Tag: SpaceX

Video of Falcon 9 First Stage Descent to Ocean

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Video Caption: Video of the Falcon 9 first stage reentry and landing following successful delivery of six ORBCOMM satellites to orbit. This test confirms that the Falcon 9 booster is able consistently to reenter from space at hypersonic velocity, restart main engines twice, deploy landing legs and touch down at near zero velocity.

After landing, the vehicle tipped sideways as planned to its final water safing state in a nearly horizontal position. The water impact caused loss of hull integrity, but we received all the necessary data to achieve a successful landing on a future flight. Going forward, we are taking steps to minimize the build up of ice and spots on the camera housing in order to gather improved video on future launches.

USAF Review of SpaceX Falcon 9 Launch Vehicle Continues

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Falcon 9 in flight with the SES-8 satellite. (Credit: SpaceX)

Falcon 9 in flight with the SES-8 satellite. (Credit: SpaceX)

Bloomberg News has an update on the U.S. Air Force’s efforts to certify SpaceX’s Falcon 9 v1.1 to launch military payloads. The service is reviewing the results of three successful flights of the booster as well as SpaceX’s processes on the ground.

Bloomberg obtained a redacted copy of a May 20 letter and briefing paper discussing the review that the Air Force sent to Rep. Mike Rogers (R-AL), who is chairman of the House Armed Services Committee’s strategic panel.

Continue reading ‘USAF Review of SpaceX Falcon 9 Launch Vehicle Continues’

Commercial Crew Partners Continue Milestone Work

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WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — Spacecraft and rocket development is on pace this summer for NASA’s aerospace industry partners for the agency’s Commercial Crew Program as they progress through systems testing, review boards and quarterly sessions under their  Space Act Agreements with the agency.

NASA engineers and specialists continue their review of the progress as the agency and partners move ahead with plans to develop the first American spacecraft designed to carry people into space since the space shuttle.

Continue reading ‘Commercial Crew Partners Continue Milestone Work’

Congressmen Seek Answers About Falcon 9 Problems

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Falcon 9 second stage engine burn.

Falcon 9 second stage engine burn.

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Mike Coffman PR) –  Today, U.S. Representative Mike Coffman (R-CO), along with Representative Cory Gardner (R-CO), sent a letter to the Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) expressing strong concerns over anomalies that have occurred on taxpayer-funded space launch vehicles, and the lack of public disclosure or transparency of these anomalies.  The letter expresses concern over an epidemic of anomalies that have occurred during SpaceX launches or launch attempts, and communicates frustrations with NASA’s refusal to provide insight into those mishaps.

[Editor's Note: The letter is also signed by Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL).]

Continue reading ‘Congressmen Seek Answers About Falcon 9 Problems’

USAF Counts SpaceX Falcon 9 Flights Toward Certification

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Falcon 9 lifts off with the SES-8 satellite. (Credit: SpaceX)

Falcon 9 lifts off with the SES-8 satellite. (Credit: SpaceX)


LOS ANGELES AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. (USAF PR)
 – The U.S. Air Force Space Command’s Space and Missile Systems Center declared both the Dec. 3, 2013 and Jan. 6, 2014 flights of the Space Exploration Technologies Corporation (SpaceX) Falcon 9 v1.1 launch vehicle will each count as a successful flight towards Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) certification. This completes the three flights required for the flight experience requirement.

Continue reading ‘USAF Counts SpaceX Falcon 9 Flights Toward Certification’

Parabolic Archers Back Musk, SpaceX in Lawsuit Against USAF

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SpaceX_lawsuit_pollBy an overwhelming (and not the least bit surprising) margin, Parabolic Arc readers have backed Elon Musk and SpaceX in their lawsuit against the U.S. Air Force.

A full 66 percent of poll participants voted for, “Go get ‘em, Elon! Defeat those monopolists!”  Another 28 percent wanted Musk to launch a few more rockets before suing anyone to add more flights to SpaceX’s already crowded manifest. And 6 percent didn’t care because they think the whole legal brouhaha is over only 6 or 7 launches SpaceX won’t be able to bid on over the next few years.

For those of you just joining us, the U.S. Air Force awarded rival United Launch Alliance a large contract for 36 launch vehicle cores. Originally, the Air Force set aside 14 launches in the 2015-17 period for new entrants such as SpaceX to bid on. The service subsequently cut that number to 7, with the rest postponed beyond 2017.

SpaceX sued, saying the contract was illegal and that it should be allowed to bid on most of the core launches in the agreement. The U.S. Air Force has asked the court to dismiss the suit, saying SpaceX was not certified to bid on the launches at the time they were awarded and that it waited too long to file an appeal.

