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Thread: SpaceX Omnibus Thread

  1. #76
    Former Staff Senior Contributor Ironduke's Avatar
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    Boeing and Blue Origin "teaming up" and taking digs at SpaceX.

    Full article here: https://www.cnet.com/news/jeff-bezos...r-than-spacex/
    The weird advantage Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin says it has on SpaceX

    If you thought those SpaceX drone ship landing pads were cool, Blue Origin says you're going to love its rocket landing technique. It involves a seafaring ship that'll catch a returning booster without stopping.

    Blue Origin, owned by Amazon founder and current billionaire king Jeff Bezos, revealed Sunday that it hopes to gain a competitive advantage over Elon Musk and his SpaceX Falcon 9 rockets by keeping some motion in the ocean.

    During the webcast of Sunday's eighth test launch of Blue Origin's New Shepard rocket, host Ariane Cornell filled some time during a countdown hold by talking about the space company's upcoming New Glenn rocket. New Glenn is a larger launch system that will be able to send satellites and other payloads to orbit, making it a more direct competitor for SpaceX. The Shepard rocket is designed to take adventurous tourists on suborbital flights to the edge of space.

    Like the Falcon 9, New Glenn will be able to launch from Cape Canaveral, Florida, and then return to land on a ship at sea, but the Blue Origin ship won't be parked at a designated landing spot in the Atlantic. Instead it'll be in motion, plying the waters, even as New Glenn comes in for a landing.

    "It's actually more stable than a barge out there, which means that we can actually launch and land in higher sea states," Cornell explained, throwing some not-so-subtle shade at SpaceX. "It means we can have a more reliable schedule for our customers." Cornell works for Blue Origin in business development and strategy.
    https://arstechnica.com/science/2018...-as-too-small/
    Boeing slams the Falcon Heavy rocket as “too small”

    Recently, Boeing created a website called "Watch US Fly" to promote its aerospace industry—a grab bag of everything from Chinese tariffs to President Trump's visit to the company's facilities in St. Louis. Among the most intriguing sections is one that promotes the company's Space Launch System rocket and argues that SpaceX's Falcon Heavy booster is "too small" for NASA's deep exploration program.

    "The Falcon Heavy launch turned heads in February, but SpaceX's rocket is a smaller type of rocket that can't meet NASA's deep-space needs," the website states. "Once the Boeing-built SLS is operational, it will be the most powerful rocket ever built."

    The Boeing site backs up this claim by quoting NASA's Bill Gerstenmaier, who talked about the differences between the SLS rocket and Falcon Heavy at a meeting of the NASA Advisory Council meeting in March. Gerstenmaier, the chief of NASA's human spaceflight program, said the SLS had "unique capabilities" that the Falcon Heavy rocket does not have. However, as Ars reported at the time, Gerstenmaier actually struggled to explain why NASA needed the SLS rocket because the space agency has not yet built anything that will take advantage of those capabilities.

    The SLS promotional website also makes some questionable assertions. It speaks of the super-powerful SLS rocket as if it will soon exist. But the SLS booster is probably at least two years away from its maiden flight. Moreover, the version of the SLS rocket that flies in two years will not come close to being the "most powerful rocket ever built." That will come much later, if ever.
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  2. #77
    Former Staff Senior Contributor Ironduke's Avatar
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    Full article: https://www.space.com/40503-spacex-d...th-crs-14.html

    SpaceX Dragon Capsule Headed Back to Earth from Space Station

    A SpaceX Dragon cargo ship is returning to Earth today (May 5) with more than 2 tons of NASA gear from the International Space Station. The capsule's splashdown will cap a busy day for NASA, which began its weekend with a launch to Mars.

    The Dragon capsule left the space station this morning at 9:23 a.m. EDT (1323 GMT) when it was released by the orbiting laboratory's robotic arm. The spacecraft is packed with over 4,000 lbs. (1,800 kilograms) of experiment samples and other gear to Earth for NASA, and is returning to Earth two days late.

    SpaceX and NASA initially scheduled Dragon's return for Wednesday (May 2), but rough seas at the capsule's splashdown zone prompted a delay to await better sea conditions. Dragon is now due to splash down in the Pacific Ocean at 3 p.m. EDT (1900 GMT). The spacecraft's splashdown area is about 400 miles (643 kilometers) southwest of Long Beach, California, off the coast of Baja California, NASA officials said.

