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Space Launches, Landings & Destinations v4


SpaceChampion
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4 hours ago, SpaceChampion said:
 

It's kind of foggy there today but doesn't seem like that's a factor.  SpaceX is working towards launching some time in the afternoon.

SN11 launch scrubbed for today, trying again Monday.

Musk wants to launch to orbit some time in July....   I suppose if they're launching a prototype every one or two weeks, they might make that but it's exceedingly ambitious.  But the Starship & Super Heavy stacked combo expected to make that flight would be SN20 and BN3.

The BN1 booster is nearing completion and should be tested as the very next thing after SN11 makes it's attempt to nail the Starship landing (hopefully Monday).  BN1 won't launch, it's just for more of a production pathfinder and ground operations test.  Not sure they'll even do a pressure test on it, or a static fire.   Having a lot in common with Starship and Falcon 9's first stage means they're confident Super Heavy can proceed much more quickly.

BN2 will likely do a small hop to a few hundred meters up, translate horizontally to the landing pad and descend there.  No belly flop manoeuvres!

After SN11 and BN1 are tested, the next Starship prototypes will be SN15, skipping 12-14.  I haven't looked up the exact reasons for the missing numbers but they were probably on the drawing board and earlier tests and design changes made those ones obsolete.  What SN15 to 19 flights will look like I don't know.  Could be a repeat of SN7 to SN11, just with the improved Raptor engines, changes to the landing legs, and probably a lot of other things internally to the plumbing to take out the factor of the belly flop / flip and burn manoeuvre messing up the pressurization and delivery of propellant to the engines.

BN1 in the high bay:

 

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On 3/26/2021 at 2:43 PM, SpaceChampion said:

Worth reading

 

 

 

Very interesting. i must admit to not drinking from the twitter cool aid, but enough of it spills over into other media to get a sense of how easily things get misrepresented.

16 hours ago, Corvinus85 said:

@SpaceChampion There's something that's been bugging about this approach to landing the Starhip, maybe you can shed some light.

This is supposed to carry a bunch of people. I've seen a couple of concept drawings. So how is flipping horizontally and then back vertically going to affect the people inside? 

Good question. My guess would be, for the life of the Starship project, it will land on Earth, Mars or the Moon. The G forces during landing flips won't be so bad on Mars (~0.34TG) and Luna (~0.16G) so the only concern will be landing back on Earth. Will Starship usher in a period where we start to populate space on a more permanent basis (LEO and above)? If so, then Starship will land back on Earth with fewer people than it takes off with and the seats for the returnees can easily be gimballed. there's certainly plenty of room within Starship to have a large gimbal section. Looking forward to seeing how the engineers at SpaceX solve this.     

 

 

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Sian "Psy" Proctor selected for the Inspiration4 first completely civilian privately-funded crew going to space in a Dragon in September of this year.  She definitely sounds like a great person, so I'm excited to see others excited for her.  Quite an interesting background listed here.

 

 

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Word is the Lunar Lander contract will be awarded by NASA to SpaceX, announcement expected at 4pm EDT.

Not surprising SpaceX's bid is lower by far than the other two competitors.

Lobbyists for the other two teams are probably furiously calling around Washington right now.

This is a good thing.  Starship development is well on its way and SpaceX was the only option to keep the deadline for the Artemis landing the first woman (and now also the first person of color) to the Moon (lunar south pole!) by the current target date of 2024.

NASA likes to select 2 or 3 options usually, but Congress didn't provide the budget for that.  I expect some in Congress to flip out and maybe trying to bring additional funds to select a second option, but I don't know if the Biden admin would support that.

The question is will SLS be ready to launch Orion with a crew to the moon by 2024.  I could be wrong, but I believe the program architecture will be send the crew in Orion, launched by SLS, to rendezvous with a Starship in Lunar orbit.  The Starship will refuel in Earth orbit from Tanker Starships carrying extra propellants, rendezvous in lunar orbit with Orion, descend to the lunar surface (at the south pole) and after however long lunar operations last, launch the crew back into orbit to transfer to Orion and return to Earth.  The Lunar Starship at that point might be scuttled... or perhaps returned to Earth on a much slower trajectory.  To avoid expending the Starship would likely require more refuelling from Starship Tanker variants.

Curiously, NASA just announced they are delaying the start of the contract with SpaceX for cargo services for the Lunar Gateway.  Obviously there is no Gateway yet, so this would be to delay making payments to SpaceX for design and development of the "Dragon XL" variant.  NASA is rethinking the best way to do Artemis, so perhaps Gateway itself is on the chopping block?  I hope so.  I prefer direct lunar landings, and investing money in building lunar surface assets.  The Gateway is a silly place anyway, to paraphrase Monty Python.

