Author Topic: SpaceX conducts tanking test on In-Flight Abort Falcon 9  (Read 42610 times)

Offline baldusi

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Re: SpaceX conducts tanking test on In-Flight Abort Falcon 9
« Reply #20 on: 05/07/2015 04:02 PM »
Unmanned demo flight will land in the Pacific just as Cargo Dragon. AIUI, certification of that will be problematic, at best. Unless they got some serious issues that they might need to redo the whole hardware, I don't see why PA craft won't be perfectly usable for IFA. UD can then be used for DragonFly, since it won't need any special certification and won't go higher than 2km.

The pad abort Dragon landed in the sea too. They plan on reusing it anyway. I don't say it would not be fit for IFA. They just may have a better use for it to start the Dragon-Fly program early and do the IFA with the full up Dragon 2. Anyway it is only speculation like other posts.
It landed less than 1km from the coast and could be returned with a small boat. The IFA will land quite a bit further out, and the rocket's flight will mean that the ships will have to stay further out. All that means a much harsher treatment and higher chances of water intrusion.

Offline cscott

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Re: SpaceX conducts tanking test on In-Flight Abort Falcon 9
« Reply #21 on: 05/07/2015 04:35 PM »
Instead, I'm pretty sure you're just seeing the effects of parrallel hardware paths. They are building the flight demo dragon 2 in parallel with refitting the boilerplate dragon used for the launch abort, and also simultaneously working on the 3 engine in-flight-abort core and (lots of) standard falcon 9 cores.  They'll fly whichever mission is ready first.

I agree, if the two missions have roughly the same schedule. Previous indications where that the IFA would be ready within a couple of months. So for the argument to hold either the orbital test could be ready soon or the IFA has had a significant delay. Given Elon is talking about them happening within 18 months (not 6) it doesn't sound like the former!

It could be pad logistics as well.  IFA from Vandenberg, orbital test from the Cape.  And both are competing with Falcon Heavy as well as Falcon 9 v1.2. (And all of the CRS flights.)

I do think it's possible that one test or the other might be held to make it more "flight-like" or to accomodate Dragon 2 design changes/lessons learned.  Given that Elon's quote was shortly after Pad Abort, he might have been covering his bases in case Pad Abort results suggested design changes that should be incorporated into IFA.  And before the test it wasn't certain whether they would get the PA dragon back in good shape to fly the IFA.  So Elon might have been just restating the planning status quo from before the test, which allowed for the possibility that IFA would slip.  But that all just underscores my main point, which is that by allowing the tests to flip-flop SpaceX is attempting to *decouple* planning for IFA and the orbital test.  Actually reusing hardware from one for the other would defeat the point.

Offline Lars-J

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Re: SpaceX conducts tanking test on In-Flight Abort Falcon 9
« Reply #22 on: 05/07/2015 04:36 PM »
This thread will eventually become the In Flight Abort Test Discussion Thread nearer the time, when we add the Update Threads and such....

So on that basis I think it's worth capturing the following from the pad abort discussion thread:

Some side breaking news. "Musk suggested it (inflight abort test) could take place after an uncrewed orbital test flight that is part of the commercial crew contract it received last year. Its not clear which will precede the other, Musk said of the two tests, adding that both would take place in the next year and a half". - See more at: http://spacenews.com/spacex-successfully-tests-dragon-abort-system/

I'm a little surprised by this. Partly as I assume more work is needed to be ready for an orbital flight (even if uncrewed) than for the IFA? (not least a full F9 to launch it, as opposed to the 3 engined 1st stage that already exists for the IFA) Also there's a $30M milestone payment for the IFA that I'd have though SpaceX would like to claim?

Hmm. If this is indeed true, perhaps the 3-engine "in flight abort core" (as labeled by this site) undergoing tests at VAFB is actually not that, and will be heading for the NM test site next to become F9R-Dev2.

Online Jcc

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Re: SpaceX conducts tanking test on In-Flight Abort Falcon 9
« Reply #23 on: 05/07/2015 05:27 PM »
This thread will eventually become the In Flight Abort Test Discussion Thread nearer the time, when we add the Update Threads and such....

