Tag: Falcon 9

Commercial Crew Partners Completed 23 Milestones in 2014



WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — NASA’s Commercial Crew Program and the agency’s industry partners completed 23 agreement and contract milestones in 2014 and participated in thousands of hours of technical review sessions. The sessions focused on creating a new generation of safe, reliable and cost-effective crew space transportation systems to low-Earth orbit destinations.

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Space Access Society Update


Space Access Update #138
Copyright 2014 by Space Access Society

In this Issue:

Year-End Wrapup:

Commercial Crew FY’15 Funding
Defense Engine Development
Falcon 9 Recovery Attempt

Space Access ’15 Conference Set For April 30 – May 2, 2015

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Falcon 9 Completes Successful Static Fire

Falcon 9 static fire. (Credit: SpaceX)

Falcon 9 static fire. (Credit: SpaceX)

HAWTHORNE, Calif. (SpaceX PR) — Today, SpaceX completed a successful static fire test of the Falcon 9 rocket in advance of the CRS-5 mission for NASA. The test was conducted at SpaceX’s Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida, and ran for the full planned duration.

SpaceX also conducted a static fire test on December 17 and while the test accomplished nearly all goals, it did not run the full duration.   The data suggested we could have pushed forward without a second attempt, but out of an abundance of caution, we opted to execute a second test.

Given the extra time needed for data review and testing, coupled with the limited launch date availability due to the holidays and other restrictions, our earliest launch opportunity is now January 6 with January 7 as a backup.  A few times a year, the ISS orbits through a high beta angle period. This is where the angle between the ISS orbital plane and the sun is high, resulting in the ISS being in almost constant sunlight for a 10 day period.  During this time, there are thermal and operational constraints that prohibit Dragon from being allowed to berth with the ISS.  This high beta period runs from December 28, 2014 – January 7, 2015.  Note that for a launch on January 6, Dragon berths on January 8.

After today’s successful static fire, our teams are looking forward to launch just after the New Year.

SpaceX Completes First CCtCap Milestone

Dragon Version 2. (Credit: SpaceX)

Dragon Version 2. (Credit: SpaceX)

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — NASA has approved the completion of SpaceX’s first milestone in the company’s path toward launching crews to the International Space Station (ISS) from U.S. soil under a Commercial Crew Transportation Capability (CCtCap) contract with the agency.

During the Certification Baseline Review, SpaceX described its current design baseline including how the company plans to manufacture its Crew Dragon spacecraft and Falcon 9 v.1.1 rocket, then launch, fly, land and recover the crew. The company also outlined how it will achieve NASA certification of its system to enable transport of crews to and from the space station.

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Falcon 9 Launch Delayed Until January

SpaceX first stage recovery drone ship. (Credit: SpaceX)

SpaceX first stage recovery drone ship. (Credit: SpaceX)

SpaceX has delayed the CRS 5 cargo flight to the International Space Station scheduled for Friday to no earlier than Jan. 6 with Jan. 7 as a backup date.

A SpaceX spokesman said a static fire of the engine did not go as long as planned. He cited the need to conduct a second static fire, the upcoming holidays, and lighting conditions at the International Space Station as reasons for the delay.

In addition to sending a Dragon cargo ship to the space station, the flight was to attempt to land the Falcon 9 first stage on a barge for eventual reuse.

According to SpaceflightNow.com, the flight had already been delayed from Oct. 3, Dec. 1, Dec. 9 and Dec. 16.

With this latest delay, SpaceX will finish 2014 with six launches, which is double its launch rate for 2013 but about half the number planned for this year.

UPDATE: Here’s the official NASA announcement on the delay:

NASA, SpaceX Update Launch of Fifth SpaceX Resupply Mission to Space Station

NASA and SpaceX announced today the launch of SpaceX’s fifth commercial resupply services mission to the International Space Station now will occur no earlier than Tuesday, Jan. 6.

The new launch date will provide SpaceX engineers time to investigate further issues that arose from a static fire test of the Falcon 9 rocket on Dec. 16 and will avoid beta angle constraints for berthing the Dragon cargo ship to the station that exist through the end of the year.

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NASA Ames to Launch Four Experiments to ISS Aboard Dragon

SpaceX Dragon freighter at ISS. (Credit: NASA)

SpaceX Dragon freighter at ISS. (Credit: NASA)

MOFFETT FIELD, Calif. — NASA’s Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, California, will launch four life science experiments to the International Space Station aboard NASA’s next commercial cargo resupply flight of the SpaceX Dragon spacecraft. The research missions include validation of a new capability for model organism study in space, an infection process investigation in the unique conditions of space, the first step in a multi-part study to track microbes on the space station, and an examination of immune system changes that curiously happen in both elderly people and people exposed to spaceflight.