    Just hours before Dragon left the space station, NASA launched the InSight Mars lander from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. InSight launched atop a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket at 7:05 a.m. EDT (1105 GMT) to begin a 6-month cruise to Mars. The spacecraft is scheduled to land on the Red Planet on Nov. 26.

    "It's been a big day here at @NASA!" NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine wrote on Twitter. "@NASAInSight successfully launched and is on its way to Mars! @SpaceX is now bringing critical science investigations home from the @Space_Station."

    Dragon launched to the space station April 2 atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket to deliver 5,800 lbs. (2,630 kilograms) of experiment gear and other supplies for the station's six-person crew. This is SpaceX's 14th cargo delivery mission for NASA, and the second flight of this Dragon capsule. (It last flew in April 2016 on an earlier station cargo flight for NASA.)
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  3. #78
    Former Staff Senior Contributor Ironduke's Avatar
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    Full article: https://www.space.com/40510-spacex-b...this-week.html
    SpaceX Set to Debut Newest Falcon 9 Rocket: 'Block 5'

    SpaceX is set to debut the latest, most advanced version of its workhorse Falcon 9 rocket this Thursday (May 10).

    The company determined that its first Falcon 9 "Block 5" booster is ready to go, after analyzing data from a routine prelaunch static-fire test that occurred Friday (May 4) at historic Launch Pad 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

    "Targeting Falcon 9 Block 5 launch of Bangabandhu Satellite-1 on May 10 from Pad 39A in Florida," SpaceX representatives wrote on Twitter today (May 7).

    Bangabandhu 1 is a communications satellite that SpaceX is launching for the government of Bangladesh.

    The two-stage Block 5 Falcon 9 is designed to take reusability to new heights. SpaceX has landed and re-flown numerous Falcon 9 first stages over the past few years, but none of these individual boosters has launched more than twice. Block 5 first stages, however, are designed to fly 10 times with just inspections between landing and liftoff, and 100 times with some refurbishment involved, SpaceX representatives have said.

    "Block 5 basically summarizes all that we learned on reusability," Hans Koenigsmann, SpaceX vice president of build and flight reliability, said last month during a news conference before the launch of NASA's Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite, which lifted off atop a Falcon 9 Block 4. "It's a reliability upgrade that combines reliability and reusability."

    When asked to provide an example of one of the Block 5's improvements, Koenigsmann cited materials in the first stage's heat shield, near the engine base. "But there's a lot of details here that are very technical," he added.

    The Block 5 has also been designed to meet NASA's crew-carrying requirements. Like Boeing, SpaceX holds a contract to ferry agency astronauts to and from the International Space Station; such flights could begin in the next year or so.
    What I don't want to see is the Bills winning a Super Bowl. As long as I'm alive that doesn't happen.

  4. #79
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    Live stream of the Falcon 9 Block 5 rocket, carrying the Bangabandhu Satellite-1 from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.


    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rQEqKZ7CJlk

    Last edited by Ironduke; 11 May 18, at 21:31.
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  5. #80
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    Full article: https://www.space.com/40672-spacex-l...atellites.html
    SpaceX Launches Twin NASA Probes to Track Earth’s Water (and Satellites Hitch a Ride)

    SpaceX launched two new Earth science satellites for NASA and five Iridium Next communications satellites into orbit today (May 22).

    The ride-share mission lifted off on a pre-flown Falcon 9 rocket from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California at 3:47 p.m. EDT (12:47 p.m. PDT, 1947 GMT). "Liftoff for GRACE Follow-On, continuing the legacy of the GRACE mission of tracking the movement of water across our planet," NASA TV's launch commentator Gay Yee Hill announced as the Falcon 9 rocket soared into the sky.

    "That's a beautiful launch," replied her fellow commentator Sammy Kayali, director for the Office of Mission Safety and Success at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) and former deputy manager for GRACE-FO.

    For today's launch, SpaceX used the same Falcon 9 rocket booster that launched the classified Zuma mission for the U.S. Air Force in January. Zuma ended up crashing into the ocean instead of reaching orbit, but investigators determined that the Falcon 9 rocket did not cause the accident. After launching Zuma, the booster returned to Cape Canaveral to stick a vertical landing, and SpaceX refurbished it before today's flight. SpaceX did not attempt to land the rocket this time, though.
    What I don't want to see is the Bills winning a Super Bowl. As long as I'm alive that doesn't happen.

