashes 40+ Percent After Falcon 9 Accident

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Credit: Tel Aviv Stock Exchange

Credit: Tel Aviv Stock Exchange

Spacecom’s stock has crashed more than 40 percent after its Amos-6 communications satellite was destroyed in a SpaceX launch pad accident in Florida on Thursday.

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NASA Suffering Significant Delays in Evaluating Commercial Crew Hazard Reports

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Launch_America_Commercial_Crew
Excerpted from, “NASA’s Commercial Crew Program: Update on Development and Certification Efforts,” NASA Office of Inspector General, Report No. IG-16-028, September 1, 2016

Improvements Needed to Ensure Timely Reviews of Contractor Development Efforts

NASA is responsible for managing the certification process for the Boeing and SpaceX commercial crew transportation systems to ensure they meet Agency human rating requirements. Timely insight into the contractors’ activities is vital to ensure this process proceeds on schedule and within the agreed-upon budget. As part of the certification process and to provide insight into contractor efforts, Boeing and SpaceX conduct safety reviews and develop reports on potential hazards and the controls they have put in place to mitigate them (hazard reports) for NASA’s review.

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SpaceX Crew Dragon Challenges: Welds, Cracks & Water Seepage

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SpaceX Crew Dragon Weldment Structure (Credit: SpaceX)

SpaceX Crew Dragon Weldment Structure (Credit: SpaceX)

Excerpted from, “NASA’s Commercial Crew Program: Update on Development and Certification Efforts,” NASA Office of Inspector General, Report No. IG-16-028, September 1, 2016

SpaceX’s CCtCap contract initially included 18 milestones ranging from establishment of the original requirements baseline to final vehicle certification. During the first year of the contract, SpaceX and NASA agreed to separate SpaceX’s Propulsion Module Testing and Critical Design Review into multiple segments, which increased the total milestones to 21.20

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