SpaceX Updates

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mr_mark

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact:
Emily Shanklin | Director, Marketing and Communications
media@SpaceX.com
310.363.6733

SPACEX SIGNS ARGENTINA'S SPACE AGENCY FOR TWO FALCON 9 LAUNCHES


Pair of SAOCOM Earth Observation Satellites to Launch between 2012 & 2013


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Hawthorne, California (April 16, 2009) – Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) has signed an agreement with CONAE, Argentina's National Commission on Space Activity, for two launches aboard SpaceX's Falcon 9 medium-to-heavy lift vehicle. The flights will send the SAOCOM 1A and 1B Earth observation satellites into sun-synchronous orbits, where they will provide imagery for natural resources monitoring, as well as emergency and disaster management.


The identical SAOCOM satellites each carry an L-band Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) instrument. Among other civil applications, the main purpose of the constellation is the measurement of the soil moisture over the Pampa Húmeda in Argentina. The two SAOCOM satellites will join four X-band SAR COSMO-SkyMed satellites from the Italian Space Agency (ASI), creating the Italian-Argentine System of Satellites for Emergency Management (SIASGE) constellation. The first three of the ASI satellites were launched in 2007 and 2008 with the fourth expected to fly in 2010.

"SpaceX is excited to be CONAE's launch service provider for the SAOCOM 1A and 1B missions," said Elon Musk, CEO and CTO of SpaceX. "The Falcon 9 launch vehicle has been designed to the highest level of reliability and performance; we look forward to helping ensure the success of the SAOCOM satellites."

The inaugural flight of Falcon 9 is scheduled for this year, with the first Dragon spacecraft scheduled to fly on a subsequent launch, both from SpaceX's launch facility at Cape Canaveral, Florida.

About CONAE

CONAE (Comisión Nacional de Actividades Espaciales, or in English, National Space Activities Commission) is Argentina's civilian agency in charge of national space activities. They have launched three satellites to date, and have numerous joint space efforts with Argentine industry and academia, as well as governmental space agencies around the world, including NASA, CSA, AEB/INPE (Brazil), ASI, CNES, ESA and agencies of several other nations.

About SpaceX

SpaceX is revolutionizing access to space by developing a family of launch vehicles and spacecraft intended to increase the reliability and reduce the cost of both manned and unmanned space transportation, ultimately by a factor of ten. With its Falcon line of launch vehicles, powered by internally-developed engines, SpaceX offers light, medium and heavy lift capabilities to deliver spacecraft into any altitude and inclination, from low-Earth to geosynchronous orbit to planetary missions.

On September 28, 2008, Falcon 1, designed and manufactured from the ground up by SpaceX, became the first privately developed liquid fuel rocket to orbit the Earth, demonstrating that through simplicity, both reliability and low cost can be achieved in commercial spaceflight.

As a winner of the NASA Commercial Orbital Transportation Services competition (COTS), SpaceX will conduct three flights of its Falcon 9 launch vehicle and Dragon spacecraft, culminating in Dragon berthing with the ISS. SpaceX is the only COTS contender that has the capability to return cargo and crew to Earth. NASA also has an option to demonstrate crew services to the International Space Station (ISS) using the Falcon 9 / Dragon system.

In addition, NASA recently selected the SpaceX Falcon 9 launch vehicle and Dragon spacecraft for the ISS Cargo Resupply Services (CRS) contract award. The contract includes 12 flights between 2010 and 2015 and represents a guaranteed minimum of 20,000 kg to be carried to the ISS.

Founded in 2002, the SpaceX team now numbers more than 660 full time employees, located primarily in Hawthorne, California, with additional locations, including SpaceX's Texas Test Facility in McGregor near Waco; offices in Washington DC; and launch facilities at Cape Canaveral, Florida, and the Marshall Islands in the Central Pacific.
 
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docm

Guest
Seems launching from Kwajalein or Vandenberg for that orbit. Probably Vandenberg - seems Kwajalein is too small for an F9 or F9H pad. Guesses?

