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  SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and launches (Page 2)

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Author Topic:   SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and launches
Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 27328
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 06-07-2010 07:01 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Photo Gallery: Inaugural SpaceX Falcon 9 soars into orbit
"We put our Falcon 9 rocket into orbit, it achieved a near bullseye on the target. We would have been excited even to have the first stage work or get some of the way through the second stage burn," said SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk. "It has been a great day."

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 27328
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 06-16-2010 08:19 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Iridium and SpaceX release
Iridium and SpaceX Sign Major Commercial Launch Contract

Contract for Launch of Iridium NEXT Satellite Constellation Represents a New Benchmark in Value for Commercial Launch Services

Iridium Communications Inc. and Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) are pleased to announce that the Falcon 9 will be a major provider of launch services for Iridium NEXT, Iridium's next-generation satellite constellation. The $492 million contract, while being the largest single commercial launch deal ever signed, nonetheless represents a new benchmark in cost-effective satellite delivery to space.

Iridium operates the world's largest commercial satellite constellation, and is the only communications company to offer mobile voice and data services across the entire globe. SpaceX's Falcon 9 launch vehicle will carry multiple Iridium NEXT satellites per vehicle, inserting the satellites into a low-earth orbit (LEO) as Iridium replaces its current satellite constellation. The Iridium NEXT satellites are set to launch from Vandenberg Air Force Base (VAFB) in California between 2015 and 2017.

The contract stipulates that SpaceX will provide launch services to Iridium over a two-year period starting in early 2015. Iridium is also in discussions with, and expects to contract with, at least one additional launch services provider. Launch services are included in the total estimated cost of $2.9 billion for Iridium NEXT.

"This is the third major building block on the road to Iridium NEXT," said Matt Desch, CEO of Iridium. "Two weeks ago, we announced our fixed-price contract with Thales Alenia Space. We also announced our Coface-backed financing plan, and today I am pleased to announce our partnership with SpaceX for extremely cost-effective launch services."

Added Desch, "We are proud to be partnered with SpaceX, and want to congratulate Elon Musk and the entire SpaceX team on its successful inaugural Falcon 9 launch. Hands down, SpaceX offered us the best value coupled with an unwavering commitment to flawless performance and reliability. SpaceX has combined the best of aerospace and commercial best practices to design reliable and cost-effective access to space, and Iridium will be the beneficiary of that effort."

Desch further commented, "SpaceX also offered dedicated Iridium NEXT launch slots within its manifest, which currently has 24 Falcon 9 flights scheduled ahead of us, including those for commercial and government customers, during the coming five years. Clearly, SpaceX has established itself as a significant player in the launch industry, and we have great confidence that SpaceX will build on its recent success and continue to cement an impressive track record of successful space flight in advance of our mission."

The June 4 inaugural launch of SpaceX's Falcon 9 achieved 100 percent of its mission objectives, culminating in a near bull's-eye insertion to its targeted 250km circular orbit. SpaceX has been working with Iridium and Thales Alenia Space, the prime contractor for Iridium NEXT, to ensure compatibility between the satellite design, the Falcon 9 vehicle and the Iridium NEXT program schedule. This full coordination positions Iridium, SpaceX and Thales Alenia Space for a successful multi-year process of designing, building and launching Iridium NEXT.

"Iridium NEXT is now our largest commercial satellite launch customer and we are excited to play such an integral part in the most significant commercial space program underway today," said Elon Musk, CEO, SpaceX. "We are impressed by Iridium's comprehensive approach and diligence in its planning as the company prepares for the design, build and launch of Iridium NEXT. SpaceX greatly appreciates Iridium's efficient approach to satellite production – an approach we share when it comes to our launch vehicles. As the next generation of the world's only global satellite constellation that reliably covers 100 percent of the Earth's surface, the implementation of the Iridium NEXT satellites will mark a significant achievement in mobile satellite communications, and SpaceX is looking forward to making it happen."

