Author Topic: Spaceport America set for SpaceX reusability testing  (Read 34507 times)


Offline Rocket Science

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Re: Spaceport America set for SpaceX reusability testing
« Reply #1 on: 03/19/2015 11:39 PM »
http://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2015/03/spaceport-america-spacex-reusability-testing/

Overview of what's been done so far and the aligning of the future plans.
Great update Chris thanks! :)
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Offline bubbagret

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Re: Spaceport America set for SpaceX reusability testing
« Reply #2 on: 03/19/2015 11:56 PM »
Great article!

Online meekGee

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Re: Spaceport America set for SpaceX reusability testing
« Reply #3 on: 03/20/2015 12:03 AM »
So are the cores switched?  Where's The Turkmenistan Sat core going to be while they are working on CRS6?  Is it going back to TX or CA?
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Offline SpaceX_MS

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Re: Spaceport America set for SpaceX reusability testing
« Reply #4 on: 03/20/2015 12:59 AM »
Really enjoyed reading that article. Great collation of the path in about 1,000 words! Great reference.

Offline SpaceXfan

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Re: Spaceport America set for SpaceX reusability testing
« Reply #5 on: 03/20/2015 02:42 AM »
I don't think people realize how much more is in this than "just" Spaceport America! Linked some of it in the other threads. Awesome article.

Offline northenarc

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Re: Spaceport America set for SpaceX reusability testing
« Reply #6 on: 03/20/2015 02:44 AM »
 Nice article. I have to wonder though if they'll actually use the first recovered stage in the long run, that stage will be historic, potentially Air and Space Museum worthy. I'd think they'd rather use the one from the Obrcomm launch in the summer when they uprate the engines and save the first one. (edit: maybe the SES-9 flight?)
« Last Edit: 03/20/2015 02:53 AM by northenarc »

Online meekGee

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Re: Spaceport America set for SpaceX reusability testing
« Reply #7 on: 03/20/2015 03:04 AM »
<rant, not "against" the last poster>

I love air and space museums, but it's more important that SpaceX concentrates on actually making history.  They are the only ones doing something about the future right now - the museums will come naturally after the fact, as a consequence.

Much too much effort is being put into glorifying small achievements in newspace.  Getting your stuff into the museum becomes a goal in and of itself, intended to "prove" that what you did was newsworthy - it's the tail wagging the dog.

Land on the moon first, make the achievement without thinking of museums, and it will become history, and be put in museums.

</rant>
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Offline Kabloona

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Re: Spaceport America set for SpaceX reusability testing
« Reply #8 on: 03/20/2015 03:04 AM »
Nice article. I have to wonder though if they'll actually use the first recovered stage in the long run, that stage will be historic, potentially Air and Space Museum worthy. I'd think they'd rather use the one from the Obrcomm launch in the summer when they uprate the engines and save the first one. (edit: maybe the SES-9 flight?)

The article suggests that both of the first two returned stages will be tested to their limits, after which I imagine they'll be disassembled and inspected for wear, cracks, etc, so there may not be much left of them but a pile of parts.

Offline clongton

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Re: Spaceport America set for SpaceX reusability testing
« Reply #9 on: 03/20/2015 10:48 AM »
Great article Chris, thanks. It's good to see Spaceport America being highlighted. That location has awesome potential. Virgin Galactic is already home-ported there and I think Xcor is or has considered it as well. Should SpaceX succeed in getting their upper stage to return intact, it would be an ideal landing location. I really don't see much difference between a Space Shuttle deorbiting across the continental US for a Florida landing and a Falcon upper stage deorbiting across the western US for a landing in New Mexico. I know that is pure speculation, but hey, that's the kind of out of the box thinking that SpaceX engages in on a daily basis, some of which they have already made reality.

100 years ago nobody envisioned so many passenger aircraft plying the skies that traffic control would become necessary. Who knows; perhaps one day we will see rocket ships depart from and return to Spaceport America on regularly scheduled flights as well. Is there a future for Spaceport America with the MCT? Who knows.  Once launch vehicles can RTLS on a consistent and regular basis then there is no longer any need to launch only from ocean east coast locations. Weather would almost *never* be a problem, either for launch or recovery. At least that is the kind of visioning of the far-thinking New Mexico Governor and Legislator. Kudos to them for investing in the future like that.

Great article Chris, thanks.
« Last Edit: 03/20/2015 11:12 AM by clongton »
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Offline abaddon

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Re: Spaceport America set for SpaceX reusability testing
« Reply #10 on: 03/20/2015 12:48 PM »
So are the cores switched?  Where's The Turkmenistan Sat core going to be while they are working on CRS6?  Is it going back to TX or CA?
As far as the second question goes, I am pretty sure I remember reading somewhere here that SpaceX has the ability to store one or more cores out of the HIF on or near CCAFS.  If you're wondering about the core needing to be worked on, I would imagine they can do that at the Cape.  They've done all kinds of hardware swaps without sending any cores back that I know of.

Since they are planning to recover CRS6, that means either the Turkmenistan core has the hardware to attach legs or they aren't switching cores.  My bet is on the latter.  Although, at some point, I would imagine all stages will support legs so they don't have to worry about core switching eliminating recovery.  Which begs the question of how much of a performance penalty there is for a core that can support legs, but has no legs...
« Last Edit: 03/20/2015 12:54 PM by abaddon »

Offline abaddon

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Re: Spaceport America set for SpaceX reusability testing
« Reply #11 on: 03/20/2015 12:52 PM »
Also, this is a great article, full of tons of juicy details.  Well done!

