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  [Discuss] SpaceX CRS-1 space station mission (Page 1)

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Author Topic:   [Discuss] SpaceX CRS-1 space station mission
Robert Pearlman
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posted 08-24-2012 03:35 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Editor's note: In an effort to keep the topic SpaceX Dragon CRS-1 flight to the space station focused on status updates, feedback and opinions are directed to this thread.

Please use this topic to discuss the first of SpaceX's 12 contracted cargo flights to the International Space Station under the Commercial Resupply Services (CRS) Program.

J Blackburn
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posted 08-24-2012 03:36 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for J Blackburn   Click Here to Email J Blackburn     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Does anyone know the launch date for the first full Dragon resupply mission to the ISS? I had read that the launch was scheduled for September 24, 2012 but after Charles Bolden's announcement yesterday I have read several articles circulating with a October launch date. However no specific date was given.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 08-24-2012 03:38 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The CRS-1 flight is tentatively scheduled for Oct. 8.

J Blackburn
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posted 08-24-2012 03:59 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for J Blackburn   Click Here to Email J Blackburn     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks Robert! I am scheduled to be in Florida through the 8th and hope to catch the launch.

Ben
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posted 08-24-2012 11:12 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ben   Click Here to Email Ben     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
If October 8, launch time should come sometime in the late evening I estimate. Likely a night launch unless it delays a few days, though the estimate could be off an hour or two.

Edit: Confirmed, it is just about 8:12 p.m. EDT if Oct. 8 (1212 GMT Oct. 9). So if the launch slips to Oct. 9 or 10 it becomes twilight (sunset is 7 p.m. EDT on the dot those days) and then daytime.

SkyMan1958
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posted 08-31-2012 10:38 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for SkyMan1958   Click Here to Email SkyMan1958     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Does anyone know how many kilos of supplies CRS-1 is supposed to take to the ISS? I see that the M-16M Progress brought ~2,650 kilos of supplies, and I'm intrigued to know what the cargo capability of the Dragon is to the ISS. Thanks.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 08-31-2012 11:21 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Per NASA's fact sheet, the CRS Dragon has an up mass of 7,300 pounds (3,310 kilograms) of pressurized and unpressuried cargo to the ISS, and a down mass of 5,700 pounds (2,600 kilograms).

Ben
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posted 09-21-2012 04:55 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ben   Click Here to Email Ben     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
NASA and SpaceX announced September 20 that October 7 is the targeted liftoff date for SpX-1. Launch time is 8:34 p.m. EDT, and the launch time gets 23-25 minutes earlier each day. Sunset is right around 7:00 p.m.

MarylandSpace
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posted 10-03-2012 06:18 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for MarylandSpace   Click Here to Email MarylandSpace     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Will this Sunday's SpaceX launch be visible at all along the east coast of the USA?

nojnj
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posted 10-06-2012 01:07 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for nojnj   Click Here to Email nojnj     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I assume it would be good viewing from Jetty Park?

Robert Pearlman
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posted 10-06-2012 01:13 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Quoting Ben Cooper's interview with Space.com:
The best viewing spot requires a ticket through NASA's Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, but offers an incredible view at only 4 miles from the Falcon's launch pad. Transportation to this spot, called the NASA Causeway, is selling for $20 plus admission to the Visitor Complex ($50 + tax for adults and $40 + tax for children ages 3-11).

"Because SpaceX launches from a different launch pad than the shuttle, it's a lot closer to the Causeway," Cooper said. "I believe it's the closest viewing site they've ever sold tickets for."

...For would-be observers unwilling or unable to buy tickets through Kennedy Space Center, there are plenty of great places to watch that don't require a fee.

Cooper advises people to view from Port Canaveral, a popular cruise ship port near the space center that's only 8 miles from the SpaceX launch pad. He recommended watching from the side of the road on Route 401, the street behind the cruise terminals, or on Route 528 (the latter has more room for parking, he said).

Also see Ben's viewing guide at LaunchPhotography.com.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 10-06-2012 01:16 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by MarylandSpace:
Will this Sunday's SpaceX launch be visible at all along the east coast of the USA?
Yes, but as Falcon 9 is much smaller than shuttle, it will significantly less bright.

