Author Topic: SLC-40 upgrades for Dragon cargo & crew flights  (Read 55206 times)

Offline FutureSpaceTourist

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SLC-40 upgrades for Dragon cargo & crew flights
« on: 09/26/2022 09:45 pm »
From today's Crew-5 FRR teleconference:

SpaceX is working on a plan for pad 40 to have both a Dragon cargo and crew capability. Gerst said some hardware for pad 40 has already been ordered.

Offline FutureSpaceTourist

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Re: SLC-40 upgrades for Dragon cargo & crew flights
« Reply #1 on: 09/26/2022 09:55 pm »
SpaceX have agreed with NASA to do this work.

Detailed plans still being worked, NASA is already participating in design reviews of equipment needed at 40.

Work will all be done before any Starship operations at 39A.

Offline wannamoonbase

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Re: SLC-40 upgrades for Dragon cargo & crew flights
« Reply #2 on: 09/26/2022 10:14 pm »
SpaceX have agreed with NASA to do this work.

Detailed plans still being worked, NASA is already participating in design reviews of equipment needed at 40.

Work will all be done before any Starship operations at 39A.

This is going to be very exciting to see built.  Adding crew capability to SLC40 is cool and I look forward to seeing SpaceX's solution to the structure.
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Offline ZachS09

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Re: SLC-40 upgrades for Dragon cargo & crew flights
« Reply #3 on: 09/26/2022 10:20 pm »
After the crewed and cargo launch upgrades are made to SLC-40, does that mean SpaceX will stop using LC-39A for Crew and Cargo Dragon missions?
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Offline ulm_atms

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Re: SLC-40 upgrades for Dragon cargo & crew flights
« Reply #4 on: 09/26/2022 10:46 pm »
After the crewed and cargo launch upgrades are made to SLC-40, does that mean SpaceX will stop using LC-39A for Crew and Cargo Dragon missions?
I would guess no.  SLC-40 is being upgraded to support cargo/crew in case something happens with SS/SH and LC-39A.  Then NASA loses it's only non-Russian access to the ISS again, or until Starliner is operational and can fill in if need be.

Figure NASA's cargo/crew goes from LC-39A and all the private cargo/crew go from SLC-40.  That way both are regularly exercised and either can move from one to the other if something bad happens.  win/win for both SpaceX or NASA.  Redundancies save schedules!

Offline whitelancer64

Re: SLC-40 upgrades for Dragon cargo & crew flights
« Reply #5 on: 09/26/2022 10:55 pm »
After the crewed and cargo launch upgrades are made to SLC-40, does that mean SpaceX will stop using LC-39A for Crew and Cargo Dragon missions?
I would guess no.  SLC-40 is being upgraded to support cargo/crew in case something happens with SS/SH and LC-39A.  Then NASA loses it's only non-Russian access to the ISS again, or until Starliner is operational and can fill in if need be.

Figure NASA's cargo/crew goes from LC-39A and all the private cargo/crew go from SLC-40.  That way both are regularly exercised and either can move from one to the other if something bad happens.  win/win for both SpaceX or NASA.  Redundancies save schedules!

There is one potential issue with private crew flying from SLC-40 -- it is on military controlled property. That may be an issue if there are foreign crew on the flight. It's much easier for foreign nationals to go through KSC security than Space Force security.
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Offline ulm_atms

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Re: SLC-40 upgrades for Dragon cargo & crew flights
« Reply #6 on: 09/26/2022 11:47 pm »
After the crewed and cargo launch upgrades are made to SLC-40, does that mean SpaceX will stop using LC-39A for Crew and Cargo Dragon missions?
I would guess no.  SLC-40 is being upgraded to support cargo/crew in case something happens with SS/SH and LC-39A.  Then NASA loses it's only non-Russian access to the ISS again, or until Starliner is operational and can fill in if need be.

Figure NASA's cargo/crew goes from LC-39A and all the private cargo/crew go from SLC-40.  That way both are regularly exercised and either can move from one to the other if something bad happens.  win/win for both SpaceX or NASA.  Redundancies save schedules!

There is one potential issue with private crew flying from SLC-40 -- it is on military controlled property. That may be an issue if there are foreign crew on the flight. It's much easier for foreign nationals to go through KSC security than Space Force security.
I didn't say there would be edge cases.  That just shows two also allow flexibility too!

But I don't think that would be too much an issue.  Just have a secure pickup point outside the base(security vetted by the base) where a very obvious SPACEX bus is waiting.  Get in, notice it has blacked out windows, and it takes you to SpaceX's location at SLC-40.  You get out and you are in SpaceX's facilities.  You board the rocket and off you go.  Try and get out of the bus when not supposed to...bad day.

Also, Blue Origin is going to have the same issue.  Might as well figure this all out now instead of waiting.

Offline alugobi

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Re: SLC-40 upgrades for Dragon cargo & crew flights
« Reply #7 on: 09/27/2022 12:12 am »
What's the concern?  A non-citizen might do what, exactly?  Take a picture of the Big Board?  (Remember that?)

NASA is flying a Russian on an upcoming crew mission.  No doubt residing and training in NASA facilities.  Is that OK because it's not a military base?

An edgy edge case, to be sure.

Offline Robotbeat

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Re: SLC-40 upgrades for Dragon cargo & crew flights
« Reply #8 on: 09/27/2022 01:28 am »
Sometimes issues are less practical and nature and more procedural.