So on that basis I think it's worth capturing the following from the pad abort discussion thread:

Some side breaking news. "Musk suggested it (inflight abort test) could take place after an uncrewed orbital test flight that is part of the commercial crew contract it received last year. Its not clear which will precede the other, Musk said of the two tests, adding that both would take place in the next year and a half". - See more at: http://spacenews.com/spacex-successfully-tests-dragon-abort-system/

I'm a little surprised by this. Partly as I assume more work is needed to be ready for an orbital flight (even if uncrewed) than for the IFA? (not least a full F9 to launch it, as opposed to the 3 engined 1st stage that already exists for the IFA) Also there's a $30M milestone payment for the IFA that I'd have though SpaceX would like to claim?

Hmm. If this is indeed true, perhaps the 3-engine "in flight abort core" (as labeled by this site) undergoing tests at VAFB is actually not that, and will be heading for the NM test site next to become F9R-Dev2.

Doubt it. There is much more to gain by using a recovered core  for testing in NM, unless they decide they will not recover a core unless the do Dev2 testing first.  I think Elon's statement about in flight about test delay is in the event they need to rework the abort system. So, there are two possibilities that could force a change, so it could happen.

I wonder about their plans for the Dragon test article, could that become Dragonfly?

Online deruch

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Re: SpaceX conducts tanking test on In-Flight Abort Falcon 9
« Reply #24 on: 05/07/2015 06:27 PM »
This thread will eventually become the In Flight Abort Test Discussion Thread nearer the time, when we add the Update Threads and such....

So on that basis I think it's worth capturing the following from the pad abort discussion thread:

Some side breaking news. "Musk suggested it (inflight abort test) could take place after an uncrewed orbital test flight that is part of the commercial crew contract it received last year. Its not clear which will precede the other, Musk said of the two tests, adding that both would take place in the next year and a half". - See more at: http://spacenews.com/spacex-successfully-tests-dragon-abort-system/

I'm a little surprised by this. Partly as I assume more work is needed to be ready for an orbital flight (even if uncrewed) than for the IFA? (not least a full F9 to launch it, as opposed to the 3 engined 1st stage that already exists for the IFA) Also there's a $30M milestone payment for the IFA that I'd have though SpaceX would like to claim?

Hmm. If this is indeed true, perhaps the 3-engine "in flight abort core" (as labeled by this site) undergoing tests at VAFB is actually not that, and will be heading for the NM test site next to become F9R-Dev2.

Doubtful.  SpaceX allowed their FAA permit for the F9R-dev program to expire.  They'd have to reapply.  If they had had any intention of continuing that program it would have been very easy and much cheaper to get an extension.  The fact that they let it lapse tells me they have absolutely zero intention of continuing it.
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Offline Lars-J

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Re: SpaceX conducts tanking test on In-Flight Abort Falcon 9
« Reply #25 on: 05/07/2015 06:41 PM »
Hmm. If this is indeed true, perhaps the 3-engine "in flight abort core" (as labeled by this site) undergoing tests at VAFB is actually not that, and will be heading for the NM test site next to become F9R-Dev2.

Doubtful.  SpaceX allowed their FAA permit for the F9R-dev program to expire.  They'd have to reapply.  If they had had any intention of continuing that program it would have been very easy and much cheaper to get an extension.  The fact that they let it lapse tells me they have absolutely zero intention of continuing it.

The same permit would apply for a test program re-flying recovered stages or a dedicated F9R-Dev2, so I don't see how you jump to that conclusion.

Offline Helodriver

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Re: SpaceX conducts tanking test on In-Flight Abort Falcon 9
« Reply #26 on: 05/07/2015 07:00 PM »
Oh the drifting speculation, I can take no more!  :P  From one of the SLC-4 pad managers to me directly a couple of weeks ago...

The vehicle on the pad up until last week was indeed built as Dev.2. It is no longer intended to be used for Grasshopper style flight testing purposes. It was on SLC-4 to verify new propellant tanking and fluid handling hardware and procedures. It will be used as the booster for a ONE TIME FLIGHT with no recovery for the Inflight Abort Test, currently scheduled for sometime after Jason-3.

Further Grasshopper flights were deemed unnecessary by SpaceX due to the test points achieved by core return operations starting with CASSIOPE.  As far as SpaceX is concerned there is no Dev.2 program.

