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  [Discuss] SpaceX CRS-3 space station mission

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Author Topic:   [Discuss] SpaceX CRS-3 space station mission
Robert Pearlman
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From: Houston, TX
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posted 02-13-2014 03:39 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Please use this topic to discuss the third of SpaceX's 12 contracted Dragon cargo flights to the International Space Station under NASA's Commercial Resupply Services (CRS) Program.

Robert Pearlman
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From: Houston, TX
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posted 02-13-2014 03:42 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
NASA release
Cover the next SpaceX launch in-person at Kennedy Space Center

NASA is inviting social media users to apply for credentials to attend the March 16, 2014 launch for the next cargo resupply flight to the International Space Station (ISS) by Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX).

The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket is targeted to liftoff at 4:41 a.m. EST March 16 from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

A maximum of 50 social media users will be selected to attend the two-day event on Mar. 15 and 16 and will be given the same access as news media in an effort to align the experience of social media representatives with those of traditional media. NASA Social media accreditation for the SpaceX launch opens at 3 p.m. EST Friday, Feb. 7. For U.S. social media, the deadline to apply is 3:00 p.m. EST Wednesday, Feb. 19. All social media accreditation applications will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

NASA Social participants will have the opportunity to:

  • view a launch of SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket
  • tour NASA facilities at Kennedy Space Center
  • speak with representatives from both NASA and SpaceX
  • view and take photographs of the SpaceX launch pad
  • meet fellow space enthusiasts who are active on social media
  • meet members of SpaceX and NASA's social media teams

Robert Pearlman
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posted 02-23-2014 07:53 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Elon Musk today (Feb. 23) wrote on Twitter:
Mounting landing legs (~60 ft span) to Falcon 9 for next month's Space Station servicing flight.

On Friday (Feb. 21), I had a chance to talk with Garrett Reisman (who is SpaceX's commercial crew project manager) after a commercial spaceflight panel discussion here in Houston. He confirmed that they will attempt to deploy the legs as part of a Falcon 9 first stage "soft landing" in the ocean.

SpaceX is working towards having the Falcon 9 first stage land on land for reuse.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 03-13-2014 04:21 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
SpaceX statement
SpaceX's CRS-3 Dragon launch delayed

To ensure the highest possible level of mission assurance and to allow additional time to resolve remaining open items, SpaceX is now targeting March 30 for the CRS-3 launch, with April 2 as a back-up. These [dates] represent the earliest available launch opportunities given existing schedules, and are currently pending approval with the range.

Both the Falcon 9 and Dragon are in good health; given the critical payloads on board and significant upgrades to Dragon, the additional time will ensure SpaceX does everything possible on the ground to prepare for a successful launch.

Additional details on exact liftoff time, etc. will be available as we get closer to launch.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 03-25-2014 12:57 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
NASA release
SpaceX launch to space station reset for March 30

SpaceX has confirmed that it will target its next cargo mission launch to the International Space Station from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, for March 30 at 10:49 p.m. EDT (0249 GMT March 31). An on-time launch would result in the Dragon spacecraft arriving at the station on April 2 at approximately 7 a.m. EDT (1100 GMT).

Robert Pearlman
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posted 03-26-2014 11:59 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
NASA update
SpaceX has confirmed that Sunday's (March 30) launch of its third contracted resupply mission to the International Space Station has been postponed due to a range asset issue. More information including a new target launch date will be posted as it becomes available.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 03-28-2014 11:31 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
U.S. Air Force 45th Space Wing release
Range officials determine cause of instrumentation outage

A mandatory range asset supporting the NROL-67 [and CRS-3] launch went offline, March 24, 2014. An investigation revealed a tracking radar experienced an electrical short, overheating the unit and rendering it inoperable. The outage resulted in an inability to meet minimum public safety requirements needed for flight, so the launch was postponed.