Ben
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posted 10-06-2012 01:27 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ben   Click Here to Email Ben     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
No, you don't want to go to Jetty Park. If you choose to view for free down there, Port Canaveral on 401 is the spot to go. But I highly recommend the tickets, they have never sold tickets for this close a view before.

nojnj
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posted 10-06-2012 02:42 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for nojnj   Click Here to Email nojnj     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks, I appreciate the information everyone!

Fezman92
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posted 10-07-2012 07:59 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Fezman92   Click Here to Email Fezman92     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
That was an amazing launch. Very cool to see history in the making. Hope this brings up my Tesla stock.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 10-07-2012 08:04 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
With Dragon now bound for the space station, I can share that on Thursday (Oct. 11), the same day the hatches to the capsule will be opened, NASA has scheduled 10 minutes for collectSPACE.com to interview ISS Expedition 33 commander Suni Williams live from onboard the orbiting laboratory...

Fezman92
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posted 10-07-2012 08:18 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Fezman92   Click Here to Email Fezman92     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Congrats on getting that Robert!

Robert Pearlman
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posted 10-07-2012 08:32 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Though it didn't seem to affect placing Dragon into orbit, something came loose from the Falcon 9 at one minute, 20 seconds into flight:

Robert Pearlman
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posted 10-07-2012 09:11 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
SpaceX president Gwynne Shotwell said during the post-flight press conference that there was an anomaly during ascent with engine no. 1. She said she would share details once she knew them.

Falcon 9 is designed to be able to lose an engine and still reach orbit safely.

Larry McGlynn
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posted 10-07-2012 09:17 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Larry McGlynn   Click Here to Email Larry McGlynn     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Bryan McKay and I talked with Suni on the Polycom at her parent's home today. It was a little over an hour chat. She toured the station for us. Saw Aki working out on the bike.

She was surprised about the ice cream. They are now looking forward to some ice cream on station, so it was great to see the CRS-1 launch be successful.

Rusty B
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posted 10-07-2012 09:20 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Rusty B   Click Here to Email Rusty B     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
If you step slowly through the Youtube video, at 1:20 there seems to be a bright flare (explosion), then some dark objects are seen (one triangular shaped), then a trail of darker smoke in the exhaust plume from the area of the where the bright flare was. Then the video seems to dim as the rocket goes into a thin cloud layer.

Rusty B
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posted 10-07-2012 10:06 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Rusty B   Click Here to Email Rusty B     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Someone has created a slow motion video of the event:

Robert Pearlman
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posted 10-07-2012 10:17 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Elon Musk has provided a statement to Spaceflight Now:
SpaceX founder Elon Musk said in an email to Spaceflight Now that the rocket "detected an anomaly on one of the nine (first stage) engines and shut it down."

"As designed, the flight computer then recomputed a new ascent profile in realtime to reach the target orbit, which is why the burn times were a bit longer," he said.

"Like Saturn 5, which experienced engine loss on two flights, the Falcon 9 is designed to handle an engine flameout and still complete its mission. I believe F9 is the only rocket flying today that, like a modern airliner, is capable of completing a flight successfully even after losing an engine. There was no effect on Dragon or the space station resupply mission."

Rusty B
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posted 10-07-2012 11:00 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Rusty B   Click Here to Email Rusty B     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It appears the engine exploded. It didn't appear to be a graceful shutdown. There appeared to be engine and fairing parts flying all over the place and then a plume of unburned fuel or oxidizer for a few seconds. If this had been a crewed mission, would it have triggered an automatic launch escape system abort? Does it wait to see if the vehicle hangs together (as it did) or get the crew and spacecraft the heck out of there?

Robert Pearlman
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posted 10-08-2012 12:09 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Appearances can be deceiving (though I agree the anomaly appears catastrophic), but even if the engine did explode, the flight software compensated as designed to safely put Dragon into orbit.

Any hypothetical abort decision for a future vehicle would be based on the flight software assessing the parameters and acting as programmed.

Clark Lindsey at the NewSpace Watch blog notes:

It's also good to point out that the upgraded Merlin 1D engines will be used after the next flight.

Jay Chladek
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posted 10-08-2012 03:03 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jay Chladek   Click Here to Email Jay Chladek     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I don't know if I would use the term "explosion" (which would be an uncontrolled combustion). It looks like (and I admit this is HIGHLY speculative given my very small knowledge of liquid rocket engines compared to somebody who works in the field) that the engine might have experienced a nozzle failure of some kind which caused it to shatter on one side since the debris looks slightly cylindrical or half cone shaped in the slow motion video. Chances are once chamber pressure was noticed to have dropped off, the automatic systems would have detected it and shut off the fuel and oxidizer flow, shutting down the engine before they got more of an uncontained combustion which could have been very catastrophic.

