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  [Discuss] Orbital Sciences A-ONE Antares test flight

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Author Topic:   [Discuss] Orbital Sciences A-ONE Antares test flight
Robert Pearlman
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posted 03-27-2013 12:33 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: To keep the topic [COTS] Orbital Sciences Antares A-ONE test flight focused on status updates, feedback and opinions are directed to this thread.

Please use this topic to discuss Orbital Sciences' Antares A-ONE test flight.

cycleroadie
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posted 03-27-2013 12:34 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for cycleroadie   Click Here to Email cycleroadie     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Did the NET date change? It was April 16 the last I saw with a range of April 16 - April 18.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 03-27-2013 12:36 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Orbital Sciences announced the new target dates (April 17-19) today on its website, Twitter and Facebook.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 04-11-2013 02:36 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Wallops Flight Facility release
Many people have asked, "Will I see the Antares launch in my area?" Thanks to the wonderful folks in the Wallops Mission Planning lab, now you can find out!

Here's a visibility map of the launch.

And of course, if you cannot see it in person — you can always watch live on NASA TV or online.

issman1
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posted 04-17-2013 04:00 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for issman1     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It's not too much to overstate that Orbital's system is a gamble for NASA. In light of SpaceX's successes, it has much more to lose.

Glint
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posted 04-17-2013 04:13 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Glint   Click Here to Email Glint     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The same could be said about SpaceX when it was where Orbital is today. That is, both can be viewed as gambles by NASA which, through encouraging both, has hedged its bets in case one were to fail.

Glint
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posted 04-18-2013 09:48 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Glint   Click Here to Email Glint     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
From Wallops Flight Facility's release:
And of course, if you cannot see it in person — you can always watch live on NASA TV or online.
What I discovered during last year's ATREX "5 in 5" launches from Wallops was that the NASA feed introduced a 20 second or so delay that made it virtually useless for remote naked eye viewers of the launch.

The video feed from Spaceflight Now was more real time with only a several second delay.

The difference is, any delay is not beneficial to those expecting to watch visually and who use the T-0 as viewed on the web to estimate when events in the sky are taking place. Because of the intolerable delay in NASA's feed, the vehicles would have already been in the air for 20 seconds or so before the video showed liftoff.

I was able to estimate the actual delay in the streaming online presentation from each source using a shortwave radio tuned to NBS' WWV time signals and comparing it to the UTC timestamp superimposed on the video.

Of course past results is no guarantee of future performance.

Jim Behling
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posted 04-18-2013 01:13 PM     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 issman1:
It's not too much to overstate that Orbital's system is a gamble for NASA. In light of SpaceX's successes, it has much more to lose.

It is not a gamble for NASA.

capoetc
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posted 04-18-2013 06:06 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for capoetc   Click Here to Email capoetc     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Jim Behling:
In my opinion, it is not a gamble for NASA.
There. Fixed it for you.

SkyMan1958
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posted 04-18-2013 08:34 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for SkyMan1958   Click Here to Email SkyMan1958     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It's a new system guys. Stuff happens. If things worked all the time then you wouldn't have flight tests. I wouldn't be at all surprised if the rocket had a major malfunction. I'd only be concerned if by the third rocket things still kept blowing up.

capoetc
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posted 04-19-2013 06:43 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for capoetc   Click Here to Email capoetc     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Oh. I'm really not concerned about any of the companies, really. Given enough resources, I think any of them can accomplish the mission.

For me, the question is: Is NASA accepting more or less risk by spreading out development dollars among four contractors rather than one or two?

All of the commercial space companies are likely to face bumps in the road. That's the nature of a high-tech venture.

Jim Behling
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posted 04-19-2013 06:48 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 capoetc:
There. Fixed it for you.
Don't change my words. It is not a gamble for NASA, fact. The risk is all OSC's. NASA's risk was retired with HTV, ATV and SpaceX.

