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  [Discuss] SpaceX CRS-5 space station mission

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Author Topic:   [Discuss] SpaceX CRS-5 space station mission
Robert Pearlman
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posted 12-17-2014 05:23 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 CRS-5 (SpX-5), the fifth 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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posted 12-17-2014 05:28 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
SpaceX has been targeting its CRS-5 launch for 1:20 p.m. EST (1820 GMT) on Friday (Dec. 19).

However, a failed attempt at performing a static fire test on Tuesday (Dec. 16) has led to a possible delay, as late as January. Waiting on word from either (or both) SpaceX and/or NASA...

Robert Pearlman
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posted 12-18-2014 07:13 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 CRS-5 launch rescheduled for January

While the recent static fire test accomplished nearly all of our goals, the test did not run the full duration. The data suggests we could push forward without a second attempt, but out of an abundance of caution, we are opting to execute a second static fire test prior to launch.

Given the extra time needed for data review and testing, coupled with the limited launch date availability due to the holidays and other restrictions, our earliest launch opportunity is now Jan. 6 with Jan. 7 as a backup.

The ISS orbits through a high beta angle period a few times a year. This is where the angle between the ISS orbital plane and the sun is high, resulting in the ISS being in almost constant sunlight for a 10 day period. During this time, there are thermal and operational constraints that prohibit Dragon from being allowed to berth with the ISS. This high beta period runs from Dec. 28, 2014 to Jan. 7, 2015. Note that for a launch on Jan. 6, Dragon berths on Jan. 8.

Both Falcon 9 and Dragon remain in good health, and our teams are looking forward to launch just after the New Year.

A launch on Jan. 6 would be at 6:18 a.m. EST (1118 GMT), an hour before sunrise.

Headshot
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posted 12-18-2014 07:20 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Headshot   Click Here to Email Headshot     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
...there are thermal and operational constraints that prohibit Dragon from being allowed to berth with the ISS.
Does anyone know exactly what these constraints are? Do they arise solely from the ISS or Dragon, or a combination of both? This is the first time I have heard of this.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 12-18-2014 07:28 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
These beta angle cutouts affect all visiting vehicles (even the space shuttle when it was flying). From a 2002 NASA reply:
The beta angle is the angle between the orbital plane and a line drawn from the Sun to the Earth. As the beta angle increases, the ISS is exposed to more sunlight per orbit, and eventually it will be in constant sunlight — in other words, there is no passing into the Earth's shadow for extended periods of time. This can create thermal problems, so special attitudes are chosen to counter these effects.

The [visiting vehicle] also has thermal constraints under these conditions. Since the attitude requirements of the ISS and [vehicle] would conflict when docked, [visting vehicle]/ISS flights are scheduled to avoid periods when the beta angle exceeds 60 degrees.

Headshot
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posted 12-18-2014 09:39 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Headshot   Click Here to Email Headshot     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
If there are times when the ISS and other vehicles are in constant sunlight, then there should, theoretically, be times when they are also in constant darkness. Does that cause power issues as both rely on solar-generated electricity for power? Also, what about prolonged cold-soaking?

issman1
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posted 12-18-2014 10:15 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for issman1     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Does this latest problem with a Falcon 9 affect plans for SpaceX to launch the Deep Space Climate Observatory (otherwise known as GoreSat) for NASA and the U.S. Air Force in January 2015?

I truly wish them well with the first stage landing test during CRS-5 but feel they're struggling to match their own expectations.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 12-18-2014 11:02 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
For now, the launch of DSCOVR remains set for Jan. 23. If SpaceX is successful in launching CRS-5 on Jan. 6, then that would result in a 17-day turnaround between launches. Earlier this year, SpaceX achieved a 14-day turnaround and the company said then that they expected to be able to reduce that time even more.
quote:
Originally posted by Headshot:
...then there should, theoretically, be times when they are also in constant darkness.
There is never a period when the ISS is absent sunlight for part of its orbit. A commenter on the Bad Astronomy blog provided a good way to understand this:
Imagine the earth with its shadow (umbra) cone projecting behind it, away from the sun. The shadow moves up and down 24 degrees with the season due to the tilt of the earth's axis.

Now take a hula hoop which represents the orbit. You can rotate it up and down (inclination) and around the earth's axis (right ascension of the ascending node, RAAN, if you must know). Under some rotations the entire hoop is outside of the umbra cone.

However, it is impossible for the entire hoop to be INSIDE of the umbra cone, which is what is required for a period of constant night.

According to my handy SMAD book (Space Mission Analysis and Design) the longest eclipse (night) period for a satellite at space station altitude is a little over 36 minutes. This is regardless of inclination or RAAN. This happens when the orbit (hula hoop) crosses right through the middle of the umbra cone.

