Tag: Falcon 9

Research for One-Year ISS Mission Launched Aboard Dragon

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The series of images shows the journey of the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon spacecraft from its launch at 4:10 p.m. EDT Tuesday, April 14 from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, to solar array deployment. (Credit:  NASA TV)

The series of images shows the journey of the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon spacecraft from its launch at 4:10 p.m. EDT Tuesday, April 14 from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, to solar array deployment. (Credit: NASA TV)

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (NASA PR) — Research that will help prepare NASA astronauts and robotic explorers for future missions to Mars is among the two tons of cargo now on its way to the International Space Station (ISS) aboard SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft. The spacecraft launched on a Falcon 9 rocket at 4:10 p.m. EDT Tuesday, April 14 from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

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Video Taken From Barge of Falcon 9 First Stage Crash Landing

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High Resolution Video of Falcon 9 First Stage Landing and Crash

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Space Symposium Briefs: Stratolaunch, Falcon 9, CST-100, UAE to Mars & Lunar Bases

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Gwynne Shotwell

Gwynne Shotwell

I’ve been monitoring the Twittersphere for news out of the 31st Space Symposium in Colorado Springs, Colo. There have been a few interesting items of note:

  • Stratolaunch President Chuck Beames says the company is considering other air-launch rockets in addition to the one being built by Orbital ATK for use with its massive six engine carrier aircraft. The Orbital ATK rocket is for medium payloads but won’t be ready for several years. Stratolaunch is looking at smaller rockets that could be developed more rapidly and help with more near-term revenue.
  • SpaceX President Gwynne Shotwell says the company’s next attempt to recover a Falcon 9 first stage may occur over land rather than on a barge at sea. SpaceX is building landing facilities at Cape Canaveral and Vandenberg Air Force Base.
  • Boeing plans to reveal the crew of its first CST-100 flight test this summer. The crew for the planned 2017 test will include one Boeing test pilot and one NASA astronaut.
  • The new United Arab Emirates Space Agency decided to launch a spacecraft to Mars in 2020 because sending an orbiter to the moon is too easy. The space agency, which was formed only last July, has yet to define the mission to the Red Planet or select international partners.
  • Current DLR Chairman Johann-Dietrich Wörner would really like to see the establishment of a base on the far side of the moon to enable radio astronomy. Wörner is set to take over had head of ESA in several months.

Space Symposium Launch Vehicle Panel

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The 31st Space Symposium is taking place all week in Colorado Springs. It’s already generated some news, with ULA unveiling its new launch vehicle [here and here], Paul Allen demanding the company change the rocket’s name, and Rocket Lab showing off its electric motor.

I wasn’t able to attend this year, but I’ve been monitoring the events via Twitter.  Today’s most interesting session appears to have been a launch vehicle panel that included Aerojet Rocketdyne, Arianespace, Blue Origin, Orbital ATK, SpaceX and ULA.

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Falcon 9 Stage Landed on Barge Then Tipped Over — With Images

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Falcon 9 Sends Dragon Supply Ship to ISS; First Stage Doesn’t Survive Landing

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Falcon 9 lifts off on CRS-6 mission.

Falcon 9 lifts off on CRS-6 mission.

SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket lifted off on schedule today at 4:10 p.m. EDT. The Dragon supply ship was deployed successfully and is now on its way to the International Space Station.

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk has tweeted, “Ascent successful. Dragon enroute to Space Station. Rocket landed on droneship, but too hard for survival.”

Busy Monday Set for America’s Launch Providers

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spacex_barge
Monday will be a busy day for two of America’s top launch providers.

The sixth SpaceX Dragon cargo mission to the International Space Station under NASA’s Commercial Resupply Services contract is scheduled to launch on Monday at 4:33 p.m. EDT from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. NASA Television coverage of the launch begins at 3:30 p.m. EDT.

SpaceX will make another attempt to land the Falcon 9 first stage on a off-shore barge. There is currently a 60 percent chance of acceptable weather for the launch.

Meanwhile, United Launch Alliance CEO Tory Bruno will unveil plans for its Next Generation Launch System on Monday at 4 p.m. during the 31st National Space Symposium in Colorado Springs, Colo.  Bruno will also announce the name of the booster, which was determined after a public vote in which more than one million votes were cast.

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

SpaceX Assembly Building at Pad 39A Progresses

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SpaceX assembly building at Pad 39A. (Credit: NASA)

SpaceX assembly building at Pad 39A. (Credit: NASA)

The exterior skin begins to take shape of what will become SpaceX’s new 300-foot-long horizontal hangar at the base of Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Pad 39A.

SpaceX assembly building at Pad 39A. (Credit: NASA)

SpaceX assembly building at Pad 39A. (Credit: NASA)

Inside, the company will process the Crew Dragon spacecraft and Falcon 9 v1.1 rocket before being rolled out for launch. The company also is refurbishing the historic complex for Commercial Crew and Falcon Heavy launches.

Disconnect Between USAF & SpaceX Led to Certification Problems

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Falcon 9 launch (Credit: SpaceX)

Falcon 9 launch (Credit: SpaceX)

An independent review of the U.S. Air Force’s certification of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket found a “stark disconnect in perceptions” between the two parties about how the process was to unfold.

“There is also a lack of common understanding” of “some basic objectives and definitions” spelled out in a 2013 agreement on the steps toward certifying Musk’s company, Space Exploration Technologies Corp., retired Air Force Chief of Staff Larry Welch said in the review.

While the two sides have become conciliatory and say they expect SpaceX to be certified for launches by June, the report lays out a cultural collision between Musk’s entrepreneurial impatience and the Air Force’s methodical bureaucracy.

Describing the past conflicts, Welch said the company’s view “is that the Air Force should have confidence in SpaceX capabilities based on its track record of performance,” while the Air Force “has approached certification as a detailed design review.”

“Neither view was the intent of the original certification plan,” which envisioned a “partnership that leveraged the commercial practices and experience of SpaceX and decades of Air Force experience,” Welch said. “Both teams need to adjust.”

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