Offline Helodriver

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Re: SpaceX conducts tanking test on In-Flight Abort Falcon 9
« Reply #27 on: 05/07/2015 07:42 PM »
Oh the drifting speculation, I can take no more!  :P  From one of the SLC-4 pad managers to me directly a couple of weeks ago...

The vehicle on the pad up until last week was indeed built as Dev.2. It is no longer intended to be used for Grasshopper style flight testing purposes. It was on SLC-4 to verify new propellant tanking and fluid handling hardware and procedures. It will be used as the booster for a ONE TIME FLIGHT with no recovery for the Inflight Abort Test, currently scheduled for sometime after Jason-3.

Further Grasshopper flights were deemed unnecessary by SpaceX due to the test points achieved by core return operations starting with CASSIOPE.  As far as SpaceX is concerned there is no Dev.2 program.

Always nice to hear a straight answer Helodriver, thank you for asking nicely (and your always great pictures!).

Thought as much when the persons associated with Grasshopper started working on barges, after the 3 engine F9dev1 debacle w/no hold downs.

Will you be airborne for the IFA and pic's? Love to see your work on that. I'll even offer to hold the controls for you to get a steadier two handed shot ;)

I'm kicking around some ideas. Remote cameras and manned aircraft are in the trades. Stay tuned.

Offline clongton

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Re: SpaceX conducts tanking test on In-Flight Abort Falcon 9
« Reply #28 on: 05/07/2015 08:46 PM »
Further Grasshopper flights were deemed unnecessary by SpaceX due to the test points achieved by core return operations starting with CASSIOPE.  As far as SpaceX is concerned there is no Dev.2 program.

Thank you helodriver. Now on to Dragonfly. :)
« Last Edit: 05/07/2015 08:47 PM by clongton »
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Online deruch

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Re: SpaceX conducts tanking test on In-Flight Abort Falcon 9
« Reply #29 on: 05/07/2015 09:13 PM »
Hmm. If this is indeed true, perhaps the 3-engine "in flight abort core" (as labeled by this site) undergoing tests at VAFB is actually not that, and will be heading for the NM test site next to become F9R-Dev2.

Doubtful.  SpaceX allowed their FAA permit for the F9R-dev program to expire.  They'd have to reapply.  If they had had any intention of continuing that program it would have been very easy and much cheaper to get an extension.  The fact that they let it lapse tells me they have absolutely zero intention of continuing it.

The same permit would apply for a test program re-flying recovered stages or a dedicated F9R-Dev2, so I don't see how you jump to that conclusion.

No.  For a couple of reasons I don't believe the same permit would apply for the re-flying of recovered stages as for F9R-dev flights.  First and foremost, a returned stage is not the same vehicle as the F9R-dev#.  Experimental permits allow only limited modifications to the vehicle without invalidating the permit and these limits are explicitly spelled out in the permit.  Only SpaceX and the FAA know exactly what changes to the vehicle are allowed but I'm willing to bet that adding 8x the original number of engines would be too much.  Second, according to my reading of the applicable statutes, they will be forced to do that testing under a launch license as opposed to an experimental permit.

I don't believe they are going to continue F9R-dev flights because they aren't needed.  I believe that they can get all the data they need from returning stages.  (And, as I just read Helodriver's comment, I'll consider that point settled unless we find new information to contradict it)

edit: clarity
« Last Edit: 05/07/2015 10:49 PM by deruch »
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Offline Kaputnik

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Re: SpaceX conducts tanking test on In-Flight Abort Falcon 9
« Reply #30 on: 05/15/2015 07:22 PM »
as well as Falcon 9 v1.2.

Sorry to be OT like this but i've seen a couple of references to this "1.2" now and cannot find any concrete info. Is there a thread on this somewhere?
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Offline Rebel44

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Re: SpaceX conducts tanking test on In-Flight Abort Falcon 9
« Reply #31 on: 05/15/2015 07:39 PM »
as well as Falcon 9 v1.2.

Sorry to be OT like this but i've seen a couple of references to this "1.2" now and cannot find any concrete info. Is there a thread on this somewhere?