SpaceAngel
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posted 12-18-2014 02:22 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for SpaceAngel   Click Here to Email SpaceAngel     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I wonder if they are making sure that the launch vehicle won't have another mishap just like what happened to the Antares/Cygnus in October.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 12-29-2014 02:36 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 Robert Pearlman:
For now, the launch of DSCOVR remains set for Jan. 23.
NOAA and the Air Force have retargeted the DSCOVR launch for no earlier than Jan. 29.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 01-05-2015 01:41 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Elon Musk on Twitter:
Drone spaceport ship heads to its hold position in the Atlantic to prepare for a rocket landing

For background about the autonomous spaceport drone ship (ASDS), see here.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 01-05-2015 01:44 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Elon Musk will be taking part in a Reddit AMA at 9 p.m. EST (0200 GMT) tonight.
Ask me anything at 9pm Florida time (focused on tomorrow's 6am rocket launch)

SpaceAngel
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posted 01-06-2015 04:21 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for SpaceAngel   Click Here to Email SpaceAngel     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
What's everyone's feeling about the first ISS commercial launch following the mishap in October with the Antares rocket?

Robert Pearlman
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posted 01-06-2015 05:20 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
An abort was just called; the launch is scrubbed for today. "Actuator drift" in the second stage thrust vector control (TVC) fairly late in the countdown triggered the halt to the launch attempt.

Due to the hold and instantaneous launch window, the flight is now off until Friday (Jan. 9) at 5:09 a.m. EST (1009 GMT) at the earliest.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 01-07-2015 06:18 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, SpaceX Set New Launch Date for Next Resupply Mission to Space Station

The fifth official SpaceX cargo mission to the International Space Station under NASA's Commercial Resupply Services contract now is scheduled to launch at 4:47 a.m. EST (0947 GMT) Saturday, Jan. 10, from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. NASA Television coverage of the launch will begin at 3:30 a.m. EST.

The previous launch attempt on Tuesday was aborted with one minute, 21 seconds left on the countdown clock because engineers observed drift on one of two thrust vector control actuators for the Falcon 9's second stage and stopped the countdown.

A Saturday launch will result in the Dragon spacecraft arriving at the space station Monday, Jan. 12. Expedition 42 Commander Barry "Butch" Wilmore of NASA will use the station's 57.7-foot robotic arm to capture Dragon at approximately 6 a.m. EST. Flight Engineer Samantha Cristoforetti of the European Space Agency will support Wilmore as they operate from the station's cupola.

NASA TV coverage of grapple will begin at 4:30 a.m. EST. Coverage of Dragon's installation to the Earth-facing port of the Harmony module will begin at 8:15 a.m. EST.

If the launch does not take place Saturday, the next launch opportunity would be Tuesday, Jan. 13 at about 3:36 a.m. EST.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 01-10-2015 04:14 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The launch of a SpaceX Dragon cargo capsule to the International Space Station had potential to put a new, historic spin on the adage "what goes up, must come down."

With regards to the first stage landing, Elon Musk tweeted:

Rocket made it to drone spaceport ship, but landed hard. Close, but no cigar this time. Bodes well for the future tho.

Ship itself is fine. Some of the support equipment on the deck will need to be replaced...

Didn't get good landing/impact video. Pitch dark and foggy. Will piece it together from telemetry and... actual pieces.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 01-10-2015 11:32 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Additional details from Musk (via Twitter):
Grid fins worked extremely well from hypersonic velocity to subsonic, but ran out of hydraulic fluid right before landing.

Upcoming flight already has 50% more hydraulic fluid, so should have plenty of margin for landing attempt next month.

Am super proud of my crew for making huge strides towards reusability on this mission. You guys rock!

issman1
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posted 01-11-2015 04:00 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for issman1     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
While watching the live NASA TV feed the commentator briefly mentioned receiving a signal from Dragon via a tracking station in England. Any further details regarding its location over here?

Robert Pearlman
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posted 01-11-2015 03:14 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Spaceflight Now has photographs of the drone ship returning to port.
Photos of the barge show signs of blast and burn damage to cargo containers and possible wreckage from the rocket covered by tarps on the platform’s deck. The rest of the vessel appeared undamaged.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 01-11-2015 04:36 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 issman1:
Any further details regarding its location over here?
I believe that is the telemetry and command station at RAF Oakhanger, which is operated by Airbus (Astrium) and used as part of the U.S. Air Force Satellite Control Network under an agreement with the UK Ministry of Defense.

gliderpilotuk
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posted 01-12-2015 06:05 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for gliderpilotuk   Click Here to Email gliderpilotuk     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
No longer designated "RAF" as a result of the ongoing privatization of the military!
Interesting to know what goes on here as it is about 5 miles form my home airfield and is a designated High Intensity Radio Transmission Area (HIRTA) that you definitely want to avoid if you want to retain use of onboard instrumentation... or have kids.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 01-13-2015 09:01 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
From Terry Virts (via Twitter):
Opening the Dragon hatch for the first time- it has that "new spaceship smell"- very nice!

