Space

January 25, 2013

SpaceX schedules its next ISS resupply mission

SpaceX has picked March 1 for the next launch of its Dragon capsule to the International Space Station. The company requested the date from the Cape Canaveral, Fla., spaceport it uses for launching its Falcon rocket.

This will be the third flight for a Falcon 9 rocket to ferry a Dragon cargo capsule. It will be designated as Crew Resupply Service 2 flight, under the contract between SpaceX and NASA. Cargo manifest has not been released but it is expected to include food, supplies and scientific equipment experiments.

One of the Falcon rocket’s nine engines shut down prematurely during the last launch on Oct. 7, but SpaceX said it did not endanger that mission and that they’ve identified the problem. “We’ve gotten to root cause and we’ve briefed that to our customer (NASA),” Garrett Reisman, SpaceX’s Commercial Crew project manager, said. “Right now we’re just making sure that all of our i’s are dotted and our t’s are crossed,” he said. “We do intend to make that information more widely disseminated very, very soon.

The March launch will be from SpaceX’s Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral. CRS-1 was on Oct. 7, 2012. The mission delivered supplies and then returned scientific samples and other materials. Ten more CRS missions are planned.

SpaceX says it’s planning six launches from Cape Canaveral in 2013, three for NASA and another three for commercial clients, and also intends to conduct launches from California’s Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif., sometime this year.

 

Grasshopper test

SpaceX’s Grasshopper took a 12-story leap towards full and rapid rocket reusability in a test flight conducted Dec. 17, 2012, at the company’s rocket development facility in McGregor, Texas.

Grasshopper, SpaceX’s vertical takeoff and landing vehicle, rose 131 feet (40 meters), hovered and landed safely on the pad using closed loop thrust vector and throttle control. The total test duration was 29 seconds. Grasshopper stands 10 stories tall and consists of a Falcon 9 rocket first stage, Merlin 1D engine, four steel landing legs with hydraulic dampers, and a steel support structure.

The 12-story flight marks a significant increase over the height and length of hover of Grasshopper’s previous test flights, which took place earlier this fall. In September, Grasshopper flew to 1.8 meters (6 feet), and in November, it flew to 5.4 meters (17.7 feet/2 stories) including a brief hover.

Testing of Grasshopper will continue with successively more sophisticated flights expected over the next several months.

 

First Falcon 9 Air Force launch contract

Two launches were awarded to SpaceX under an Air Force contract valued at as much as $900 million. The missions, scheduled for 2014 and 2015, are designed to help the company become certified to carry military and spy satellites. Previously, United Launch Alliance has carried aloft all of the Air Forces satellites. ULA is a joint venture of Lockheed Martin and Boeing, and has served the Air Force for six years

SpaceX founder, CEO and CTO Elon Musk in a Dec. 5 statement called the Air Force’s decision a “vote of confidence.” Retiring Lockheed chairman and CEO Robert Stevens poked fun at SpaceX’s inexperience. He said ULA has launched satellites on 66 consecutive missions. SpaceX has two in a row. Stevens said at a Dec. 14 Bloomberg Government breakfast in Washington.

Responding to Stevens, Musk said in an e-mailed statement that “all of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 missions have reached orbit and completed all primary mission objectives.”

On the cost issue, Musk said: “The fundamental reason SpaceX’s rockets are lower cost and more powerful is that our technology is significantly more advanced than that of the Lockheed-Boeing rockets, which were designed last century.”

 

 




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 
Lockheed Martin photograph

Lockheed Martin successfully mates NOAA GOES-R satellite modules

Lockheed Martin photograph Lockheed Martin successfully mated together the large system and propulsion modules of the first GOES-R series weather satellite at the companyís Space Systems facilities near Denver, Colo. A team of...
 
 
Image courtesy of NASA/GSFC

NASA Mars spacecraft ready for Sept. 21 orbit insertion

NASA’s Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution spacecraft is nearing its scheduled Sept. 21 insertion into Martian orbit after completing a 10-month interplanetary journey of 442 million miles. Flight Controllers at Lockheed M...
 
 

Lockheed Martin-built CLIO satellite successfully launched

The U.S. government’s CLIO satellite, designed and built by Lockheed Martin, was successfully launched today from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla. Lift-off occurred at 6:10 p.m., MDT, aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V launch vehicle. Initial contact with the satellite was confirmed at 9:08 p.m., MDT. The CLIO system is based on innovative...
 

 

ULA launches 60th Mission from Cape Canaveral

A United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket carrying the CLIO mission for Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company launched at 8:10†p.m., EDT, Sept. 16 from Space Launch Complex-41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla. “It is an honor to work with Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company and all of our mission partners to launch this...
 
 
Image courtesy of NASA, ESA, STScI-RCC14-41a

Hubble helps find smallest known galaxy containing supermassive black hole

Image courtesy of NASA, ESA, STScI-RCC14-41a Artist’s View of M60-UCD1 Black Hole.   Astronomers using data from NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope and ground observation have found an unlikely object in an improbable p...
 
 
Image courtesy of NASA/CXC/M. Weiss

NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory finds planet that makes star act deceptively old

Image courtesy of NASA/CXC/M. Weiss A new study from NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory shows that a giant exoplanet, WASP-18b, is making the star that it orbits very closely act much older than it actually is. This artist&...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>