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  SpaceX Falcon 9 v1.1/CASSIOPE from SLC-4E

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Author Topic:   SpaceX Falcon 9 v1.1/CASSIOPE from SLC-4E
Robert Pearlman
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Posts: 27921
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 08-29-2013 07:44 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
SpaceX's maiden CA launch to deploy Canadian satellite, test flyback Falcon

Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) will inaugurate its West Coast launch pad with the first flight of an upgraded Falcon 9 rocket carrying a Canadian Space Agency satellite.

The Hawthorne, Calif.-based company is preparing to launch its first Falcon 9 v1.1 rocket from Space Launch Complex 4E at Vandenberg Air Force Base with the Cascade, SmallSat and Ionospheric Polar Explorer (CASSIOPE) satellite.

The launch is targeted for September, although an exact date has yet to be set.

The Falcon 9 v1.1. features upgraded Merlin 1D engines and an innovative flyback first stage, which will see its first test on this flight, Space News reported, citing a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) commercial license for the launch.

"After stage separation, an experimental burn with three Falcon 9 first stage engines may be made to reduce the Stage 1 entry velocity just prior to entry, followed by a second experimental burn with one engine to impact the water with minimal velocity," the license reads.

The so-called "soft water landing" is a precursor to SpaceX's plans for a reusable Falcon 9 first stage capable of touching down vertically on land. The company has been testing the engines needed for such a system with its Grasshopper vertical takeoff and landing vehicle.

The Canadian Space Agency's hybrid small satellite CASSIOPE will observe the ionosphere, collecting data about the effects of solar storms, and offer a "proof of concept" for a digital broadband courier service for commercial use.

The Falcon 9 will also carry five secondary payloads, including the Colorado Space Grant Consortium's Drag and Atmospheric Neutral Density Explorer (DANDE), Cornell University's CUSat nanosatellites and three Polar Orbiting Passive Atmospheric Calibration Sphere (POPACS) cubesats.

See here for discussion of SpaceX's Falcon 9 v1.1/CASSIOPE launch.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 27921
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 09-13-2013 10:42 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Canadian Space Agency release
Canadian satellite CASSIOPE to Launch on SpaceX Rocket

Important notice: The launch of CASSIOPE is postponed. More information will be distributed to the media when a new launch date is scheduled.

On Sept. 15, 2013, Canadian satellite CASSIOPE (Cascade SmallSat and Ionospheric Polar Explorer) will be launched from Vandenberg, California, aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.

The launch is scheduled for 12:00 EDT and will be broadcast live on the SpaceX website.

CASSIOPE is a multi-purpose mission designed to conduct space environment research and telecommunications technology demo. Its scientific payload ePOP (enhanced polar outflow probe) will observe the ionosphere and enable scientists to collect new data on space storms in Earth's upper atmosphere and assess their potential impacts.

CASSIOPE also includes the Cascade technology demonstrator for high speed store and forward information delivery.

This mission was developed as a result of a close collaboration between several key partners including the Canadian Space Agency (CSA), 10 Canadian universities led by the University of Calgary and 2 research organizations, amongst others.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 27921
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 09-19-2013 09:48 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
SpaceX video release
Next Gen Falcon 9 Static Fire

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 27921
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 09-26-2013 05:53 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
30th Space Wing release
First SpaceX Launch From Vandenberg Scheduled

Team Vandenberg is scheduled to launch its first-ever SpaceX launch from Space Launch Complex-4 here Sunday (Sept. 29) with a targeted launch window beginning at 9 a.m. PDT.

Col. Keith Balts, 30th Space Wing commander, is the launch decision authority.

"Our mission is to provide unique capabilities for assured access to and from space for our nation," said Balts. "This is a huge stepping stone for Vandenberg and our SpaceX mission partners and I am impressed with the amount of innovation, dedication and professionalism that was put into making this historic event happen."

30th Space Wing's 1st Air and Space Test Squadron is the lead for all launch site certification activities at Vandenberg for SpaceX as an Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle New Entrant. Under the authority of the Space and Missile Systems Center, the Squadron is evaluating SpaceX's flight and ground systems, processes and procedures for this inaugural space launch campaign for the upgraded Falcon 9 rocket.

"This is historic event for Vandenberg AFB and we are excited to be a part of it," said Lt. Col. Joseph Imwalle, 1ASTS commander. "The Squadron is committed to making the new process of EELV certification successful and to achieving the vision of more affordable operational spacelift capabilities for the Department of Defense without compromising reliability."

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 27921
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 09-29-2013 11:55 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
collectSPACE
SpaceX launch of upgraded Falcon rocket sets several firsts

Space Exploration Technologies (or SpaceX) launched a Canadian space weather satellite on Sunday (Sept. 29), and in doing so set a number of firsts — including a first try at recovering its rocket's first stage.