Also: the F1-5/RazakSAT launch has been postponed a few weeks due to a problem with the F1.

Link....

RazakSAT launch delayed

By : Regina Lee

PUTRAJAYA, Fri:

The launch of the RazakSAT, Malaysia's second remote sensing satellite has been postponed until further notice due to "technical problems".

Due for lift-off on April 21, Science, Technology and Innovation Ministry secretary-general Datuk Abdul Hanan Alang Endut said the delay was because of problems with the launching vehicle.

The vehicle, Falcon 1, belonging to a company Space Exploration Technology (SpaceX), is to lift off the satellite from the launching pad at Omelek Island, Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Island.

Abdul Hanan said SpaceX will be doing the repairs which will take at least six weeks.

"The ministry agreed on the postponement after discussions, taking into consideration that the safety of our national asset, the RazakSAT, is of utmost importance," he said in a statement.
He assured that a new launching date for the satellite will be announced once the vehicle is safe and sound.

The RM150 million satellite will be the first to orbit the Equator.
 
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mr_mark

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:shock: Well it's not like this has happened with any other rocket. I'm sure that now they've found the problem, they'll fix it and move on. Remember the shuttle was down for several years so six weeks may not seem like much in the long run. This launch is critical so Spacex will do everything possible to make sure of success.
 
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docm

Guest
My guess: the 2nd stage just arrived so perhaps some shipping damage occurred on the flight to Kwaj or when loading/unloading. You wouldn't believe the condition freight I've received has been in :p
 
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scottb50

Guest
docm":1tnfpt4f said:
My guess: the 2nd stage just arrived so perhaps some shipping damage occurred on the flight to Kwaj or when loading/unloading. You wouldn't believe the condition freight I've received has been in :p
The design challenges for flight probably outweigh those for transport to the launch site for pretty much any component. From what I remember riding Amtrack and other railroads the trip from Utah to Florida for SRB segments must subject the cast propellant to a lot of stress.

I wonder about the initial Falcon 9, transported to Florida, assembled and erected then being dismantled and shipped back across country for more testing before re-shipping for re-assembly and launch.
 
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mr_mark

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Once again, I have not seen a secondary source to this report. The countdown clock continues. I wonder?
 
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docm

Guest
A European report states there was a vibration issue discovered. No word if it was discovered during a test fire or if it was vibration detected by accelerometers in a stages shipping container or whatever. Need an SpX update.
 
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ThereIWas2

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Perhaps real-life data from previous launches have revealed that the vibration is more aggressive than the original specs call out. The satellite builders would have been working from those documents.
 
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Swampcat

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LAUNCH OF RAZAKSAT POSTPONED

Hawthorne, California – April 20, 2009 – Due to a potential compatibility issue between the RazakSAT spacecraft and Falcon 1 launch vehicle, Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) and Astronautic Technology (M) Sdn Bhd (ATSB) have agreed to postpone the launch of ATSB's RazakSAT satellite.

While both the Falcon 1 vehicle and satellite passed all preliminary checkouts and are cleared for launch, a concern has been identified regarding the potential impact of predicted vehicle environments on the satellite. Based on these concerns, the SpaceX team is evaluating options to minimize this impact and ensure mission success.

“SpaceX is committed to the safety and success of our customer's payloads,” said Elon Musk, CEO and CTO of SpaceX. “Our engineers are addressing this issue and we look forward to launching RazakSAT once the issue is fully understood and resolved.”

“Both teams are confident the issue will be resolved,“ said Dr. Ahmad Sabirin, CEO of ATSB. “We are all looking forward to a
successful launch.“

Updates and information regarding a new launch date will be available on http://www.SpaceX.com.
 
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summoner

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Thanks for the update swampcat, but please don't use that color anymore it's like secret coding. ;)
 
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Swampcat

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summoner":29bs7vkv said:
Thanks for the update swampcat, but please don't use that color anymore it's like secret coding. ;)
:oops:

I hate when that happens.
 
