Author Topic: Air Force reveals plan for up to 48 launches per year from Cape Canaveral  (Read 5646 times)


Offline Steve D

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The comment that caught my attention the most was the addition of the AFTS would eliminate 96 people.

“So we came down 96 people that don’t have to be sitting on console.  And the cost to the customer is cut in half.  "

Why did it take 96 people to do the flight termination? What did all 96 of them do?
Steve

Offline Paul Smith

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Great article. Launch coverage here is going to be crazy if they get up to 48 launches!

Offline Jim

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The comment that caught my attention the most was the addition of the AFTS would eliminate 96 people.

“So we came down 96 people that don’t have to be sitting on console.  And the cost to the customer is cut in half.  "

Why did it take 96 people to do the flight termination? What did all 96 of them do?
Steve

Comm, radar, transmitter, receiver, backup power generation, software, tracking cameras, console maintenance, etc  They would be located at the MOCC, JDMTA, Antigua, Cape command  antenna site, camera sites, etc

Offline M.E.T.

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Interesting. But is that really such an ambitious goal?

If SpaceX alone is aiming for 20 or so flights from the Cape this year, and upping that to 30+  the year thereafter (without Boca Chica being online yet), surely a 48 launch limit means that either SpaceX or some of the other launch providers will not be accommodated in any given year.

Offline Hauerg

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The comment that caught my attention the most was the addition of the AFTS would eliminate 96 people.

“So we came down 96 people that don’t have to be sitting on console.  And the cost to the customer is cut in half.  "

Why did it take 96 people to do the flight termination? What did all 96 of them do?
Steve

Comm, radar, transmitter, receiver, backup power generation, software, tracking cameras, console maintenance, etc  They would be located at the MOCC, JDMTA, Antigua, Cape command  antenna site, camera sites, etc

Wow!
Just shows how not any idea of reality I had.  :o

Offline mme

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Looks like we could be in for some exciting times.
Quote
“When pad 40 is up and operating, [it will] give us the capability of launching a Falcon from both pad 39A and pad 40 on the same day,” stated the Brig. Gen.
Mark

Offline M.E.T.

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Looks like we could be in for some exciting times.
Quote
“When pad 40 is up and operating, [it will] give us the capability of launching a Falcon from both pad 39A and pad 40 on the same day,” stated the Brig. Gen.

This is kind of what I'm wondering about. If SpaceX gets the launch cadence down to two weeks turnaround time per pad, that means basically 4 launches a month from 39A and 40 combined. That's 48 launches just from SpaceX.

So I'm wondering if 48 is just an intermediate target, which can be increased as demand increases, or is it some kind of hard limit?

Offline blasphemer

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Awesome news! High launch rate is crucial for lower launch costs.

Online Lee Jay

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Comm, radar, transmitter, receiver, backup power generation, software, tracking cameras, console maintenance, etc  They would be located at the MOCC, JDMTA, Antigua, Cape command  antenna site, camera sites, etc

How would AFTS eliminate tracking cameras?  I thought those were diagnostic.

Online ChrisGebhardt

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Comm, radar, transmitter, receiver, backup power generation, software, tracking cameras, console maintenance, etc  They would be located at the MOCC, JDMTA, Antigua, Cape command  antenna site, camera sites, etc

How would AFTS eliminate tracking cameras?  I thought those were diagnostic.

Unless I'm mistaken, tracking cameras for diagnostic was really just a Shuttle thing.  They're not needed in that way for Atlas V, Delta IV, and Falcon 9.
« Last Edit: 03/20/2017 05:50 PM by ChrisGebhardt »

Offline Kansan52

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Congratulations to the Air Force team!

Offline Barrie

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Looks like we could be in for some exciting times.
Quote
“When pad 40 is up and operating, [it will] give us the capability of launching a Falcon from both pad 39A and pad 40 on the same day,” stated the Brig. Gen.

This is kind of what I'm wondering about. If SpaceX gets the launch cadence down to two weeks turnaround time per pad, that means basically 4 launches a month from 39A and 40 combined. That's 48 launches just from SpaceX.

So I'm wondering if 48 is just an intermediate target, which can be increased as demand increases, or is it some kind of hard limit?

It's got me wondering if the launch rate could be increased further if there was more standardisation between launch vehicles.

Offline Jim

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How would AFTS eliminate tracking cameras?  I thought those were diagnostic.

Maybe not now, but originally radars couldn't see the vehicle until it was above the ground clutter.  Back in the day, there were observers looking through a wire screens to make sure the rocket didn't go outside of the limits.  It was later replaced with cameras with overlays on the monitor screen.


GPS Metric tracking probably eliminated this.

Offline Jim

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Unless I'm mistaken, tracking cameras for diagnostic was really just a Shuttle thing.  They're not needed in that way for Atlas V, Delta IV, and Falcon 9.

The others still have tracking for diagnostics, just not the level of shuttle.  Spacex even does some of its own.

Offline Jim

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It's got me wondering if the launch rate could be increased further if there was more standardisation between launch vehicles.

What kind of standardization?

Offline whitelancer64

How would AFTS eliminate tracking cameras?  I thought those were diagnostic.

Maybe not now, but originally radars couldn't see the vehicle until it was above the ground clutter.  Back in the day, there were observers looking through a wire screens to make sure the rocket didn't go outside of the limits.  It was later replaced with cameras with overlays on the monitor screen.


GPS Metric tracking probably eliminated this.

My understanding is that there are some range assets that are physically moved between launch sites for launches, is that correct Jim? Would that be the aforementioned tracking cameras and similar equipment?
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Offline Barrie

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It's got me wondering if the launch rate could be increased further if there was more standardisation between launch vehicles.

What kind of standardization?

Er, I don't know!  I'm just thinking that if they could launch two F9s on the same day, then they could launch two of anything on the same day if all rockets were alike in whatever ways matter as far as reconfiguring the range goes.

Online AncientU

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What will the collateral impact be on work in progress at the pads, for instance, if the launch cadence is this high?  Will work have to stop on 39B every time a launch or static fire happens on 39A or 41/40/37?  Going to be tough to avoid schedule impact if this is the case (and the weekly cadence is realized).

By the way, don't know if it was an oversight, but article never mentioned SLS.
"If we shared everything [we are working on] people would think we are insane!"
-- SpaceX friend of mlindner

Online ChrisGebhardt

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It's got me wondering if the launch rate could be increased further if there was more standardisation between launch vehicles.

What kind of standardization?

Er, I don't know!  I'm just thinking that if they could launch two F9s on the same day, then they could launch two of anything on the same day if all rockets were alike in whatever ways matter as far as reconfiguring the range goes.


No.  The only way two Falcons can launch on the same day is because there are two pads (39A and 40).  If there weren't, the AFTS becomes a moot point to this.  It's the combination of AFTS AND two pads that make two launches in same day possible for Falcon 9.

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