As for it causing a hypothetical abort of a manned launch... too little information at this time. But considering the rest of the vehicle remained in control and it doesn't seem as though any of the damage caused by this engine transferred to any of the others, reducing their performance, I doubt it.

Still, from what it looks like on the footage, I would say SpaceX dodged a bullet and they will likely need to investigate this failure more in depth, preferably before the next supply flight. Makes me wonder if they might have more of an urgency to perhaps try to recover this first stage as well. The biggest key will be to determine if the nozzle casing failed first or if something else caused the nozzle casing to fail. Hopefully SpaceX has enough data points to get an idea of what happened without need of the hardware itself.

cycleroadie
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posted 10-08-2012 04:03 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for cycleroadie   Click Here to Email cycleroadie     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
They dodged a major bullet regardless. Had that debris from the engine impacted other engines when the breakup occurred, it would have been a bad day. Good reason for nine low thrust engines though, lose one or two and you can keep going.

GACspaceguy
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posted 10-08-2012 04:51 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for GACspaceguy   Click Here to Email GACspaceguy     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by MarylandSpace:
Will this Sunday's SpaceX launch be visible at all along the east coast of the USA?
We managed to catch a few glimpses, through the clouds, of the launch from here in Guyton, GA.

328KF
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posted 10-08-2012 08:48 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for 328KF   Click Here to Email 328KF     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I expressed some concern early on about having all of those motors clustered together like that and what might happen if one lets go. Given what we see in the video, it is a real testament to the validity of the design that something like can happen and the vehicle still reaches orbit.

I understood that there was substantial shielding between the engines, but if that is the nozzle and everything spraying around, it's amazing that other exhaust bells weren't damaged to the point of degredation or failure.

I believe it was Al Shepard who was quoted as saying, "Well, I'm glad we got THAT one out of the way!"

Rusty B
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posted 10-08-2012 10:03 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Rusty B   Click Here to Email Rusty B     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Here is a frame by frame video showing the event in stop frame slow motion:

issman1
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posted 10-08-2012 12:45 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for issman1     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Musk experienced very good fortune, and rightly so. He who dares wins!

Robert Pearlman
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posted 10-08-2012 12:49 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
SpaceX has released a statement, that in part says:
Approximately one minute and 19 seconds into last night's launch, the Falcon 9 rocket detected an anomaly on one first stage engine. Initial data suggests that one of the rocket's nine Merlin engines, Engine 1, lost pressure suddenly and an engine shutdown command was issued immediately. We know the engine did not explode, because we continued to receive data from it. Our review indicates that the fairing that protects the engine from aerodynamic loads ruptured due to the engine pressure release, and that none of Falcon 9's other eight engines were impacted by this event.

As designed, the flight computer then recomputed a new ascent profile in real time to ensure Dragon's entry into orbit for subsequent rendezvous and berthing with the ISS. This was achieved, and there was no effect on Dragon or the cargo resupply mission.

Falcon 9 did exactly what it was designed to do. Like the Saturn V, which experienced engine loss on two flights, Falcon 9 is designed to handle an engine out situation and still complete its mission.

We will continue to review all flight data in order to understand the cause of the anomaly, and will devote the resources necessary to identify the problem and apply those lessons to future flights. We will provide additional information as it becomes available.

Jay Chladek
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posted 10-08-2012 03:05 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jay Chladek   Click Here to Email Jay Chladek     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I wish they wouldn't keep bringing up the Saturn V in their press releases as the J-2 engines which shut down on Apollo 6 and 13 were a different animal from the Merlin (LOX and LHX for one thing compared to RP-1 Kerosene and LOX). I don't know if a reason was tracked down for why the center engine cutoff early on Apollo 13, but the Apollo 6 failures were somewhat well understood and easily corrected.

Yes, both designs have an onboard guidance computer that could compensate on the fly for an engine failure. But so do many other rockets out there. It is just a rare thing that an engine failure (if that is indeed what it was) tends to allow a rocket to continue its flight.

