Author Topic: SpaceX Falcon 9 - NROL-76 - May 1, 2017 - DISCUSSION  (Read 218652 times)

Offline edkyle99

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Re: SpaceX Falcon 9 - NROL-76 - May 1, 2017 - DISCUSSION
« Reply #560 on: 05/02/2017 04:32 PM »
LEO mission so the 2nd stage should have deorbited before making a single orbit - into the danger area in the Indian ocean posted a ways back?

You need L2 access.
Also, just look at the warning zones listed earlier in this thread.  They span more than the usual time for second stage reentry.  My guess was that the second stage was going to coast for a couple of orbits before trying for a deorbit burn.  I doubt very much that the stage is still alive now, more than 24 hours after liftoff, if it is still up there at all.

 - Ed Kyle

Offline Wolfram66

Re: SpaceX Falcon 9 - NROL-76 - May 1, 2017 - DISCUSSION
« Reply #561 on: 05/02/2017 04:57 PM »
LEO mission so the 2nd stage should have deorbited before making a single orbit - into the danger area in the Indian ocean posted a ways back?

You need L2 access.
Also, just look at the warning zones listed earlier in this thread.  They span more than the usual time for second stage reentry.  My guess was that the second stage was going to coast for a couple of orbits before trying for a deorbit burn.  I doubt very much that the stage is still alive now, more than 24 hours after liftoff, if it is still up there at all.

 - Ed Kyle

There could have been ride share CubeSats that S2 deployed. I believe the planned de-orbit was planned for orbit 3. saw that somewhere on NSF...

Offline Star One

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Re: SpaceX Falcon 9 - NROL-76 - May 1, 2017 - DISCUSSION
« Reply #562 on: 05/02/2017 05:05 PM »
And what the payload could have been is speculated on here in this new article that rounds up the available information.

https://spaceflightnow.com/2017/05/01/spacex-successfully-boosts-top-secret-u-s-government-into-space/
« Last Edit: 05/02/2017 05:06 PM by Star One »

Offline Lar

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Re: SpaceX Falcon 9 - NROL-76 - May 1, 2017 - DISCUSSION
« Reply #563 on: 05/02/2017 06:40 PM »
There could have been ride share CubeSats that S2 deployed. I believe the planned de-orbit was planned for orbit 3. saw that somewhere on NSF...

I might be missing something but wouldn't the NRO not be very keen on rideshares? My expectation was zero cubesats, as their orbits might give away info about the primary bird.
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Offline Wolfram66

Re: SpaceX Falcon 9 - NROL-76 - May 1, 2017 - DISCUSSION
« Reply #564 on: 05/02/2017 06:44 PM »
There could have been ride share CubeSats that S2 deployed. I believe the planned de-orbit was planned for orbit 3. saw that somewhere on NSF...

I might be missing something but wouldn't the NRO not be very keen on rideshares? My expectation was zero cubesats, as their orbits might give away info about the primary bird.

unless the cubesats were NRO's and are testbed for future technologies.

Offline AncientU

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Re: SpaceX Falcon 9 - NROL-76 - May 1, 2017 - DISCUSSION
« Reply #565 on: 05/02/2017 06:49 PM »
There could have been ride share CubeSats that S2 deployed. I believe the planned de-orbit was planned for orbit 3. saw that somewhere on NSF...

I might be missing something but wouldn't the NRO not be very keen on rideshares? My expectation was zero cubesats, as their orbits might give away info about the primary bird.

unless the cubesats were NRO's and are testbed for future technologies.

Only two targets identified from launch, so single spacecraft is most likely.

The Lewis and Clark patch theme may indicate the NRO is exploring new territory (technologies) on this spacecraft, though.
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Offline Lar

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Re: SpaceX Falcon 9 - NROL-76 - May 1, 2017 - DISCUSSION
« Reply #566 on: 05/02/2017 06:49 PM »
There could have been ride share CubeSats that S2 deployed. I believe the planned de-orbit was planned for orbit 3. saw that somewhere on NSF...

I might be missing something but wouldn't the NRO not be very keen on rideshares? My expectation was zero cubesats, as their orbits might give away info about the primary bird.

unless the cubesats were NRO's and are testbed for future technologies.

Point. In which case we may never know.... no announcement, no orbital elements, nothing.