F9 1.2 is onofficial name - on 1.1 Merlin 1D engines operate at around 85% of max power. This summer Falcon 9 will get an  upgrade, where Merlin 1D engines will run at 100% power, both LOX and RP1 will be chilled (resulting in higher density) and 2nd stage will be stretched by 10%. This version is currenly being unofficially called Falcon 9 1.2

some discussion here: http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=32983.0
« Last Edit: 05/15/2015 07:40 PM by Rebel44 »

Online Joffan

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Re: SpaceX conducts tanking test on In-Flight Abort Falcon 9
« Reply #32 on: 05/15/2015 08:13 PM »
This version is currently being unofficially called Falcon 9 1.2

...only by this forum, not by SpaceX :


BTW, don't get used to that "v1.2" tag. That's not what SX is going to call the next iteration.
« Last Edit: 05/15/2015 08:14 PM by Joffan »
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Offline Kansan52

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Re: SpaceX conducts tanking test on In-Flight Abort Falcon 9
« Reply #33 on: 05/15/2015 09:00 PM »
Quote from: deruch
Only SpaceX and the FAA know exactly what changes to the vehicle are allowed but I'm willing to bet that adding [b
8x[/b] the original number of engines would be too much.

Wouldn't that be 3x because they are going from a 3 engine vehicle to a 9 engine vehicle? Or did my brain fail me on a Friday (it often does)?

Online deruch

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Re: SpaceX conducts tanking test on In-Flight Abort Falcon 9
« Reply #34 on: 05/16/2015 04:25 AM »
Quote from: deruch
Only SpaceX and the FAA know exactly what changes to the vehicle are allowed but I'm willing to bet that adding 8x the original number of engines would be too much.

Wouldn't that be 3x because they are going from a 3 engine vehicle to a 9 engine vehicle? Or did my brain fail me on a Friday (it often does)?

No, because the original F9R-dev.1 that flew under that permit was a single engine vehicle.  Obviously, they allowed the tripling to 3 engines for the final flight.  I personally doubt that they would have allowed a second tripling to 9 under the same permit, but this was only personal opinion/speculation.  Either way it's moot now.

Additionally, one of my other big reasons for disagreeing with Lars-J's point may potentially be eliminated by Congress as they are considering changes to the commercial space launch acts.
http://spacenews.com/house-to-consider-commercial-space-legislation-including-launch-bill/
Quote
The House and Senate bills do have some similar provisions. Both would allow companies to hold an experimental permit and launch license for the same vehicle simultaneously, flying the vehicle under a permit for test flights and under a license for commercial missions.
« Last Edit: 05/16/2015 04:30 AM by deruch »
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Online Robotbeat

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Re: SpaceX conducts tanking test on In-Flight Abort Falcon 9
« Reply #35 on: 05/16/2015 04:35 AM »
If they don't actually light the other engines...
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Offline dcporter

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Re: SpaceX conducts tanking test on In-Flight Abort Falcon 9
« Reply #36 on: 05/16/2015 05:33 AM »
If they don't actually light the other engines...

Then wouldn't ballast be cheaper?

Online Joffan

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Re: SpaceX conducts tanking test on In-Flight Abort Falcon 9
« Reply #37 on: 05/16/2015 05:29 PM »
If they don't actually light the other engines...

Then wouldn't ballast be cheaper?

If you're using a recovered core, leaving all the engines on would seem to be cheaper, operationally at least. I guess you could argue that you are exposing assets (6 engines) to risk and environmental wear, which might "cost" something - but might also return data in some way.
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Offline solartear

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Re: SpaceX conducts tanking test on In-Flight Abort Falcon 9
« Reply #38 on: 05/20/2015 02:52 AM »
Has there been any indication which engines will power the in-flight abort core (/F9R-Dev2) ?

Seems easier to do the test with only 3 engines if they use the upgraded engines of the F9 v1.2. SpaceX knew they were upgrading the standard engines soon, so it would have made sense to test Dev2 with them.

Online Joffan

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Re: SpaceX conducts tanking test on In-Flight Abort Falcon 9
« Reply #39 on: 06/29/2015 07:58 PM »
It seems to me like the In-flight Abort test might usefully be the next SpaceX launch, while the return to orbital launches is figured out following the CRS-7 loss.
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