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Boris_Badenov

Guest
This is an email I just received.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact:
Emily Shanklin | Director, Marketing and Communications
media@SpaceX.com
310.363.6733

SPACEX DRACO THRUSTER SUCCESSFULLY COMPLETES QUALIFICATION TESTING


Precision rocket engine to control Dragon spacecraft on approach to International Space Station


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McGregor, Texas (April 23, 2009) – Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) successfully completed a rigorous qualification of its new Draco spacecraft thruster and Draco propulsion tank at the SpaceX Test Facility in McGregor, Texas.


The Draco thruster test series included 42 firings with over 4,600 pulses of varying lengths and was performed in a vacuum test chamber to simulate the space environment. The series resulted in a total firing time of over 50 minutes on a single thruster.

SpaceX's Dragon spacecraft, recently selected by NASA as part of their Commercial Resupply Services (CRS) contract to carry cargo to the International Space Station (ISS) and return cargo to Earth, utilizes 18 Draco thrusters to provide precision control in orbit and while approaching the ISS.

"The Draco thrusters allow Dragon to maneuver in close proximity to the ISS in preparation for berthing or docking," said Tom Mueller VP Propulsion, SpaceX. "Maximum control during these procedures is critical for the safety of the station and its inhabitants."

Draco thrusters generate approximately 90 pounds of thrust using storable propellants with long on-orbit lifetimes. The use of these propellants provides the option for a crew-carrying Dragon spacecraft to remain berthed at the ISS for up to a year.

SpaceX's Dragon spacecraft is scheduled to make its first flight in 2009 as part of NASA's Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) program. Under COTS, SpaceX will demonstrate the Falcon 9 / Dragon system's ability to approach, berth, and transport cargo to and from the ISS. Following the demonstration of these capabilities, SpaceX will fly twelve cargo flights to the ISS for NASA's CRS contract.

Falcon 9, SpaceX's medium lift rocket, is scheduled for its inaugural flight later this year from SpaceX’s launch site in Cape Canaveral, Florida.

About SpaceX

SpaceX is developing a family of launch vehicles and spacecraft intended to increase the reliability and reduce the cost of both manned and unmanned space transportation, ultimately by a factor of ten. With the Falcon 1 and Falcon 9 vehicles, SpaceX offers highly reliable/cost-efficient launch capabilities for spacecraft insertion into any orbital altitude and inclination. Starting in 2010, SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft will provide Earth–to-LEO transport of pressurized and unpressurized cargo, including resupply to the International Space Station (ISS).

Founded in 2002, the SpaceX team now numbers over 650, with corporate headquarters in Hawthorne, California.

A video tour of SpaceX's Texas Test Site conducted by Tom Mueller, VP Propulsion, can be viewed here.








Photo Caption: The new SpaceX Draco thruster engine undergoing qualification test firing at the SpaceX Test Facility in McGregor, Texas. The Dragon spacecraft uses a total of 18 Draco thrusters for maneuvering, attitude control, and to initiate the capsule's return to Earth. First flight of the Dragon is scheduled for this year. Credit: SpaceX.






Photo Caption: Graphic showing SpaceX Draco thruster engines firing to separate the Dragon spacecraft from the Falcon 9 second stage. Dragon uses a total of 18 Draco thrusters for maneuvering, attitude control, and to initiate the capsule's return to Earth. First flight of the Dragon is scheduled for this year. Credit: SpaceX.
 
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emudude

Guest
:D Makes me happy to hear news reports of our private space industry's successes. Anyone know when they're going to hit that "factor of ten" mark?
 
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scottb50

Guest
Re:

Boris_Badenov":1ahh665u said:
Elon Musk's vision:... Musk hopes to have his own astronauts flying SpaceX's Dragon capsule into orbit, transforming the macho test-pilot astronaut into a geek-friendly corps selected for technical ability, rather than their facility with a joystick. . Never roll in the mud with a pig. You'll both get dirty & the pig likes it.
Piloting will always be a skill. There will be a need for piloting manned flights for a very long time. Just hope they don't forget the dog!
 
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mr_mark

Guest
COTS D FUNDED! NASA and the White House have agreed for the first time to release money to the human spaceflight option in its Commercial Orbital Transportation Services, or COTS program.