Jim Behling
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From: Cape Canaveral, FL
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posted 04-19-2013 06:50 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 capoetc:
For me, the question is: Is NASA accepting more or less risk by spreading out development dollars among four contractors rather than one or two?
No, because there is no risk any longer with the success of SpaceX.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 04-19-2013 06:58 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The reason for multiple providers, other than cost competition, is to reduce risk. If SpaceX were to have a vehicle failure requiring an extended down time after the space station crew has been expanded to seven (as currently planned), it would be a problem without Orbital's Cygnus available (and vice versa). Russia's Progress alone cannot provide the needed supplies at its current flight rate and both ATV and HTV have limited futures.

So no, it is not a fact that NASA carries no risk now that SpaceX is flying. Cygnus is still very much needed to achieve NASA's goals for the International Space Station.

That said, Orbital is no more a gamble than SpaceX was/is, and in some important ways is less a gamble given the company's history in the aerospace market.

Jim Behling
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posted 04-19-2013 08:35 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 Robert Pearlman:
The reason for multiple providers, other than cost competition, is to reduce risk. If SpaceX were to have a vehicle failure requiring an extended down time after the space station crew has been expanded to seven (as currently planned),
When the ISS is expanded to 7 crew, it will have been enable by commercial crew vehicles. Those crew vehicles are also backups for logistics.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 04-19-2013 09:15 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
That assumes the crew and cargo vehicles are different. If the budget ultimately forces a downselect for commercial crew to one vehicle, and that vehicle is SpaceX's, then there is no backup were a problem to arise with Falcon or Dragon.

Time will tell how important a choice of logistics providers is to the space station.

Ronpur
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posted 04-21-2013 04:14 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ronpur   Click Here to Email Ronpur     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Great launch! I did not expect the big gap between stage 1 separation and stage 2 ignition! Glad it worked as planned.

issman1
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posted 04-21-2013 04:20 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for issman1     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Good gamble for NASA, job well done Orbital.

Greggy_D
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posted 04-21-2013 05:31 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Greggy_D   Click Here to Email Greggy_D     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
From watching the Orbital animation video, it appears that Cygnus does not provide return capability like Dragon. Is that correct or is it planned for in the future?

Robert Pearlman
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posted 04-21-2013 05:36 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 Ronpur:
I did not expect the big gap between stage 1 separation and stage 2 ignition!
The coast was planned in order to position the second stage at the proper altitude for the solid-fuel second stage ignition.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 04-21-2013 05:38 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 Greggy_D:
Is that correct or is it planned for in the future?
For the eight CRS NASA-contracted flights (and the one COTS demo mission to launch this summer), Cygnus is designed to burn up in the atmosphere, much like Progress, HTV and ATV. Orbital has some early designs for a return-capability, but at the current time, NASA does not have a need for such.

Ronpur
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posted 04-21-2013 05:46 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ronpur   Click Here to Email Ronpur     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Robert Pearlman:
The coast was planned in order to position the second stage at the proper altitude for the solid-fuel second stage ignition.
And I would have realized that if I had looked at the wonderful graphic you posted in the other thread!

SkyMan1958
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posted 04-21-2013 06:25 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for SkyMan1958   Click Here to Email SkyMan1958     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
CONGRATULATIONS Orbital!!!

Of course, these puppies are not cheap. Using the info provided in the cS [COTS] Orbital section, Orbital is getting paid $1.9 billion to lift 20,000 kg. to the ISS. That translates into $95,000 per kilogram or ~ $43,200 per pound.

cspg
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posted 04-22-2013 09:09 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for cspg   Click Here to Email cspg     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
LOL! The shuttle wasn't that expensive, then...

Funny how some ideas/concepts to cut launch costs to $10k/kg (or pound or whatever) seem to have vanished in the haze... but I guess the most immediate priority is to have access to the ISS.

MrSpace86
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posted 04-22-2013 09:40 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for MrSpace86   Click Here to Email MrSpace86     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I think it's great there is another company in the game!

Although I would like to ask: doesn't this rocket look similar to the Falcon rocket? The specs are different but the look of it looks like Falcon's cousin. Still a nice and simple rocket.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 04-22-2013 09:45 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Only so many ways you can design the exterior of a rocket — but were you to peel back the outer skin of Falcon and Antares, you would find two completely different vehicles. In addition to two versus nine first stage engines, Falcon is liquid-fueled through and through; Antares has a liquid-fuel first stage and a solid-fuel second stage.