The SpaceX Falcon 9 is a medium-to-heavy lift, two-stage launch vehicle capable of lifting approximately 11 tons to LEO. Designed to the highest levels of reliability and performance, NASA selected Falcon 9, along with the SpaceX Dragon spacecraft, to resupply the International Space Station starting in 2011. This $1.6 billion contract represents 12 flights to and from the International Space Station. Further validating the reliability and robustness of commercial launch, President Obama recently decided to turn over astronaut transport to the U.S. commercial sector, specifically mentioning the example of Falcon 9 in his historic speech at Cape Canaveral. The U.S. government's confidence in SpaceX provided further validation for Iridium's decision.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

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From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 06-26-2010 11:27 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The inaugural Falcon 9's upper stage is expected to reenter the atmosphere on Sunday, June 27.

Update: According to US Strategic Command, SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket reentered Earth's atmosphere on June 27th at 50 minutes past midnight UT (+/- 2 hours). [via SpaceWeather]

Robert Pearlman
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From: Houston, TX
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posted 06-28-2010 08:32 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The Canadian Press reports that the Canadian Space Agency has become the third customer for SpaceX's Falcon 9 launch services.
In an interview with The Canadian Press, CSA president Steve MacLean said he expected the CASSIOPE communications satellite to be launched next year by SpaceX...

"I believe that commercial enterprise should be encouraged -- but there are conditions on that," MacLean said Tuesday.

"Once they get a track record under them (at SpaceX), ...once you have solved all the problems and have two successful launches in a row, the third is bound to be a success as well."

The CSA president did not have an exact date for the launch of the CASSIOPE satellite, saying it could fly mid-2011 at the earliest.

MacLean said the space agency got a discount for the flight because it is one of SpaceX's first customers.

issman1
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From: UK
Registered: Apr 2005

posted 06-14-2011 03:25 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for issman1     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
SpaceX has secured yet another contract to launch the Thaicom 6 telecommunications satellite from Launch Complex 40 in Florida in 2013.
SpaceX Secures Launch Contract in Major Asian Market

Thai satellite company THAICOM Plc. has chosen Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) to launch the Thaicom 6 telecommunications satellite into a geosynchronous transfer orbit (GTO) from its Cape Canaveral launch site in the second quarter of 2013.

The contract brings another international launch to the United States to fly with SpaceX. Thaicom is the eighth non-U.S. customer manifested for upcoming flights aboard the Falcon 9.

"This deal highlights the confidence that satellite operators have in SpaceX capabilities, and is the latest example of the effect SpaceX is having on the international commercial launch market," said Elon Musk, SpaceX chief executive officer (CEO) and chief technical officer (CTO). "Asia is a critical market and SpaceX is honored to support its growing launch needs with a reliable U.S.-based solution."

The Thaicom 6 satellite is designed to serve the growing satellite television market in South and South-East Asia, as well as Southern Africa. Built by Orbital Sciences Corporation of Dulles, VA, and expected to weigh about 3,200 kilograms at launch, the satellite will operate from 78.5 degrees east and carry 18 C-band and eight Ku-band transponders. Thaicom 6 is planned to be in service by the middle of 2013.

Arak Chonlatanon, CEO of Thaicom Plc., said, "The Falcon 9 will serve our unique needs at Thaicom. This dedicated launch vehicle is both cost-effective and best-matched to our requirements. We look forward to working closely with the SpaceX team to ensure that the Thaicom 6 satellite will be successfully launched."

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 27328
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 06-25-2012 04:24 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
SpaceX release
SpaceX's Merlin 1D Engine Achieves Full Mission Duration Firing

Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) announces that its Merlin 1D engine has achieved a full mission duration firing and multiple restarts at target thrust and specific impulse (Isp).

The engine firing was for 185 seconds with 147,000 pounds of thrust, the full duration and power required for a Falcon 9 rocket launch. The tests took place at SpaceX's rocket development facility in McGregor, Texas.

"This is another important milestone in our efforts to push the boundaries of space technology," said SpaceX CEO and Chief Designer Elon Musk. "With the Merlin 1D powering the Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy rockets, SpaceX will be capable of carrying a full range of payloads to orbit."

