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.


 
 

 

Headlines March 4, 2015

News: Pentagon: Another BRAC will save money - Pentagon planners have a new pitch to lawmakers skeptical of a fresh round of base closings: We promise we’ll save money this time.   Business: China’s new C919 will begin test flights this year - China’s new superjet will take to the skies for the first time later this...
 
 
Air Force photograph by SrA. Jensen Stidham

World War II pilot reunited with P-47

Air Force photograph by SrA. Jensen Stidham Retired Air National Guard Chief Warrant Officer 2 Robert Hertel, laughs while under the wing of a P-47 Thunderbolt during the Heritage Flight Training and Certification Course Feb. 2...
 
 

News Briefs March 4, 2015

General: 8,500 Islamic State fighters killed in Iraq so far The U.S.-led military coalition in Iraq has killed more than 8,500 Islamic State fighters since its bombing campaign began in August, the top general overseeing the coalition said March 3. Army Gen. Lloyd Austin, the commander of U.S. Central Command, said the Islamic State, which...
 

 
Lockheed Martin photograph

Turning up the heat

Lockheed Martin photograph Lockheed Martin ATHENA laser weapon system defeats a truck target by disabling the engine, demonstrating its military effectiveness against enemy ground vehicles. Latest evolution of Lockheed Martin l...
 
 

USO Visit

Air Force photograph by Jet Fabara Actor Vince Vaughn speaks with Edwards Airmen and 412th Security Forces Squadron members at the base library before introducing an advance screening of his new movie, “Unfinished Business,” at the base theater Feb. 28.
 
 

Sikorsky S-97 RAIDERô team begins final assembly of second aircraft

Sikorsky Aircraft Corp., a subsidiary of United Technologies Corp., announced March 4 the start of final assembly of the second S-97 RAIDERô helicopter at the company’s Development Flight Center. Along with a team of industry suppliers, Sikorsky is developing two RAIDERô prototypes to demonstrate the revolutionary new capabilities in improved maneuverability and flight speed. The...
 




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>