Author Topic: SpaceX: Advanced Launch Abort System (LAS)  (Read 109218 times)

Offline Chris Bergin

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Today, SpaceX released a new video on our plans for an advanced launch abort system.

A bit of time travel - here's an article from Feb, 2012:
http://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2012/02/spacex-dragon-advancing-launch-abort-system-new-heights/

Then Doctor Who back to when I posted this thread....

;D

WATCH THE VIDEO:


 

The video was unveiled by Garrett Reisman, SpaceX Commercial Crew Development Program Manager, during a NASA press conference on Commercial Crew Development.

 

Attached is the SpaceX press kit.

Below is the SpaceX press release on Commercial Crew Development.

 

 

Kirstin Brost | Communications Director | SpaceX | 202-649-2716

 

Twitter: http://twitter.com/SpaceXer

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/SpaceX

 



 

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Contact: Kirstin Brost, SpaceX

202-649-2716

 

SpaceX Wins NASA Contract to Complete Development of Successor to the Space Shuttle

First Astronaut Mission Expected in Three Years

 

WASHINGTON D.C. - NASA has awarded Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) $75 million to develop a revolutionary launch escape system that will enable the company’s Dragon spacecraft to carry astronauts.  The Congressionally mandated award is part of the agency's Commercial Crew Development (CCDev) initiative that started in 2009 to help private companies mature concepts and technologies for human spaceflight.

 

"This award will accelerate our efforts to develop the next-generation rockets and spacecraft for human transportation," said Elon Musk, SpaceX CEO and Chief Designer.  "With NASA’s support, SpaceX will be ready to fly its first manned mission in 2014."

 

Musk said the flight-proven Falcon 9 launch vehicle and Dragon spacecraft represent the safest and fastest path to American crew transportation capability.  With their historic successful flight on December 8th, 2010, many Falcon 9 and Dragon components that are needed to transport humans to low-Earth orbit have already been demonstrated in flight. Both vehicles were designed from the outset to fly people.

 

The announcement comes at a time when the United States has a critical need for American commercial human spaceflight. After the Space Shuttle retires in a few months, NASA will be totally dependent on the Russian Soyuz to ferry astronauts to and from the International Space Station (ISS) at a cost of more than $753 million a year -- about $63 million per seat.

 

Musk said Dragon – designed to carry seven astronauts at a time to the space station at a cost of $20 million a seat – offers a far better deal for the U.S. taxpayer.  While considerable flight testing remains, the critical-path technology Dragon needs for carrying humans to orbit is the launch escape system.

 

New Launch Abort System

 

SpaceX's integrated escape system will be superior to traditional solid rocket tractor escape towers used by other vehicles in the past.  Due to their extreme weight, tractor systems must be jettisoned within minutes of liftoff, but the SpaceX innovative design builds the escape engines into the side walls of Dragon, eliminating the danger of releasing a heavy solid rocket escape tower after launch.

 

The SpaceX design also provides crew with emergency escape capability throughout the entire flight, whereas the Space Shuttle has no escape system and even the Apollo moon program allowed escape only during the first few minutes of flight.  The result is that astronauts flying on Dragon will be considerably safer. 

 

Furthermore, the integrated escape system returns with the spacecraft, allowing for easy reuse and radical reductions in the cost of space transport.  Over time, the same escape thrusters will also provide the capability for Dragon to land almost anywhere on Earth or another planet with pinpoint accuracy, overcoming the limitation of a winged architecture that works only in Earth's atmosphere.

 

Under the award, SpaceX will modify Dragon to accommodate crew, with specific hardware milestones that will provide NASA with regular, demonstrated progress including:

 

·         Static fire testing of the launch escape system engines

·         Initial design of abort engine and crew accommodations

·         Prototype evaluations by NASA crew for seats, control panels and cabin

 

The December 8th, 2010, demonstration flight of Falcon 9 and Dragon was the first flight under NASA’s Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) program, which was initiated to develop commercial cargo services to the International Space Station.  After the Space Shuttle retires, SpaceX will fly at least 12 missions to carry cargo to and from the International Space Station as part of the Commercial Resupply Services (CRS) contract for NASA.