Thank you to all who voted. There’s a new poll up now about the state of the U.S. space program. Remember, vote early. Vote often. Just vote, dammit! Vote!

Falcon 9 Launches ORBCOMM Satellites

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Falcon 9 second stage engine burn.

Falcon 9 second stage engine burn.

UPDATE 2: Elon Musk Tweeted: Rocket booster reentry, landing burn & leg deploy were good, but lost hull integrity right after splashdown (aka kaboom)

UPDATE: ORBCOMM has confirmed that all six satellites have been successfully deployed. The orbit was exactly what was planned.

SpaceX successfully launched a Falcon 9 rocket into orbit from Cape Canaveral this morning. The rocket carries six ORBCOMM communications satellites, which at the moment are still attached to the second stage. Deployment will follow.

Also awaiting word on the success of soft-landing the first stage on the ocean. Updates as we get them.

Remaining Commercial Crew Milestones for All Companies

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NASA Commercial Crew Program Remaining Milestones
July 2014

No. Description Original Date Status Amount
BOEING
19 Critical Design Review (CDR) Board. Boeing shall establish and demonstrate a critical baseline design of the CCTS that meets system requirements. CDR confirms that the requirements, detailed designs, and plans for test and evaluation form a satisfactory basis for production and integration. April 2014 3Q 2014 $17.9 Million
21A Boeing Spacecraft Safety Review. Boeing shall prepare and conduct a Phase 2 Safety Review of the Commercial Crew Transportation System (CCTS) Spacecraft Critical Design Review (CDR) level requirements, system architecture and design, and associated safety products to assess conformance with Commercial Crew Transportation System certification process (CDR-level products). Focus is review of the updated hazard reports, hazard causes and controls, and specific safety verification methods to reflect the CDR level of design detail for the CCTS Spacecraft Segment. July 2014 3Q 2014 $20 Million
TOTAL REMAINING (OUT OF $480 MILLION): $37.9 Million
SIERRA NEVADA CORPORATION
4B Engineering Test Article Flight Testing. The purpose of these additional free flight test(s) is to reduce risk due to aerodynamic uncertainties in the subsonic approach and landing phase of flight and to mature the Dream Chaser aerodynamic database. A minimum of one and up to five additional Engineering Test Article free flight test(s) will be completed to characterize the aerodynamics and controllability of the Dream Chaser Orbital Vehicle outer mold line configuration during the subsonic approach and landing phase. April 2013 March 2015 $8 Million
9 Risk Reduction and TRL Advancement Testing. The purpose of these tests is to significantly mature all Dream Chaser systems to or beyond a CDR level. May 2014 3Q 2014 $17 Million
15A Reaction Control System Testing — Incremental Test No. 1. The purpose of the test on this pre-qualification unit is to support eventual qualification/certification by testing the thruster in flight-like environments. July 2014 3Q 2014 $10 Million
TOTAL REMAINING (OUT OF $227.5 MILLION): $35 Million
SPACEX
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 3Q 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 March 2015 $30 Million
TOTAL REMAINING (OUT OF $460 MILLION): $103 Million
BLUE ORIGIN
1.4 Space Vehicle Subsystem Interim Design Review. Review space vehicle subsystem design progress with emphasis on power and actuation systems, in-space propulsion, multiplex avionics, flight mechanics and GN&C. March 2014 2nd Half 2014 $0
TOTAL REMAINING: $0
TOTALS — ALL COMPANIES
TOTAL REMAINING (OUT OF $1.17 BILLION) : $175.9 Million

ISS Astronauts Looking Forward to Fresh Vegetables

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NASA astronaut Steve Swanson, Expedition 40 commander, harvests a crop of red romaine lettuce plants in the International Space Station’s Harmony node that were grown from seed inside the Veggie facility, a low-cost plant growth chamber that uses a flat-panel light bank for plant growth and crew observation. (Credit: NASA/Alex Gerst)

NASA astronaut Steve Swanson, Expedition 40 commander, harvests a crop of red romaine lettuce plants in the International Space Station’s Harmony node that were grown from seed inside the Veggie facility, a low-cost plant growth chamber that uses a flat-panel light bank for plant growth and crew observation. (Credit: NASA/Alex Gerst)

by Linda Herridge
NASA Kennedy Space Center

Red romaine lettuce and other fresh vegetables could be on the menu for astronauts in the future. NASA astronaut and Expedition 40 Commander Steve Swanson harvested the first fresh vegetable crop, Veg-01, on June 10 from the Veggie plant growth system on the International Space Station (ISS).

“I was all smiles watching Swanson harvest his space lettuce, and I noted a great deal of excitement among the other crew members,” said Trent Smith, a project manager in the ISS Ground Processing and Research Project Office at Kennedy Space Center.