Want to keep a really big secret? Wrap it in outer layers of secrets that are themselves hard to penetrate and not necessarily relevant/related. Include some false secrets too...  (see "Footfall" for a plot device example of that)
"I think it would be great to be born on Earth and to die on Mars. Just hopefully not at the point of impact." -Elon Musk
"We're a little bit like the dog who caught the bus" - Musk after CRS-8 S1 successfully landed on ASDS OCISLY

Offline DreamyPickle

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Re: SpaceX Falcon 9 - NROL-76 - May 1, 2017 - DISCUSSION
« Reply #567 on: 05/02/2017 06:51 PM »
There is a "naysayer roadmap" on the Internet for it :D

Falcon 1 is not proven
Contract with NASA is not proven
Falcon 9 is not proven
Dragon is not proven
ISS resupply is not proven
1st stage return is not proven
Barge landing is not proven
Reuse is not proven
=== You are here ===
Falcon Heavy is not proven
Economy of reuse is not proven
Dragon 2 is not proven
Crewed flights are not proven
Lunar flyby is not proven
Capsule propulsive landing is not proven
Red Dragon is not proven

An interesting note about this is that "Economy of reuse is not proven" is pretty much non-falsifiable. SpaceX has already reused a rocket without going bankrupt and they claim to be profitable. What more can they prove?

Offline AncientU

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Re: SpaceX Falcon 9 - NROL-76 - May 1, 2017 - DISCUSSION
« Reply #568 on: 05/02/2017 07:06 PM »
That they are still in business and growing their market share when they are launching a reused booster every week or two.*  When they were only launching a few per year, some were claiming they were losing over a hundred million per launch.  Can't do that launching monthly.

* Of course, by then it's too late if you are the competition betting against the economics...
« Last Edit: 05/02/2017 07:07 PM by AncientU »
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Offline Mike_1179

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Re: SpaceX Falcon 9 - NROL-76 - May 1, 2017 - DISCUSSION
« Reply #569 on: 05/02/2017 07:09 PM »

An interesting note about this is that "Economy of reuse is not proven" is pretty much non-falsifiable. SpaceX has already reused a rocket without going bankrupt and they claim to be profitable. What more can they prove?


That it costs less to reuse a stage given the payload you have to sacrifice than to just build a new one. This includes the recurring costs of refurbishing stages - if a one-off was able to get done because tons of people worked 80 hour weeks without overtime, that is not necessarily sustainable.

I'm not suggesting that many people had to put in lots of hours unpaid which they wouldn't be willing to do every week, but that's one reason why they haven't shown its financially feasible yet.

Offline Lars-J

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Re: SpaceX Falcon 9 - NROL-76 - May 1, 2017 - DISCUSSION
« Reply #570 on: 05/02/2017 07:12 PM »
We might be drifting off the NROL-76 topic...  :) Economy of reuse (proven or not) talk should probably go to the SpaceX reuse sub-forum.

Offline whitelancer64

Re: SpaceX Falcon 9 - NROL-76 - May 1, 2017 - DISCUSSION
« Reply #571 on: 05/02/2017 07:18 PM »
There is a "naysayer roadmap" on the Internet for it :D

Falcon 1 is not proven
Contract with NASA is not proven
Falcon 9 is not proven
Dragon is not proven
ISS resupply is not proven
1st stage return is not proven
Barge landing is not proven
Reuse is not proven
=== You are here ===
Falcon Heavy is not proven
Economy of reuse is not proven
Dragon 2 is not proven
Crewed flights are not proven
Lunar flyby is not proven
Capsule propulsive landing is not proven
Red Dragon is not proven

An interesting note about this is that "Economy of reuse is not proven" is pretty much non-falsifiable. SpaceX has already reused a rocket without going bankrupt and they claim to be profitable. What more can they prove?

The question is not "Is SpaceX profitable?"

Elon Musk has said they spent about a billion dollars developing recovery and reuse. So that needs to be recovered before they are making money with reuse. How long that takes depends on how much they discount the rockets for launch and how much it costs to refurbish them for the next launch. The issue boils down to the question - when do they make more money by reusing rockets than they spent on making them reusable?

An additional facet of this is "how much of your capabilities have you intentionally sacrificed to make your rocket reusable?" which is what ULA has been asking. There is a big gap between the expendable capabilities of the Falcon 9 compared to the capabilities it has when it's landing again.

IOW, how much money could you have made by simply using the maximum capabilities of your rocket? This is why ULA likes the idea of just recovering the engines with a parachute, it puts much less of a dent in the maximum capability of the rocket.
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Offline kevin-rf

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Re: SpaceX Falcon 9 - NROL-76 - May 1, 2017 - DISCUSSION
« Reply #572 on: 05/02/2017 07:31 PM »

Point. In which case we may never know.... no announcement, no orbital elements, nothing.