Offline Lee Jay

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Re: SpaceX: Advanced Launch Abort System (LAS)
« Reply #1 on: 04/28/2011 05:18 PM »
So, they really do want to land Dragon on Mars.

Does anyone but me think this is an exaggeration?

"SpaceX Wins NASA Contract to Complete Development of Successor to the Space Shuttle"

The contact won't cover the development to completion and it's not really the successor to the Space Shuttle, it's a new and different manned launch capability designed mostly for an entirely different purpose.
« Last Edit: 04/28/2011 05:21 PM by Lee Jay »

Online ugordan

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Re: SpaceX: Advanced Launch Abort System (LAS)
« Reply #2 on: 04/28/2011 05:20 PM »

Offline mr. mark

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Re: SpaceX: Advanced Launch Abort System (LAS)
« Reply #3 on: 04/28/2011 05:21 PM »
Looks like the vision is for Martian powered landing. What really interests me is at 1:18 you get a view of a Spacex "space barge" holding cargo and another Dragon spacecraft for accent. Are those engines underneath the Dragon for the martian accent phase?

Offline agman25

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Re: SpaceX: Advanced Launch Abort System (LAS)
« Reply #4 on: 04/28/2011 05:29 PM »
Chief Designer Musk does have a talent for the dramatic.

"Over time, the same escape thrusters will also provide the capability for Dragon to land almost anywhere on Earth or another planet with pinpoint accuracy, overcoming the limitation of a winged architecture that works only in Earth's atmosphere."

Offline mr. mark

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Re: SpaceX: Advanced Launch Abort System (LAS)
« Reply #5 on: 04/28/2011 05:31 PM »
And the actual press kit... http://www.spacex.com/downloads/20110428-spacex-sts134.pdf

IMPRESSIVE! and one great presentation. You got to admit having ex NASA astronauts on the team is a huge plus.
« Last Edit: 04/28/2011 05:33 PM by mr. mark »

Offline Chris Bergin

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Re: SpaceX: Advanced Launch Abort System (LAS)
« Reply #6 on: 04/28/2011 05:32 PM »
Attached is the SpaceX press kit.

And the actual press kit... http://www.spacex.com/downloads/20110428-spacex-sts134.pdf

Opps, thanks! I didn't notice the pdf on the e-mail :)

I like how their pdf respects Shuttle....which is more than we can say about Virgin.

Offline Lurker Steve

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Re: SpaceX: Advanced Launch Abort System (LAS)
« Reply #7 on: 04/28/2011 05:53 PM »
·         Static fire testing of the launch escape system engines

·         Initial design of abort engine and crew accommodations

·         Prototype evaluations by NASA crew for seats, control panels and cabin


Looking at these milestones, they will still have significant work to do to finish up a crewed-ready vehicle.

Are they developing their own engines for the LAS ? I think the other vendors have already had static fires of the LAS engines on a test stand. SpaceX looks to be behind here.

There is only an "initial" design of abort engine milestone. Does this mean only a token effort for actual integration into the crewed capsule is performed ? Is final integration part of the next phase ?

I imagine the current cargo Dragon will not include flight controls, the LAS, and a bunch of other new features (like Windows) that are only necessary for transporting passengers.

I know they are trying to push the fact that the 2 vehicles have the same basic design, but in reality, the crewed vehicle needs a new name.

Offline mr. mark

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Re: SpaceX: Advanced Launch Abort System (LAS)
« Reply #8 on: 04/28/2011 05:57 PM »
They plan having a full up test of LAS at ground level next summer. Not sure how to read that as far as integration with the Dragon spacecraft.
« Last Edit: 04/28/2011 05:58 PM by mr. mark »

Online Robotbeat

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Re: SpaceX: Advanced Launch Abort System (LAS)
« Reply #9 on: 04/28/2011 05:59 PM »
·         Static fire testing of the launch escape system engines

·         Initial design of abort engine and crew accommodations

·         Prototype evaluations by NASA crew for seats, control panels and cabin


Looking at these milestones, they will still have significant work to do to finish up a crewed-ready vehicle.

Are they developing their own engines for the LAS ? I think the other vendors have already had static fires of the LAS engines on a test stand. SpaceX looks to be behind here.