Glint
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posted 04-22-2013 10:05 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Glint   Click Here to Email Glint     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by SkyMan1958:
CONGRATULATIONS Orbital!!!

Seconded!

Though unfortunately there was enough cloud cover to obscure the launch from viewing. I was prepared to photograph and video record yesterday's launch from quite a distance away.

Glint
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posted 04-22-2013 10:22 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Glint   Click Here to Email Glint     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by SkyMan1958:
Using the info provided in the cS [COTS] Orbital section, Orbital is getting paid $1.9 billion to lift 20,000 kg. to the ISS. That translates into $95,000 per kilogram or ~ $43,200 per pound.

If you check again, think you'll discover that the $1.9B is for "eight planned cargo resupply flights to the orbiting laboratory". Therefore, the cost is quite a bit less -- $11,875 per kilogram.

quote:
Originally posted by cspg:
LOL! Funny how some ideas/concepts to cut launch costs to $10k/kg (or pound or whatever) seem to have vanished in the haze.

Only in the haze of fuzzy math. The Antares cost for its eight supply flights come out to only $5.4k/lb.

SkyMan1958
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posted 04-22-2013 12:05 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for SkyMan1958   Click Here to Email SkyMan1958     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Glint:
If you check again, think you'll discover that the $1.9B is for "eight planned cargo resupply flights to the orbiting laboratory". Therefore, the cost is quite a bit less -- $11,875 per kilogram.
If you look at the full statement in the 4/21/13 5:26 pm part of the cS [COTS] Orbital-Anteres test flight post it is:
The $1.9 billion CRS contract calls for the delivery of up to 20,000 kilograms of essential supplies to the ISS over eight separate missions from 2013 to 2016.
That seems to me to say 20,000 kilos delivered OVER 8 missions. I stand by my math.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 04-22-2013 12:16 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 SkyMan1958:
That seems to me to say 20,000 kilos delivered OVER 8 missions.
You are correct. The standard per flight mass for Cygnus is 2,000 kilograms (later Antares flights will be equipped with an upgraded second stage increasing the standard Cygnus cargo mass to 2,700 kilograms).

It should be noted that the COTS/CRS program was primarily aimed at replacing the capability of the space shuttle. Lowering the cost was a secondary objective, based on rocket designs and competition.

Glint
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posted 04-22-2013 01:57 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Glint   Click Here to Email Glint     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by SkyMan1958:
I stand by my math.

And I stand corrected. Thanks.

I read that to mean in eight separate flights, not spread out over eight. Ten tons would be quite a payload.

katabatic
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posted 04-23-2013 02:13 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for katabatic   Click Here to Email katabatic     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I was able to watch the launch from Chincoteague Island, across the channel from Wallops. Pretty impressive. Here are some pics:

Jay Chladek
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posted 04-25-2013 11:49 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jay Chladek   Click Here to Email Jay Chladek     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Beautiful photos! Who would have thought that an island more known for horses (at least to those who don't live there) would make a great viewing sight for a launch into orbit. I'll bet it beats getting eat by mosquitos and keeping an eye out for alligators and snakes anyday.

cycleroadie
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posted 04-25-2013 12:02 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for cycleroadie   Click Here to Email cycleroadie     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
There were PLENTY of bugs jay, no gators though. I unfortunately was only there for the umbilical mishap and could not stay till Sunday.

Glint
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posted 04-26-2013 07:17 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Glint   Click Here to Email Glint     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
144 miles to the northwest I was set up and ready to observe. Had a lap top to record the video digitally and for streaming the live webcast wirelessly, tripod mounted video camera, digital SLR and telephoto lens, and shortwave radio for picking up time signals (useful because of the broad cast delay in the webcast).

Unfortunately, there was too much cirrus cloud in the southeast and so the A-One Antares launch was not visible from here.

Ben
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posted 05-11-2013 02:03 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ben   Click Here to Email Ben     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Looks like the re-entry of the mass simulator was caught on video yesterday:

All times are CT (US)

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