Initial assessment indicates repair of the tracking radar will take approximately three weeks. The Air Force is evaluating the feasibility of returning an inactive radar to full mission capability to resume operations sooner. The launch schedule impact is to be determined, pending resolution of the anomaly. Early indications are all launches scheduled for FY14 will be supported. More information will be provided as it becomes available.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 04-04-2014 03:51 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
NASA release
SpaceX CRS-3 launch reset for April 14

The next SpaceX cargo mission to the International Space Station under NASA's Commercial Resupply Services contract is scheduled to launch Monday, April 14, from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

The company's Falcon 9 rocket, carrying its Dragon cargo spacecraft, will lift off at approximately 4:58 p.m. EDT. NASA TV coverage of the launch begins at 3:45 p.m. If for any reason the launch is postponed, the next launch opportunity is Friday, April 18 at approximately 3:25 p.m.

The mission, designated SpaceX-3, is the third of 12 SpaceX flights contracted by NASA to resupply the space station. It will be the fourth trip by a Dragon spacecraft to the orbiting laboratory.

The spacecraft will be filled with almost 5,000 pounds of scientific experiments and supplies. The Dragon will remain attached to the space station's Harmony module until mid-May and splash down in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Baja California with more than 3,000 pounds of experiment samples and equipment returning from the station.

If launch occurs April 14, NASA TV will provide live coverage Wednesday, April 16, of the arrival of the Dragon cargo ship to the International Space Station. Grapple and berthing coverage will begin at 5:45 a.m. with grapple at approximately 7 a.m. Berthing coverage begins at 9:30 a.m.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 04-14-2014 09:16 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
SpaceX release
SpaceX to launch CRS-3 mission to ISS today

Today, SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon spacecraft are set to launch the CRS-3 mission to the International Space Station (ISS) for NASA. Liftoff is targeted for 4:58 p.m. EDT from SpaceX's Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

Dragon is loaded with nearly 5,000 pounds of supplies and science experiments bound for the ISS, and if all goes according to plan, the spacecraft will berth with the space station around 7:00 a.m. EDT on Wednesday (April 16).

Robert Pearlman
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posted 04-14-2014 02:50 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Helium leak scrubs SpaceX launch attempt

SpaceX scrubbed today's launch of the CRS-3 mission at 3:39 p.m. EDT (1939 GMT) due to a helium leak from the Falcon 9 rocket's first stage.

A SpaceX representatives said that the company expects to be able to resolve the issue in time for their next launch opportunity on Friday (April 18) at 3:25 p.m. EDT (1925 GMT).

The weather forecast for Friday however, calls for only a 40 percent chance of favorable conditions.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 04-16-2014 09:20 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
NASA and SpaceX have confirmed Friday (April 18) for the next launch attempt (details are in the update thread).

Here are a few photos of the Falcon 9 and Dragon on the pad at Launch Complex 40, taken before Monday's scrub.

JBoe
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posted 04-16-2014 05:28 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for JBoe   Click Here to Email JBoe     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Robert, great photos! Are they still planning to deploy the landing legs on this launch? Are there "flight rules" or "weather rules" that would restrict it from landing vertically?

Robert Pearlman
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posted 04-16-2014 05:34 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
If everything goes as planned, the landing legs will be deployed — but over the ocean and just before the first stage splashes down.

This is just an experimental first flight with the legs, just as the CASSIOPE flight was a first attempt at a controlled descent.

fredtrav
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posted 04-18-2014 02:33 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for fredtrav   Click Here to Email fredtrav     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Fox News carried the launch live. Through about 3 minutes into the flight. They also played up how significant it would be if the legs worked, bringing down the cost of spaceflight.

dabolton
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posted 04-18-2014 05:26 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for dabolton   Click Here to Email dabolton     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Any chance it could float like shuttle SRB's?

Ronpur
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posted 04-18-2014 06:44 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ronpur   Click Here to Email Ronpur     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
What a great launch and good to see you at the press conference, Robert!

Robert Pearlman
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posted 04-18-2014 07:10 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 dabolton:
Any chance it could float like shuttle SRB's?
It would float, if it didn't hit the water hard and break apart. Musk seemed to think given the ocean conditions, it may have done just that (broken apart).

