Tag: SpaceXPage 2 of 104

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

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Science Experiments, ISSpresso Headed for Space Station Aboard Dragon

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NASA astronaut Michael Hopkins and European Space Agency astronaut Luca Parmitano perform ultrasound eye imaging as part of the Fluid Shifts investigation during Expedition 37 on the International Space Station. (Credit: NASA)

NASA astronaut Michael Hopkins and European Space Agency astronaut Luca Parmitano perform ultrasound eye imaging as part of the Fluid Shifts investigation during Expedition 37 on the International Space Station. (Credit: NASA)

HOUSTON (NASA PR) — From improving LCD screens to testing espresso machines, a variety of research is headed to the International Space Station aboard the sixth SpaceX contracted resupply mission. The Dragon spacecraft will deliver research equipment for physical science, biology, biotechnology, human research and a myriad of technology demonstrations to the station. These new and ongoing investigations continue to assist researchers in pursuing scientific breakthroughs not possible on Earth.

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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.”

Planetary Resources, Planet Labs Launching Satellites Aboard Dragon

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The asteroid mining company Planetary Resources is launching its first test satellite aboard a SpaceX Dragon resupply ship today. The Arkyd 3 Reflight (A3R) satellite will test out technologies for the company’s future spacecraft. It will be launched from the International Space Station at a later date.

The first Arkyd test satellite was lost when Orbital Sciences’ Antares launch vehicle exploded shortly after liftoff in October. The spacecraft was aboard a Cygnus resupply ship headed for the space station.

Planet Labs is sending up 14 more of its Dove remote sensing spacecraft aboard the mission. They are being launched as secondary payloads.

Coming Soon — Elon Musk: The Mini-Series

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Hollywood uber-producer — and male bad-hair day model — Brian Grazer and Ron “Apollo 13″ Howard are planning an eight-hour mini-series on Elon Musk. Learn more

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.

NASA Sets TV Coverage for SpaceX Dragon Mission

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SpaceX Dragon freighter at ISS. (Credit: NASA)

SpaceX Dragon freighter at ISS. (Credit: NASA)

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — The sixth SpaceX cargo mission to the International Space Station under NASA’s Commercial Resupply Services contract is scheduled to launch on Monday, April 13, 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.

The company’s Falcon 9 rocket will lift off at 4:33 p.m., carrying its Dragon cargo spacecraft to the station. Dragon is filled with more than 4,300 pounds of supplies and payloads, including critical materials to directly support about 40 of the more than 250 science and research investigations that will occur during the space station’s Expeditions 43 and 44.

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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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USAF to Phase Out Subsidy to ULA

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A transporter for oversize loads delivers the port, or left, booster for the United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy for Exploration Flight Test-1 into the Horizontal Integration Facility, or HIF, on May 7. The port booster joins the other two boosters of the Delta IV Heavy already in the HIF. (Credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett)

A transporter for oversize loads delivers the port, or left, booster for the United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy for Exploration Flight Test-1 into the Horizontal Integration Facility, or HIF, on May 7. The port booster joins the other two boosters of the Delta IV Heavy already in the HIF. (Credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett)

The U.S. Air Force said on Wednesday it would phase out a major subsidy it pays United Launch Alliance (ULA)

Air Force Space Command Commander General John Hyten said acquisition officials were working on a plan to to phase out the infrastructure support contract, which he said was initially put in place to protect “a very fragile industrial base.”

He said it was not possible to have a fair competition with the contracts in place, backing an argument often made by privately-held Space Exploration Technologies, which is vying for some of the launch contracts now carried out by ULA.

In prepared testimony between the House Armed Services Committee last week, SpaceX President Gwynne Shotwell called for an end to the contract.

Eliminate payments—more properly called subsidies—under the EELV Launch Capability (ELC) contract line items that exclusively support the incumbent provider and properly account for such payments for any competitive solicitations in the interim to ensure a fair and level playing field, especially since these funds do not contribute to the true nature of assured access to space. The Department and this Committee have called fo r real, meaningful competition. That means eliminating the unfairness. All we seek is the right to compete in a fair competition. Just like reliance on the RD-180 engine, it is time for these subsidy payments to the incumbent to come to an end.

Through the EELV Launch Capability, initially referred to as “assured access to space” payments, the U.S. Air Force and the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) pay ULA approximately $1 billion per year through distinct cost-plus-incentive-fee contract line items. These payments cover most of ULA’s fixed costs — for example, launch infrastructure, systems engineering and program management, launch operations, mission integration, base and range support costs, transportation costs, capital depreciation, and non-recurring engineering to name a few — for “up to eight launches” per year. These payments are in addition to the firm-fixed-price that ULA charges for EELV Launch Services (ELS) for each launch ordered through the block buy contract.