Want to keep a really big secret? Wrap it in outer layers of secrets that are themselves hard to penetrate and not necessarily relevant/related. Include some false secrets too...  (see "Footfall" for a plot device example of that)

This one will be hard for amateur observers to track, Basically no one north of London will ever see it. Especially if it's sun sync such that it's always at it's highest latitude during the day. You'll have to be pretty far south to get a glimpse of it at night. Might just rule out it ever being spotted by many of the usual people who make it a habit of  tracking these birds.
« Last Edit: 05/02/2017 07:34 PM by kevin-rf »
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Offline Coastal Ron

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Re: SpaceX Falcon 9 - NROL-76 - May 1, 2017 - DISCUSSION
« Reply #573 on: 05/02/2017 08:08 PM »
The issue boils down to the question - when do they make more money by reusing rockets than they spent on making them reusable?

...

IOW, how much money could you have made by simply using the maximum capabilities of your rocket?

You have to look at the ROI over the life of the product, not just the first couple of years.  So if it were to take SpaceX 5 years to recoup their initial investment in reusability, that would leave many more years of competitive advantage for them in the marketplace.

Quote
This is why ULA likes the idea of just recovering the engines with a parachute, it puts much less of a dent in the maximum capability of the rocket.

ULA has stated Vulcan won't be reusable when it becomes operational, so no one knows how many years (decades) it would be until they implement it.  In the mean time SpaceX should have recouped their investment in reusability by the time Vulcan launches, and will already be discounting their launch services based on being profitable at much lower prices.  Far lower than what ULA will be able to offer.

And at that point, who cares if SpaceX is not maximizing the capabilities of their launch vehicles on every launch?
If we don't continuously lower the cost to access space, how are we ever going to afford to expand humanity out into space?

Offline Lar

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Re: SpaceX Falcon 9 - NROL-76 - May 1, 2017 - DISCUSSION
« Reply #574 on: 05/02/2017 09:10 PM »
General reuse economics go in other threads. I'm lazy so might not move your posts, just aetherize them.  It'd be a shame if that happened to such nice posts. Capiche?

PS: You should buy some of Abby's art, she's really good... that's her Merlin the spy...
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Offline Antares

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Re: SpaceX Falcon 9 - NROL-76 - May 1, 2017 - DISCUSSION
« Reply #575 on: 05/02/2017 09:12 PM »
Odd that I didn't spot any military bods in mission control for an NRO launch. Did Space X keep them out the way somewhere to keep the cool image going.
I'm sure the "military bods" were monitoring from a SCIF.  Too bad, they were probably focused on their payload during that amazing 1st-stage recovery video.

Do you see them in the control rooms for Delta and Atlas NRO launches?  Are there NASA types visible in SpaceX control rooms for Dragon launches?  Why would you need to send LV data to a SCIF?
If I like something on NSF, it's probably because I know it to be accurate.  Every once in a while, it's just something I agree with.  Facts generally receive the former.

Online sanman

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Re: SpaceX Falcon 9 - NROL-76 - May 1, 2017 - DISCUSSION
« Reply #576 on: 05/02/2017 10:06 PM »
Wow, there sure were some great close-ups of the returning booster - anybody notice that?

Yes... multiple times in both the UPDATES and DISCUSSION threads. And, yes, they are fantastic images.

How come such amazing camera work this time around? Any chance we'll see nice close-ups like that from now on? Or does it get special love because it's for NRO? It really does look awe-inspiring to see it such closer detail when it's coming down like that - flames and all!

Re: SpaceX Falcon 9 - NROL-76 - May 1, 2017 - DISCUSSION
« Reply #577 on: 05/02/2017 10:11 PM »
Wow, there sure were some great close-ups of the returning booster - anybody notice that?

Yes... multiple times in both the UPDATES and DISCUSSION threads. And, yes, they are fantastic images.

How come such amazing camera work this time around? Any chance we'll see nice close-ups like that from now on? Or does it get special love because it's for NRO? It really does look awe-inspiring to see it such closer detail when it's coming down like that - flames and all!

We got great views mainly because:

1- It was daytime.
2- It was not too cloudy
3- Focus on first stage due to nature of the mission


I hope they keep this up, and if we're lucky we'll see this again with CRS-11.

Offline manoweb

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Re: SpaceX Falcon 9 - NROL-76 - May 1, 2017 - DISCUSSION
« Reply #578 on: 05/02/2017 10:28 PM »
Also it was likely a light payload, early MECO, RTLS, so it was visible by the antennas for the whole time... on a hot GTO launch it may not be possible with the same setup.

Online sanman

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Re: SpaceX Falcon 9 - NROL-76 - May 1, 2017 - DISCUSSION
« Reply #579 on: 05/02/2017 11:13 PM »
Okay, so RTLS is a prerequisite for nice close-ups like that, because they likely wouldn't be able to get such a good view from out at sea?

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