On edit: Or maybe not... from @elonmusk:

Data upload from tracking plane shows landing in Atlantic was good! Several boats enroute through heavy seas.

Flight computers continued transmitting for 8 seconds after reaching the water. Stopped when booster went horizontal.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 04-19-2014 05:32 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thierry Legault's wide-angle footage, showing the Falcon 9 second stage, the Dragon and ejected solar panel covers as they flew together over Paris:

J Blackburn
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posted 04-19-2014 08:00 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for J Blackburn   Click Here to Email J Blackburn     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
That was awesome Robert. Thanks for sharing the video.

Aeropix
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posted 04-20-2014 11:03 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Aeropix   Click Here to Email Aeropix     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Is it my imagination or do SpaceX seem to have a recurrent problem with the thruster quads on the Dragon. Reading the main news article they mention that there was a problem with this system again on this flight. I know that CRS-1 was beset with this difficulty also.

I know that SpaceX is extremely tight-lipped about their technical failures (as is Musk's other company, Tesla Motors) so I don't expect much information about this, but can anybody shed some light on whether this is a system design flaw or just repeating bad luck? Did CRS-2 have any problem with the thrusters?

Robert Pearlman
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posted 04-20-2014 11:20 AM     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 Aeropix:
I know that CRS-1 was beset with this difficulty also.
Actually, it was CRS-2 that had the problem with the quads; CRS-1 was trouble free in that specific regard.

On CRS-2, the issue was ascribed to a pressurization line. On this flight, it was an isolation valve. So while the end result was the same (some quads not immediately coming online), the causes were different and so apparently unrelated.

Aeropix
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posted 04-20-2014 02:30 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Aeropix   Click Here to Email Aeropix     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks Robert. Another two discussion points about the landing legs on this flight.
  1. Operational results... did SpaceX have any telemetry or video feed on the landing legs deployment? Has there been any updates on the results of this experiment?

  2. What is NASA's stance on the use of the operational CRS flights for conduct of such experiments? As the "customer" does NASA have any objection, or contractual limitations on the conduct of such experiments while fulfilling the obligations of the resupply contract?
I'm particularly curious on the second point, since the landing legs (and also the carriage of ancillary non-ISS cargo) must impose a weight-penalty on the upmass capability of the system.

I'm guessing that since additional non-ISS cargo and experimental items have been carried on the Dragon flights to date that NASA doesn't care so long as the contracted cargo is delivered to the ISS, but what are the limitations of such indulgence? Could NASA, as the customer, insist that such items not be carried if additional upmass were required on future flights?

Seems like the Falcon/Dragon system must have a lot of untapped lifting potential if these items can be routinely carried while fulfilling the contract. I wonder then, if the system is being under-utilized, since there seems to be plenty of performance available to fulfill the primary mission while carrying these extra items.

On future flights, when the first stage eventually soft-lands back at KSC, how much more weight-penalty would be imposed or permitted to allow the carriage of fuel for the soft-landing return? While this must obviously not impede the contracted uplift, it surely points to an amazing amount of additional systemic capability that has so far been untapped. It will be very interesting to see how far SpaceX can push this technology with further refinements.

Robert Pearlman
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From: Houston, TX
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posted 04-20-2014 03:00 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
  1. SpaceX has not made any public statements about the landing legs. As noted upthread, they received telemetry about the status of the first stage through its splashdown, so the presumption is that the legs deployed as planned. There have been no statements about imagery of the first stage.

  2. NASA, as the customer, signed off on the flight of the legs with regards to their impact on the ascent (which was nil), but as the recovery test occurred after stage separation, it had no other bearing on the flight.

    SpaceX was aware of the ocean conditions but as they only affected the first stage's recovery and not its customer's (NASA) mission, it did not factor into the launch commit criteria.

NASA (as the customer) can only require SpaceX meet its contract.

That said, I wouldn't make assumptions about under-utilization or performance. SpaceX has released only basic details about its landing system and has not said in any specificity about how it relates to Dragon cargo capacity.

All times are CT (US)

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