SpaceX's upgraded, 22-story-tall Falcon 9 rocket lifted off on its first demo flight at 9:00 a.m. PDT (1600 GMT) from the company's new pad, Space Launch Complex 4E (SLC-4E) at Vandenberg Air Force Base, California.

Fourteen minutes later, the rocket deployed the mission's primary payload — MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates' (MDA) Cascade Smallsat and Ionospheric Polar Explorer (CASSIOPE) satellite.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 27921
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 10-15-2013 07:09 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
SpaceX release
Upgraded Falcon 9 Mission Overview

On Sunday, September 29, 2013, SpaceX successfully completed the demonstration mission of its upgraded Falcon 9 rocket, delivering the CASSIOPE, CUSat, DANDE and POPACS satellites to their targeted orbits. All of the satellite owners are in contact with their spacecraft and are reporting nominal operations.

This was the first Falcon 9 launch using SpaceX's new 17 foot diameter fairing, designed and built in house by SpaceX. The fairing separates using pneumatic pushers instead of explosives and is large enough to fit a city bus. This was also the first launch from SpaceX's newly refurbished launch pad at Vandenberg Air Force Base, and the first demonstration of a number of technologies on the upgraded vehicle.

On this mission, Falcon 9 lifted off with nine Merlin 1D engines, generating 1.3 million pounds of thrust at liftoff and increasing to 1.5 million pounds of thrust as it approached the vacuum of space—nearly twice the thrust than when previously powered by the Merlin 1C. The engines were configured in a more robust engine support structure called the Octaweb, which is easier to manufacture and improves the vehicles reliability. To fuel the more powerful engines, SpaceX extended the propellant tanks by approximately 60%. The upgraded vehicle featured a triple-redundant avionics system similar to that used on Dragon, providing a single-fault tolerant architecture. A new stage separation system reduced the number of connection points from 12 to 3, and the vehicle also flew with a stronger heat shield that allows the rocket to reenter Earth's atmosphere and eventually land propulsively.

The flight proceeded according to plan, with a nominal first-stage flight and shutdown 2 minutes and 41 seconds after launch. Stage separation occurred at 2 minutes and 45 seconds, with MVac ignition following 7 seconds later. SpaceX's new fairing separated at approximately 3 minutes 32 seconds into launch. Nine minutes and 2 seconds into flight, the upper stage engine shut down. Approximately 14 minutes into flight, CASSIOPE was deployed directly at its target orbit of 325x1500km, 81 deg inclination. Each system performed as expected and all payloads were delivered to their intended destinations.

Following separation of the last payload, SpaceX attempted an internal milestone of relighting the second stage. Conditions appeared satisfactory for relight of the upper stage engine as the stage flew over Antarctica. The engine initiated ignition, with pressure rising in the thrust chamber to about 400 psi, but the flight computer sensed conditions did not meet criteria and it aborted the ignition. SpaceX believes it understands the issue which didn't involve anything fundamental, rather a need to iron out some of the differences between operating the engine on the ground versus in a vacuum. SpaceX has actually relit the Merlin engine in ground testing a dozen times in some cases and SpaceX is confident it can make the necessary adjustments before the next flight.

Despite reports to the contrary, the Falcon 9 second stage remained intact and healthy following spacecraft separation. It takes a few days to get the data from the Air Force Satellite Control Network into the SpaceX data system for review, but the data confirms the stage passed over Hawaii from approximately 1748 to 1754 Universal Time (10:48-10:54 PDT), roughly 1 hr 48 minutes after launch, starting into our second orbit. SpaceX still had power on the second stage, and the transmitters were left on to drain the batteries (standard procedure).

Though not a primary mission objective, SpaceX was also able to initiate two engine relights on the first stage. For the first restart burn, we lit three engines to do a supersonic retro propulsion, which we believe may be the first attempt by any rocket stage. The first restart burn was completed well and enabled the stage to survive reentering the atmosphere in a controlled fashion.

SpaceX then lit the center engine for a single engine burn. That relight also went well, however we exceeded the roll control authority of the attitude control thrusters. This particular stage was not equipped with landing gear which could have helped stabilize the stage like fins would on an aircraft. The stage ended up spinning to a degree that was greater than we could control with the gas thrusters on board and ultimately we hit the water relatively hard.

However, SpaceX recovered portions of the stage and now, along with the Grasshopper tests, we believe we have all the pieces to achieve a full recovery of the boost stage.

This launch also marked the first of three certification flights needed to certify Falcon 9 to fly missions for the U.S. Air Force under the Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) program. When Falcon 9 is certified, SpaceX will be eligible to compete for all National Security Space (NSS) missions.

The next few months remain busy for SpaceX and the upgraded Falcon 9. We are currently preparing to launch our first geosynchronous transfer orbit mission out of Cape Canaveral with SES-8 followed by Thaicom and our next trip to the space station in the early part of next year.

See here for discussion of SpaceX's Falcon 9 v1.1/CASSIOPE launch.

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