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SpaceX to Attempt to Land Falcon 9 First Stage on Barge

SpaceX first stage recovery drone ship. (Credit: SpaceX)

SpaceX first stage recovery drone ship. (Credit: SpaceX)

HAWTHORNE, Calif. (SpaceX PR) — During our next flight, SpaceX will attempt the precision landing of a Falcon 9 first stage for the first time, on a custom-built ocean platform known as the autonomous spaceport drone ship. While SpaceX has already demonstrated two successful soft water landings, executing a precision landing on an unanchored ocean platform is significantly more challenging.

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Falcon 9, Angara 5 & GSLV Mk. 3 Flights Highlight Crowded Launch Schedule


First stage recovery barge (Credit: SpaceX)

With only two weeks left in the year, the global launch schedule is crammed with 9 launches, including the flights of new launch vehicles by Russia and India and an unprecedented effort by SpaceX to recover a first-stage for reuse.

Below are the highlights.

Dec. 18. GSLV Mk.3: India will conduct the first test flight of its new medium-lift GSLV Mk. 3 launch vehicle. This will be a suborbital launch that will carry a prototype of a human spacecraft. Satish Dhawan Space Centre

Dec. 19. SpaceX CRS-5:  SpaceX will send a Dragon freighter on the company’s fifth commercial resupply mission to the International Space Station. The company will attempt to recover the first stage of the Falcon 9 booster for reuse by landing it on a barge. Cape Canaveral Air Force Station

Dec. 25. Angara 5: Russia will conduct its first test of its new Angara 5 heavy-lift booster, which will send a dummy payload into orbit. The launch follows the suborbital flight of the smaller Angara 1.2, which tested the core stage for this new family of boosters. Plesetsk Cosmodrome

The table below shows flights scheduled for the rest of the year.  Schedule subject to change without notice.

UPDATES: The GSLV launch was successful. Russia has delayed the Strela flight to Dec. 19, and SpaceX has rescheduled the Falcon 9 launch to no earlier than Jan. 6.

Dec. 18 GSLV Mk.3 CARE Satish Dhawan India
Dec. 18 Strela Kondor E1 Baikonur Russia
Dec. 18 Soyuz O3b F3 Kourou Russia
Dec. 19 Falcon 9 CRS 5 CCAFS USA
Dec. 24 Soyuz Lotus S Plesetsk Russia
Dec. 25 Angara 5 Dummy payload Plesetsk Russia
Dec. 26 Soyuz Resurs P2 Baikonur Russia
Dec. 28 Proton ASTRA 2G Baikonur Russia
December Long March 3A Fengyun 2G Xichang China

Source: Spaceflight Now

NASA Awards Launch Contract to SpaceX

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

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

WASHINGTON, Dec. 16, 2014 (NASA PR) — NASA has selected SpaceX to provide launch services for the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) mission. TESS will launch aboard a Falcon 9 v1.1 launch vehicle, with liftoff targeted for August 2017 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

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Airbus Plan to Launch on SpaceX Falcon 9 Criticized

Falcon 9 launch (Credit: SpaceX)

Falcon 9 launch (Credit: SpaceX)

Airbus Defence and Space’s negotiations with SpaceX to launch a European communications satellite on a Falcon 9 has not gone over well in France:

The senator, Alain Gournac, who is a veteran member of the French Parliamentary Space Group, said he had written French Economy and Industry Minister Emmanuel Macron to protest Airbus’ negotiations with Hawthorne, California-based Space Exploration Technologies Corp. for a late 2016 launch instead of contracting for a launch on a European Ariane 5 rocket.

“The negotiations are all the more unacceptable given that, at the insistence of France, Europe has decided to adopt a policy of ‘European preference’ for its government launches,” Gournac said. “This is called playing against your team, and it smacks of a provocation. It’s an incredible situation that might lead customers to think we no longer have faith in Ariane 5 — and tomorrow, Ariane 6.”

The satellite in question is part of the European Data Relay Service, EDRS, which is developing two nodes in geostationary orbit, both on satellites with conventional telecommunications payloads as well, to use lasers to communicate with low-orbiting observation satellites to speed data return.

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