  6. #81
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    Despite what JPL claims what GRACE-FO does is, like GRACE before them, to map out the planet's full gravitational field once every month.

    One of the uses for that is to track shifts in glaciers and the global water cycle, yeah. Apparently that's the only use of it for NASA...


  7. #82
    Former Staff Senior Contributor Ironduke's Avatar
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    Full article: https://www.space.com/40700-trump-sp...egulation.html

    Trump's New Space Policy Directive 2 Could Make Life Easier for SpaceX and Others

    The Trump administration's push to ease regulations on private industry is no longer confined to Earth.

    Yesterday (May 24), President Donald Trump signed Space Policy Directive-2 (SPD-2), which instructs the secretary of transportation to devise a new regulatory regime for launch and re-entry activities, and to consider requiring just a single license for all such commercial operations.

    The document also orders the commerce secretary to review regulations on the commercial remote-sensing industry, and gives the secretary 30 days to come up with a plan to create a "one-stop shop" within the Commerce Department for private-spaceflight regulation.

    "The president is committed to ensuring that the federal government gets out of the way and unleashes private enterprise to support the economic success of the United States," White House officials wrote in an SPD-2 fact sheet that was released yesterday.

    The thrust of SPD-2 should come as no surprise, experts say. After all, the Trump administration has made it a priority to roll back or streamline regulations in many other parts of the economy, from banking to the energy industry.

    "It is certainly consistent with an overall pro-business, deregulation approach of the Trump administration, applied to the space sector," said space policy expert John Logsdon, a professor emeritus of political science and international affairs at The George Washington University's Elliott School of International Affairs in Washington, D.C.

    And SPD-2 started taking serious shape back in October 2017, at the first meeting of the newly resurrected National Space Council (NSC), Logsdon added.

    "One of the tasks was to develop a directive on regulatory reform," Logsdon told Space.com. "That's been in process, and it's been on Trump's desk for a while."
    What I don't want to see is the Bills winning a Super Bowl. As long as I'm alive that doesn't happen.

  8. #83
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    Full article: https://www.teslarati.com/spacex-fir...live-in-orbit/

    SpaceX’s Starlink high-speed internet satellites alive and well in orbit

    Comments from SpaceX CEO Elon Musk and other executives have confirmed that the company’s first two prototype Starlink internet satellites are healthy and progressing through a range of tests three months after launch.

    Designed to flesh out a broad range of technologies and flight-test SpaceX’s ability to design, manufacture, and operate advanced communications satellites, what little public information available on the satellite constellation indicates that the test program is thus far a success. While it can be argued that SpaceX already has years of experience building and operating satellites in the form of Cargo Dragon and Falcon 9’s upper stage, small high-throughput communications satellites are a dramatic leap outside of the company’s demonstrated comfort zones. As such, the fact that the first true standalone Starlink prototypes have survived several months in orbit and managed to demonstrate at least a few of their complex technologies with some success.

    Musk noted in a tweet that the first two Starlink satellites were doing “pretty good” and “closing the link to ground with phased array at high bandwidth, low latency (25 ms).” He also stated that there would likely be another hardware revision before settling on a final design for Starlink, indicating that at least one more batch of improved prototype satellites will likely be launched sometime this year.

    Given the sheer number of new technologies built in-house for Starlink, ranging from optical (laser) interlink terminals to electric ion propulsion systems, it should come as little surprise that the satellite internet constellation team intends to continue iterative improvement and testing before transferring focus to mass-production and consumer operations.

    Previously mentioned by Musk during Tesla’s Q1 2018 conference call, the CEO does not expect initial Starlink service to be available to consumers (and perhaps even to internal R&D teams at Tesla) for at least “three years”, indicating the beginning of operational connectivity no earlier than 2021 or 2022. This timeline allows SpaceX at least another 6-12 months of experimentation and flight testing before the first true production runs and launches would need to begin, giving the company roughly 12-18 months to build and launch the minimum of ~800 satellites required to begin offering consumers internet access.
    What I don't want to see is the Bills winning a Super Bowl. As long as I'm alive that doesn't happen.

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