Under an agreement hammered out with the White House, NASA announced today on Capitol Hill that it will provide the COTS program with $150 million of the $400 million for human exploration given to NASA under President Barack Obama's stimulus plan.

The money could help shorten the gap in American human space flight between the retirement of the space shuttle next year and the first flight of NASA's Constellation program, now scheduled for 2015 but believed to be slipping fast because of technical and financial woes.

According to industry insiders, about $80 million of the $150 million is specifically for a "crewed launch demo." The rest was broken down into $42 million for a docking system to the international space station, $20 million for a cargo transportation demo and $8 million for miscellaneous aspects of the COTS program, including human rating. The remaining $250 million of the stimulus money for human exploration will go to the Constellation program.

While acting NASA administrator Chris Scolese told Congress today that the $80 million for a "crewed launch demo" is not technically COTS D -- the human transportation part of the COTS program -- COTS D advocates are hailing it as a victory.

"It's a start," said one Washington space consultant.

Another industry insider pushing for the program said while $80 million is a far cry from what's needed, "I consider getting COTS-D started a major victory."

SpaceX, the California-based rocket company owned by dot.com millionaire Elon Musk, tried earlier this year to get $350 million of the stimulus funds set aside for COTS -D. The request was rebuffed by Congress.

SpaceX is further along than any other commercial rocket company in designing a rocket capable of carrying humans to the space station. The company's Falcon 9 rocket, which is supposed to launch its maiden test flight later this year from Cape Canaveral, was designed for human transport. Its Dragon capsule is being designed to ferry up to seven astronauts to the space station. The capsule also has a cargo configuration.

COTS is a NASA program to coordinate the commercial delivery of crew and cargo to the space station. The program was announced on Jan. 18, 2006. NASA has suggested that commercial services to ISS will be necessary through at least 2015 after the space shuttle retires next year. The agency has also contracted with Russia to use Soyuz rockets and capsules to ferry astronauts to the space station.

The program has four "options': COTS A, for launching unpressurized cargo carriers to the station; COTS B, for launching pressurized cargo; COTS C, for launching pressurized cargo to the station that can be returned to Earth (so-called downmass capability); and COTS D, crew launch and return.

The idea behind COTS was to save NASA money. Instead of flying payloads to the space station on government-operated vehicles, NASA would spend $500 million to finance the demonstration of orbital transportation services from commercial providers.

Unlike any previous NASA project, the proposed spacecraft are intended to be owned and financed primarily by the companies themselves and will be designed to serve both U.S. government agencies and commercial customers.

SpaceX won and negotiated the right to funding for all COTS options in 2006. The only other COTS participant, Orbital Sciences Corp. of Virginia, bid only on COTS A and COTS B. Both SpaceX and Orbital have also won contracts from NASA to actually resupply the space station once the shuttle retires.

Many members of Congress have been reluctant to fully fund COTS D out of concern that it could look like a gift for a single company, SpaceX. But COTS D advocates have said that the option might be the only chance to fill the gap in American spaceflight after the shuttle retires.

The $250 million for Constellation is unlikely to help speed up the program, which is already about $2 billion over budget, according to NASA documents.

The rest of the stimulus money for NASA programs will be distributed as follows: Science: $400 million ($325M for Earth Science, $75M for astrophysics); Aeronautics: $150M; Cross-agency support: $50M; and
$2M for NASA's inspector general office.

The total stimulus funding for NASA was $1 billion.
 
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Boris_Badenov

Guest
mr_mark":uorww809 said:
COTS D FUNDED!
Not quite, but it's a start.
They have been discussing this over at NASA Space Flight too & if they put this out for bid & try to pick 2 recipients they won't have enough money to do more than get some really cool vaporware.
 
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StrandedonEarthsince1970

Guest
Just out of random curiosity: Does anyone know if SpaceX and Bigelow use metric or imperial measurements on their hardware?
 
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MeteorWayne

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Have no idea, but I suspect like all intelligent lifeforms, they use metric :)
 
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