One thing that makes SpaceX's situation somewhat unique though is this was a first stage engine failure as the Saturn V ones were second stage. Only thing I've heard of that might compared would be a couple of the old Saturn 1 Block 1 tests where an H-1 engine was commanded to shut down prematurely to see how the rest of the vehicle compensated. But those were test flights as opposed to all up ones with an operational payload onboard. I don't recall any other rocket system laying claim to having an engine problem that early and continuing a successful mission.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 10-08-2012 06:11 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Orbcomm release
Orbcomm Launches Prototype OG2 Satellite

OG2 satellite's insertion orbit lower than planned

ORBCOMM Inc., a global satellite data communications company focused on two-way Machine-to-Machine (M2M) communications, today announced that the first prototype of its second generation of satellites (OG2) was launched on the Cargo Re-Supply Services (CRS-1) mission aboard the SpaceX Falcon 9 launch vehicle from Cape Canaveral, FL, on October 7, 2012 at 8:35 p.m. EDT.

The OG2 prototype satellite, flying as a secondary payload on this mission, was separated from the Falcon 9 launch vehicle at approximately 9:00 p.m. EDT. However, due to an anomaly on one of the Falcon 9's first stage engines, the rocket did not comply with a pre-planned International Space Station (ISS) safety gate to allow it to execute the second burn.

For this reason, the OG2 prototype satellite was deployed into an orbit that was lower than intended. ORBCOMM and Sierra Nevada Corporation engineers have been in contact with the satellite and are working to determine if and the extent to which the orbit can be raised to an operational orbit using the satellite's on-board propulsion system.

In mid-2013, ORBCOMM plans to launch an additional eight OG2 satellites on a Falcon 9, which will be placed into orbits that are optimized to deliver the best coverage for the enhanced OG2 messaging services. The remainder of the constellation of 18 OG2 satellites is expected to be launched on a Falcon 9 in 2014.

ORBCOMM's OG2 satellites will be the primary payload on both of these two planned launches to directly insert the OG2 satellites into the operational orbit.

garymilgrom
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posted 10-09-2012 09:01 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for garymilgrom   Click Here to Email garymilgrom     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
SpaceX now says a shroud exploded causing the debris.

And I agree with Jay - it takes some large attachments to compare this rocket with the Saturn V. There really is no comparison.

Jim Behling
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posted 10-09-2012 11:21 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jim Behling   Click Here to Email Jim Behling     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Jay Chladek:
I wish they wouldn't keep bringing up the Saturn V in their press releases as the J-2 engines which shut down on Apollo 6 and 13 were a different animal from the Merlin (LOX and LHX for one thing compared to RP-1 Kerosene and LOX).

Why not? The same philosophy is applicable. Also, the type of propellants and the reason for shutdown has no bearing on the matter. The vehicles react the same way.

Rusty B
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posted 10-09-2012 11:59 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Rusty B   Click Here to Email Rusty B     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
With the engines in the first stage and second stage, the Falcon 9 is closer to the Saturn IB.

garymilgrom
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posted 10-09-2012 01:12 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for garymilgrom   Click Here to Email garymilgrom     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Jim Behling:
Why not? The same philosophy is applicable. Also, the type of propellants and the reason for shutdown has no bearing on the matter. The vehicles react the same way.

With all due respect Jim, "Like the Saturn V" is misleading. That rocket could deliver 118,000 kg to LEO. The Falcon 9 can deliver only 9,900 kg. The Saturn V took men to the moon while the Falcon 9 has yet to take any person anywhere.

There are significant differences in every system used by the rockets. The fact that both can burn their remaining engines longer to overcome a loss of thrust in one is a very small similarity - in my opinion an insignificant one given the other differences.

I would prefer they used language similar to "like many other multi-engined rocket stages". A small point to be sure, but with a significant emotional component to some.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 10-09-2012 01:28 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Musk isn't blanket comparing the Falcon 9 to the Saturn V; he is correctly pointing out that his launch vehicle is the first since the Saturn V to have the capability to lose an engine and still reach the desired orbit.

garymilgrom
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posted 10-09-2012 02:07 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for garymilgrom   Click Here to Email garymilgrom     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Robert I was not aware of that. I thought any multi engine rocket could do this. In that case I see others have a strong point and I will stop criticizing the use of "like the Saturn V".

Kudos to SpaceX for this accomplishment.

On edit - didn't the STS have this capability?


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