There is only an "initial" design of abort engine milestone. Does this mean only a token effort for actual integration into the crewed capsule is performed ? Is final integration part of the next phase ?

I imagine the current cargo Dragon will not include flight controls, the LAS, and a bunch of other new features (like Windows) that are only necessary for transporting passengers.

I know they are trying to push the fact that the 2 vehicles have the same basic design, but in reality, the crewed vehicle needs a new name.

The current cargo Dragon (that already flew) does and did include windows.
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Offline Downix

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Re: SpaceX: Advanced Launch Abort System (LAS)
« Reply #10 on: 04/28/2011 06:04 PM »
Dragon is behind in LAS, but with other systems it is ahead, so all in all I'd classify the Dragon as on-level with other CCDev vehicles development wise.  So no going "well, this company has tested it's LAS" and such, because none of the companies are truly ahead in this scenario.  SpaceX has a functional capsule, which puts it ahead in many areas, but it lacks the crew safety systems which the other vendors have already gotten a jump on in developing.  This, from my viewpoint, says nothing about them being ahead, or behind, just that they are following a different path.  And their path may prove itself to be the better one in the end, we don't know.
chuck - Toilet paper has no real value? Try living with 5 other adults for 6 months in a can with no toilet paper. Man oh man. Toilet paper would be worth it's weight in gold!

Online Robotbeat

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Re: SpaceX: Advanced Launch Abort System (LAS)
« Reply #11 on: 04/28/2011 06:14 PM »
Now, this is largely my opinion, but...
SpaceX has orbited, reentered, and recovered a capsule. They've proven everything (except life support and seats) that's absolutely required for sending crew (controls are also desired and will be on the final craft before any crew are launched, but are not strictly required). A LAS is something that you'd rather never ever use, and was never used in the US manned space program. Taking that into consideration, they are far ahead of anyone else, though developing the LAS may take time. (However, other CCDev2 spacecraft have the advantage that they are using the existing and well-demonstrated Atlas V, while the Falcon 9 is newer and has yet to really hit its stride when it comes to launch tempo.)

And to be honest, I agree with the CCDev2 reviewer that using a hybrid rocket is risky for abort. Dreamchaser is cool, but is more difficult to develop.
Chris  Whoever loves correction loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid.

To the maximum extent practicable, the Federal Government shall plan missions to accommodate the space transportation services capabilities of United States commercial providers. US law http://goo.gl/YZYNt0

Offline AS-503

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Re: SpaceX: Advanced Launch Abort System (LAS)
« Reply #12 on: 04/28/2011 06:19 PM »
And the actual press kit... http://www.spacex.com/downloads/20110428-spacex-sts134.pdf

IMPRESSIVE! and one great presentation. You got to admit having ex NASA astronauts on the team is a huge plus.


I think ATK has more ex-NASA brass than anybody.

Bravo to SpaceX. I sure hope they can develop the abort system the way they are spinning it.


Offline Jim

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Re: SpaceX: Advanced Launch Abort System (LAS)
« Reply #13 on: 04/28/2011 06:40 PM »
You got to admit having ex NASA astronauts on the team is a huge plus.

Not really, see Spacehab.  There are just as many minuses as pluses.

Offline Downix

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Re: SpaceX: Advanced Launch Abort System (LAS)
« Reply #14 on: 04/28/2011 06:53 PM »
And to be honest, I agree with the CCDev2 reviewer that using a hybrid rocket is risky for abort. Dreamchaser is cool, but is more difficult to develop.
I don't see it as risky, it depends on the particulars of the hybrid system doesn't it?  I made one, once, which was Hypergolic, so no concern over ignition there.

*edit* Come to think of it, my particular design would not be smart for the Dream Chaser in any case, as I used a 5% formula of Chlorine TriFlouride as the oxidizer.  That stuff is dangerous in the highest degree, so falls under the "Don't do this at home kids" category.
« Last Edit: 04/28/2011 07:46 PM by Downix »
chuck - Toilet paper has no real value? Try living with 5 other adults for 6 months in a can with no toilet paper. Man oh man. Toilet paper would be worth it's weight in gold!

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