SpaceX is clearly setting the stage (no pun intended) for what happens when they manage to recover a core, and their plans make a lot of sense.

I also wonder if this might be a public vote of confidence for Spaceport America, which has seen a lot of expenditure of public funds but has yet to host any serious use.  SpaceX conducting this kind of work there would be a welcome shot in the arm for those who want the Spaceport to be successful.


Online AncientU

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Re: Spaceport America set for SpaceX reusability testing
« Reply #12 on: 03/20/2015 01:11 PM »
Seems to me the question is, what launch performance can they demonstrate within the ceilings/range authorized from Spaceport America?

They would like to get to max Q, I'd think... can that happen without violating the ceiling?  How many engines needed without second stage and reduced fuel load?  (3 might do it, but maybe 5 to more closely match normal launch loads on thrust structure)  Can they use a simple launch platform (with legs folded, of course)?

If so, they could do several launches of the booster and demo turn-around, etc., too.  Excellent RTLS practice, too.
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Online Chris Bergin

Yeah, we're looking to get some more details on that! Thanks for the nice words about the info above!

Offline Swoopert

Love the article Chris...Might it be worth mentioning that SLC-13 is now Landing Complex 1? (Space X posted a nice picture!)
« Last Edit: 03/20/2015 02:01 PM by Swoopert »

Offline Jim

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Re: Spaceport America set for SpaceX reusability testing
« Reply #15 on: 03/20/2015 02:44 PM »
Nice article. I have to wonder though if they'll actually use the first recovered stage in the long run, that stage will be historic, potentially Air and Space Museum worthy. I'd think they'd rather use the one from the Obrcomm launch in the summer when they uprate the engines and save the first one. (edit: maybe the SES-9 flight?)

Recovery of a stage is not historic, it is a meaningless end.  Now, reuse of a recovered stage is a totally different thing.  When  the first reused stage is recovered, that is when  it secured a place in  museums

Offline abaddon

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Re: Spaceport America set for SpaceX reusability testing
« Reply #16 on: 03/20/2015 03:14 PM »
Recovery of a stage is not historic, it is a meaningless end.  Now, reuse of a recovered stage is a totally different thing.  When  the first reused stage is recovered, that is when  it secured a place in  museums

That's a little like saying that Apollo 8 wasn't historic when man first orbited the moon, what was historic was Apollo 11 when man landed on the moon.  If you think that way, we're just going to have to agree to disagree on that point.

Assuming SpaceX ever successfully reuses a stage (I am not sure why they would need to recover that stage, but whatever), the preceding successful landing and recovery of that stage will be historic indeed.  If they never successfully reuse a stage, I agree it would greatly diminish the historic significance of that event.
« Last Edit: 03/20/2015 03:14 PM by abaddon »

Offline Kabloona

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Re: Spaceport America set for SpaceX reusability testing
« Reply #17 on: 03/20/2015 03:16 PM »
Nice article. I have to wonder though if they'll actually use the first recovered stage in the long run, that stage will be historic, potentially Air and Space Museum worthy. I'd think they'd rather use the one from the Obrcomm launch in the summer when they uprate the engines and save the first one. (edit: maybe the SES-9 flight?)

Recovery of a stage is not historic, it is a meaningless end.  Now, reuse of a recovered stage is a totally different thing.  When  the first reused stage is recovered, that is when  it secured a place in  museums

Or to split hairs even further, when that stage has been reused as many times as SpaceX deems possible and thereby used up its entire economic/engineering value, THEN it can go to the museum.  ;)

Offline abaddon

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Re: Spaceport America set for SpaceX reusability testing
« Reply #18 on: 03/20/2015 03:24 PM »
Chris, a question regarding this from the article:
Quote
While efforts to achieve this goal are in the pipeline for the Upper Stage
My understanding was SpaceX has abandoned the idea of recovering S2 on F9.  Is that not the case?

Online meekGee

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Re: Spaceport America set for SpaceX reusability testing
« Reply #19 on: 03/20/2015 03:30 PM »
Nice article. I have to wonder though if they'll actually use the first recovered stage in the long run, that stage will be historic, potentially Air and Space Museum worthy. I'd think they'd rather use the one from the Obrcomm launch in the summer when they uprate the engines and save the first one. (edit: maybe the SES-9 flight?)

The article suggests that both of the first two returned stages will be tested to their limits, after which I imagine they'll be disassembled and inspected for wear, cracks, etc, so there may not be much left of them but a pile of parts.

IMHO, they'll want need to establish a reliability baseline for marketing and insurance rates setting purposes.  That'll necessarily mean re-flying the same booster over and over.

They'll also want to establish a booster refurbishment program and tempo, which means the booster refurbishment will take progressively shorter time periods between flights as they refine their procedures. As the reflight program matures it may evolve into a systems diagnostics and post- and pre-flight testing regimen as opposed to a more extensive tear down program where the booster is shipped to TX and then sent back to NM.

Finally, I think we'll see the automated refueling and relaunch procedures also tested out in NM first.

Exactly so.

About a year ago, I outlined what I thought would be two phases for GH2 operations.  The first was R&D in order to enable first recovery.  This was overtaken by events, since things worked spectacularly well for SpaceX.

The second was a pathfinder for rapid reusability and high-cycle-count demonstrator, which is what we're about to see.   The fact that GH2 will start out with an already-flown vehicle is a huge boon to both these goals.

I didn't think much about the robotic handling, but especially since Elon mentioned fly-back from the barge, I agree - NM is the place to work on that, instead of on the real pad or barge.
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