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Retired astronaut Pam Melroy nominated to be NASA Deputy Administrator

Quote

As a NASA astronaut, Melroy flew three space shuttle missions during the construction of the International Space Station, including two flights on Discovery and one on Atlantis, according to her NASA biography. She was mission commander of her final flight in 2007, joining Eileen Collins as the only two women to command the space shuttle.
When not flying herself, Melroy acted as Capsule Communicator, the person in Mission Control who talks with crewmembers in space, and in other support roles. In addition, she served on two teams that NASA assembled in the wake of the loss of space shuttle Columbia in 2003 to collect debris and investigate the disaster.
Melroy had served in the Air Force before becoming an astronaut. She retired from NASA in 2009 to work first for the Federal Aviation Administration and then the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). After his election in November, Biden selected her to serve on the NASA review team that helped facilitate his transition with regards to the agency.

And as rumoured, SpaceX wins the Lunar Landing award.  Award if for demonstrating the feat, with an additional contract to come for a specific number of landings.

Quote

In the document, NASA said it wanted “to preserve a competitive environment at this stage of the HLS Program.” But it added that “NASA’s current fiscal year budget did not support even a single [contract] award.” As a result, SpaceX updated its payment schedule so that it now fits “within NASA’s current budget.”

But in moving ahead with SpaceX alone, it sent a message that it fully trusts the growing company to fly its astronauts for its signature human exploration program — Artemis, a campaign to return astronauts to the moon for the first time since 1972.

 

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2 hours ago, Toth said:

No mention of the big thing today? Nothing?

This thread isn't my personal facebook timeline for me to be the only one posting space stuff.  Feel free to bring anything appropriate to the thread up.  Alas, I was too busy with DRAAAAMAMAAAAAA in a facebook group I run to do anything here regarding the Crew-2 mission to ISS.

Today:  SpaceX will attempt to launch Falcon 9 with the 2nd Crew Dragon spacecraft to ISS.  Yesterday the full dress rehearsal was performed and I assume it went well, as I didn't hear otherwise.

NASA live stream here of the NASA channel, which is current covering Mars Perseverance and later Crew-2.

Some discussion here by the crew of the mission:

 

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1 hour ago, SpaceChampion said:

This thread isn't my personal facebook timeline for me to be the only one posting space stuff.  Feel free to bring anything appropriate to the thread up.

I'm... I'm really sorry, it wasn't my intention to offend you. I... actually was totally unaware that you have been posting seven times in a row before and was just giddy about the Perseverence flight that I barged in and was confused that no-one had posted the livestream or anything. Really, I'm sorry...

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13 minutes ago, Toth said:

I'm... I'm really sorry, it wasn't my intention to offend you. I... actually was totally unaware that you have been posting seven times in a row before and was just giddy about the Perseverence flight that I barged in and was confused that no-one had posted the livestream or anything. Really, I'm sorry...

No problem, not offended.  I thought there were still glitches and concerns with Ingenuity (the helicopter) so wasn't waiting for a livestream.  It was to happen at 3:15 EDT this morning.  I'm pretty sure the video is uploaded to Earth after the fact (cached in Perseverance then uploaded) so the video should show up later.  Whether that is hours or days I don't know.

 

Some stills from the initial flight in this video.

 

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1 hour ago, Corvinus85 said:

I've been following this youtube channel for updates.

Looks like a low framerate for now.   Video is taken by the Mastcam-Z camera, which is HD quality but only 1600x1200 pixels, but also stereoscopic and multispectral.  Photos are both lossless and lossy jpegs.   

Technical specs.

Oh, looks like 16 frames/GOP but I don't know what a GOP is....   Obviously not "per second".   It means "group of pictures" but that's not informative.

Edited by SpaceChampion
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I'm feeling so giddy about Ingenuity today!! What an amazing feat!!

Although I run a space TikTok channel and it was disheartening how this made the crazies come out of the wood. Got LOTS of complaints on my excited update about it being fake and the typical complaints of wasting money on this kind of thing instead of doing XYZ. And a few debbie downers who didn't see why it was interesting at all.

BUT I DON'T CARE WE JUST FLEW A HELICOPTER ON MARS!!!!!!! whee

Also I'm feeling some familial pride because, NBD, but the Wright brothers were like my 12th cousins, so.

5 hours ago, SpaceChampion said:

Today:  SpaceX will attempt to launch Falcon 9 with the 2nd Crew Dragon spacecraft to ISS.  Yesterday the full dress rehearsal was performed and I assume it went well, as I didn't hear otherwise.

I think you're jumping the gun a bit, the launch is scheduled for Thursday morning I believe!

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1 hour ago, Starkess said:

I think you're jumping the gun a bit, the launch is scheduled for Thursday morning I believe!

Aha, yes!  Thursday.  :-)

1 hour ago, Starkess said:

Although I run a space TikTok channel and it was disheartening how this made the crazies come out of the wood. Got LOTS of complaints on my excited update about it being fake and the typical complaints of wasting money on this kind of thing instead of doing XYZ. And a few debbie downers who didn't see why it was interesting at all.

That's unfortunate, and predictable.  Feel free to share the channel here.  :-)

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