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.


 
 

 
Air Force photograph by MSgt. Chuck Marsh

‘NORAD Tracks Santa’: Bringing him to a home near you

Air Force photograph by MSgt. Chuck Marsh Volunteers monitor phones and computers to talk with children while tracking Santa Claus at the North American Aerospace Defense Command Tracks Santa Operations Center at Peterson Air F...
 
 

Headlines December 24, 2014

Business: Boeing, U.S. Navy in talks about stretching EA-18G jet production - The U.S. Navy Dec. 19 said it was in talks with Boeing Co about slowing production of its EA-18G electronic attack jets to keep the St. Louis facility running through the end of 2017, after Congress approved funding for 15 more planes. Navy’s $2.5...
 
 

News Briefs December 24, 2014

Chinese military plane crashes; two deaths reported A Chinese military plane crashed in the country’s northwest Dec. 22 and a news website says at least two people were killed. The plane crashed at about 3 p.m. near the city of Weinan, about 600 miles west of Beijing, in Shaanxi province, according to the local fire...
 

 
LM-exoskeleton

Lockheed Martin’s exoskeleton wins design awards, honors

Lockheed Martin’s FORTIS exoskeleton received several accolades in 2014 highlighting its innovative technology design and its benefit to users in an industrial setting. This year, FORTIS was recognized with a Gold Spark Award...
 
 

DOD releases 2015 military pay, compensation rates

Dec. 22, the Department of Defense announced the 2015 military pay and compensation rates for service members, with most service members receiving a one percent increase in basic pay. The new rates for basic pay, basic allowance for housing, basic allowance for subsistence, and the cost of living allowance rates for the contiguous United States...
 
 

Astronics to scquire Armstrong Aerospace

Astronics Corporation, a leading provider of advanced technologies for the global aerospace and defense industries, announced today that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Armstrong Aerospace for approximately $51 million. The agreement is expected to close in January 2015, subject to normal closing requirements. Armstrong Aerospace, located in Itasca, Illinois, is a...
 




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>