Continue reading ‘ISS Astronauts Looking Forward to Fresh Vegetables’

SpaceX Commercial Crew Status for July 2014

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Dragon Version 2. (Credit: SpaceX)

Dragon Version 2. (Credit: SpaceX)

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

Several notable changes have occurred in SpaceX’s milestones and timelines. First, the time period has been extended from August 2014 to March 2015. This change will allow the company to complete an in-flight abort test with its Falcon 9 launch vehicle and Dragon crew capsule.

However, the Critical Design Review (Milestone 13) also has fallen behind schedule.  The milestone has been split into f0ur separate milestones, with final completion now schedules for November.

No.
Description Original Date Status Amount
1 CCiCap Kickoff Meeting. SpaceX will hold a kickoff meeting at the SpaceX headquarters in Hawthorne, CA, or a nearby facility to review the current state of existing hardware, processes and designs, describe plans for CCiCap program execution during both the base period and the optional period and lay the groundwork for a successful partnership between NASA and SpaceX. August 2012 Complete $40
Million
2 Financial and Business Review. SpaceX will hold a financial and business review to accomplish verification of financial ability to meet NASA’s stated goals for the CCiCap program by providing NASA insight into SpaceX finances. August 2012
Complete $20 Million
3 Integrated System Requirements Review (ISRR). SpaceX will hold an integrated System Requirements Review (ISRR) to examine the functional and performance requirements defined for the entire CTS for the Commercial Crew Program design reference mission per section 3.1 of CCT-DRM-1110, as well as to evaluate the interpretation and applicability of each requirement. October 2012 Complete $50 Million
4 Ground Systems and Ascent Preliminary Design Review (PDR). SpaceX will hold a Ground Systems and Ascent Preliminary Design Review (PDR) to demonstrate that the overall CTS preliminary design for ground systems and ascent meets all requirements with acceptable risk and within schedule constraints and that it establishes the basis for proceeding with detailed design. December 2012 Complete $35 Million
5 Pad Abort Test Review. SpaceX will hold a Pad Abort Test Review to demonstrate the maturity of the pad abort test article design and test concept of operations. March 2013 Complete $20 Million
6 Human Certification Plan Review. SpaceX will hold a Human Certification Plan Review to present the Human Certification Plan. This Human Certification Plan Review will cover plans for certification of the design of the spacecraft, launch vehicle, and ground and mission operations systems. May 2013 Complete $50 Million
7 On-Orbit and Entry Preliminary Design Review (PDR). SpaceX will hold an On-Orbit and Entry Preliminary Design Review (PDR) to demonstrate that the overall CTS preliminary design for orbit, rendezvous and docking with the ISS, and entry flight regimes meets all requirements with acceptable risk and within schedule constraints and that it establishes the basis for proceeding with detailed design. July 2013 Complete $34 Million
7A Delta Ground Systems Preliminary Design Review (PDR). A PDR of the delta ground systems.
July 2013 Complete $1 Million
8 In-Flight Abort Test Review. SpaceX will hold an In-Flight Abort Test Review to demonstrate the maturity of the in-flight abort test article design and test concept of operations. September 2013 Complete $10 Million
9 Safety Review. SpaceX will hold a Safety Review at the SpaceX headquarters in Hawthorne, CA, or a nearby facility to demonstrate that the CTS design is progressing toward meeting the Commercial Crew Program’s safety goals. October 2013 Complete $50 Million
10 Flight Review of Upgraded Falcon 9. SpaceX will conduct a review of a launch of the upgraded Falcon 9 launch vehicle demonstrating the operation of enhanced first-stage M1D engines, stage separation systems, enhanced second-stage MVacD engine and mission-critical vehicle telemetry during flight. Demonstration of the upgraded launch vehicle will serve as a risk reduction for the planned inflight abort test. November 2013 Compete $0
13A Integrated Crew Vehicle Critical Design Review (CDR). Milestone 13, Integrated Critical Design Review, has been split into four separate milestones. 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 Complete $27 Million
15A Dragon Parachute Tests Phases I & II. SpaceX will conduct parachute drop tests in order to validate the new parachute design as capable of supporting a pad abort event. Milestone 15A included a crane drop test. November 2013 Complete $15 Million
15B Dragon Parachute Tests Phases I & II. SpaceX will conduct parachute drop tests in order to validate the new parachute design as capable of supporting a pad abort event. Milestone 15B featured a helicopter drop test. November 2013 Complete $5 Million
TOTAL TO DATE
(OUT OF $460 MILLION):
$357 Million
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 3Q 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 March 2015 $30 Million
TOTAL: $460 Million