The Merlin 1D builds on the proven technology of the Merlin engines used on the first three flights of Falcon 9, including the recent historic mission to the International Space Station.

With nine Merlins on the first stage, the Falcon 9 rocket will produce nearly 1.5 million pounds of thrust in a vacuum. An enhanced design makes the Merlin 1D the most efficient booster engine ever built, with a vacuum thrust-to-weight ratio exceeding 150, while still maintaining the structural and thermal safety margins needed to carry astronauts.

Additionally, as SpaceX continues to fulfill an extensive manifest of launches, the new engine is designed for improved manufacturability by using higher efficiency processes, increased robotic construction and reduced parts count.

The Merlin 1D engines will first see flight on Falcon 9 Flight 6, expected to launch in 2013.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 27328
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 07-17-2012 09:46 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
NASA release
NASA selects launch services contract for Jason-3 mission

NASA has selected Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) of Hawthorne, Calif., to launch the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) Jason-3 spacecraft in December 2014 aboard a Falcon 9 v1.0 rocket from Complex 4 at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.

The total value of the Jason-3 launch service is approximately $82 million. This estimated cost includes the task ordered launch service for the Falcon 9 v1.0, plus additional services under other contracts for payload processing, launch vehicle integration, mission-unique launch site ground support and tracking, data and telemetry services. NASA is the procurement agent for NOAA.

Jason-3 is an operational ocean altimetry mission designed to measure precisely sea surface height to monitor ocean circulation and sea level. Jason-3 will follow in the tradition of previous missions such as TOPEX/Poseidon, Jason-1 and the Ocean Surface Topography Mission/Jason-2. The Jason-3 mission will be developed and operated as part of an international effort led by NOAA and the European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites in collaboration with NASA and the French space agency, Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales.

Processed data from the satellite will be used in a broad range of applications including operational ocean and weather forecasting, ocean wave modeling, hurricane intensification prediction, seasonal forecasting, El Nino and La Nina forecasting and climate research. The data will help address questions about global climate change.

The Launch Services Program at NASA's Kennedy Space Center is responsible for launch vehicle program management of the Jason-3 launch services.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 27328
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 03-20-2013 03:52 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
SpaceX release
SpaceX's Merlin 1D Engine Achieves Flight Qualification

Space Exploration Technologies' (SpaceX) Merlin 1D engine has achieved flight qualification, a major milestone for the next generation Merlin engine. Through a 28 test qualification program, the Merlin 1D accumulated 1,970 seconds of total test time, the equivalent run time of over 10 full mission durations, and is now fully qualified to fly on the Falcon 9 rocket.

The program included four tests at or above the power (147,000 pounds of thrust) and duration (185 seconds) required for a Falcon 9 rocket launch. The Merlin 1D engine was also tested at propellant inlet and operating conditions that were well outside the bounds of expected flight conditions.

SpaceX's testing program demonstrated a ratio of 4:1 for critical engine life parameters such as firing duration and restart capacity to the engine's expected flight requirements. The industry standard is 2:1.

"The Merlin 1D successfully performed every test throughout this extremely rigorous qualification program," said Elon Musk, SpaceX CEO and chief designer. "With flight qualification now complete, we look forward to flying the first Merlin 1D engines on Falcon 9's Flight 6 this year."

The Merlin 1D builds on the technology of the Merlin engines used on the first five flights of Falcon 9. With nine Merlin 1Ds on the first stage, the Falcon 9 rocket will produce nearly 1.5 million pounds of thrust in a vacuum. The Merlin 1D has a vacuum thrust-to-weight ratio exceeding 150, the best of any liquid rocket engine in history. This enhanced design makes the Merlin 1D the most efficient booster engine ever built, while still maintaining the structural and thermal safety margins needed to carry astronauts. Additionally, the new engine is designed for improved manufacturability by using higher efficiency processes, increased robotic construction and reduced parts count.

Testing took place at SpaceX's rocket development facility in McGregor, Texas.


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