Robert Pearlman
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posted 01-13-2015 10:23 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
And from Samantha Cristoforetti (via Twitter):
It already looks a lot roomier now! Unloading a cold bag with immune cell samples for @ESA exp T-Cell.

Glint
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posted 01-13-2015 01:39 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Glint   Click Here to Email Glint     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I observed the powered ascent from Maryland. Must have been the Merlin 2nd stage that was burning. SECO occurred while high in the southeast compared to MECO low in the east for ISS-bound shuttles of the past.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 01-16-2015 03:16 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Elon Musk has released images of the attempted Falcon 9 first stage landing:
Turns out we recovered some impact video frames from drone ship. It's kinda begging to be released...

Before impact, fins lose power and go hardover. Engines fights to restore, but...

Rocket hits hard at ~45 deg angle, smashing legs and engine section.

Residual fuel and oxygen combine.

Full RUD (rapid unscheduled disassembly) event. Ship is fine minor repairs. Exciting day!

Robert Pearlman
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posted 01-16-2015 11:03 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
And now the video...

dabolton
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posted 01-16-2015 11:15 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for dabolton     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It appears to be going too fast for a landing but I would surmise that was because the engines weren't pointed directly downward to slow acceleration rate. Looks like it shot off the side of the ship like a roman candle when the tail exploded.

fredtrav
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posted 01-16-2015 12:17 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for fredtrav   Click Here to Email fredtrav     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I love the term Rapid Unscheduled Disassembly.

David Carey
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posted 01-16-2015 07:46 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for David Carey   Click Here to Email David Carey     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The arrow wasn't straight on but it found the hay bale.

I'm impressed, and wish them all the best towards what I hope - and predict - will ultimately be a "stick the landing" event.

SpaceAngel
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posted 01-17-2015 02:25 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for SpaceAngel   Click Here to Email SpaceAngel     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Will this landing mishap will have any effect for future launches of SpaceX rockets?

Robert Pearlman
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posted 01-17-2015 03:07 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The landing attempt was an experiment. SpaceX plans to try again, increasing the amount of hydraulic fluid needed to control the fins, on its next launch (presently targeted for the end of the month).

Lou Chinal
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posted 01-19-2015 03:27 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Lou Chinal   Click Here to Email Lou Chinal     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
When Space X finally becomes proficient in this technique (and they will), it will be a huge break though for the economy of space operations in general.

Jim Behling
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posted 01-19-2015 08:11 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jim Behling   Click Here to Email Jim Behling     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Recovery and reuse are not the same thing.

Lou Chinal
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posted 01-19-2015 01:12 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Lou Chinal   Click Here to Email Lou Chinal     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
They will be.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 01-19-2015 01:19 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
That's certainly the plan, but that won't be known until after SpaceX has recovered several stages and had an chance to test them for their reusability. In theory, they should be reusable, but the hardware will ultimately tell.

Hans Koenigsmann, SpaceX's vice president for mission assurance, has said reusability only makes sense if it is easy.

"The key is reusability that is easy," Koenigsmann stated. "That doesn't require taking the rocket apart and replacing a lot of parts here and there, but if you have reusability, even for a limited number of flights, that is in the airplane-type category, then that is the long-term vision."

fredtrav
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posted 01-19-2015 02:48 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for fredtrav   Click Here to Email fredtrav     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I imagine that even if the first few they land are not reusable, they will be able to learn from them and modify later ones to be reusable.

SkyMan1958
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posted 01-19-2015 03:58 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for SkyMan1958   Click Here to Email SkyMan1958     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Given the lead time and cost to build satellites many satellite users will be more concerned about reliability of the launch system as opposed to cost. ASSUMING SpaceX can become proficient at reusing boosters I would not be at all surprised if a multi-tier pricing option for launching satellites comes about. For example a launch on a brand new rocket might cost 100N, while a second launch on the same first stage booster might cost 80N, the third launch on the same first stage booster might cost 60N and so forth. End users of satellites that are cheaper and need less lead time to build would theoretically be more willing to launch on these less expensive, but potentially less reliable, missions. It also would certainly open up the options for new types of "quicker/faster/cheaper" satellites for newer start up companies.

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