But anyway, another benefit of this is that if LC39A gets converted to pure Starship operations, then SpaceX keeps two crew launch vehicles.
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Offline Jim

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Re: SLC-40 upgrades for Dragon cargo & crew flights
« Reply #9 on: 09/27/2022 01:47 am »

But I don't think that would be too much an issue.  Just have a secure pickup point outside the base(security vetted by the base) where a very obvious SPACEX bus is waiting.  Get in, notice it has blacked out windows, and it takes you to SpaceX's location at SLC-40.  You get out and you are in SpaceX's facilities.  You board the rocket and off you go.  Try and get out of the bus when not supposed to...bad day.

Also, Blue Origin is going to have the same issue.  Might as well figure this all out now instead of waiting.

Nope, Nope, nope.   The issue is not visual.   Just being on base is the issue.  Also, they have to be on base for more than just launch day and they have to move around.

They are not going to bend.   I had to deal with getting foreign national to SLC-41, which is surrounded by KSC property.  The Air Force would not give in for just 1 km into their property.  Had to escort them for the whole time they were there working a mission.
« Last Edit: 09/27/2022 01:53 am by Jim »

Offline Jim

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Re: SLC-40 upgrades for Dragon cargo & crew flights
« Reply #10 on: 09/27/2022 01:48 am »
What's the concern?  A non-citizen might do what, exactly?  Take a picture of the Big Board?  (Remember that?)

NASA is flying a Russian on an upcoming crew mission.  No doubt residing and training in NASA facilities.  Is that OK because it's not a military base?

Yep

Offline distancesquared

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Re: SLC-40 upgrades for Dragon cargo & crew flights
« Reply #11 on: 09/27/2022 03:06 am »
On top of redundancy, I can see this helping to increase experience and solidify protocols for crewed launches, something that's an eventual central pillar to near-, medium- and long-term starship operations and goals.

Offline meekGee

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Re: SLC-40 upgrades for Dragon cargo & crew flights
« Reply #12 on: 09/27/2022 03:37 am »

But I don't think that would be too much an issue.  Just have a secure pickup point outside the base(security vetted by the base) where a very obvious SPACEX bus is waiting.  Get in, notice it has blacked out windows, and it takes you to SpaceX's location at SLC-40.  You get out and you are in SpaceX's facilities.  You board the rocket and off you go.  Try and get out of the bus when not supposed to...bad day.

Also, Blue Origin is going to have the same issue.  Might as well figure this all out now instead of waiting.

Nope, Nope, nope.   The issue is not visual.   Just being on base is the issue.  Also, they have to be on base for more than just launch day and they have to move around.

They are not going to bend.   I had to deal with getting foreign national to SLC-41, which is surrounded by KSC property.  The Air Force would not give in for just 1 km into their property.  Had to escort them for the whole time they were there working a mission.
What's the problem with an escort?  I used to be a foreign national, and got escorted around a whole bunch...  usually with everyone eye-rolling, but I was just happy there were procedures in place.

Funny thing, once the hatch closes, I guess another astronaut will have to be the escort...  All the way till they clear the coastline...
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Offline Jim

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Re: SLC-40 upgrades for Dragon cargo & crew flights
« Reply #13 on: 09/27/2022 03:43 am »
What's the problem with an escort?  I used to be a foreign national, and got escorted around a whole bunch...  usually with everyone eye-rolling, but I was just happy there were procedures in place.


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Offline FutureSpaceTourist

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Re: SLC-40 upgrades for Dragon cargo & crew flights
« Reply #14 on: 09/27/2022 08:51 am »
Reuters first wrote about potential upgrades to pad 40 in June (see https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=48478.msg2376885#msg2376885), but SpaceX didnít comment at the time.

Itíll be interesting to see how SpaceX manage the work at the pad to reduce launch impacts, as Eric notes:

https://twitter.com/13ericralph31/status/1574635766923526146

Quote
I'm sure SpaceX would prefer not to, even if it's obviously the right thing to do, as constructing all that new infrastructure at LC-40 with a strict deadline is probably going to limit launch cadence from its most important pad.

After all Elon wants a 100 launches in 2023!

Offline AmigaClone

Re: SLC-40 upgrades for Dragon cargo & crew flights
« Reply #15 on: 09/27/2022 09:04 am »
Reuters first wrote about potential upgrades to pad 40 in June (see https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=48478.msg2376885#msg2376885), but SpaceX didnít comment at the time.

Itíll be interesting to see how SpaceX manage the work at the pad to reduce launch impacts, as Eric notes:

https://twitter.com/13ericralph31/status/1574635766923526146

Quote
I'm sure SpaceX would prefer not to, even if it's obviously the right thing to do, as constructing all that new infrastructure at LC-40 with a strict deadline is probably going to limit launch cadence from its most important pad.

After all Elon wants a 100 launches in 2023!

I can imagine the foundation work for the new crew tower being the reason for the longest interruption of launches from SLC40. The tower itself possibly would be built at Roberts' Road and a tower segment making it's way to the pad less than 24 hours after a launch.

That segment would be stacked while the pad is being refurbished for the next launch. after which will be a case of repeating the process until the tower is complete with the crew arm being installed between two other launches.

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Re: SLC-40 upgrades for Dragon cargo & crew flights
« Reply #16 on: 09/27/2022 10:13 am »
I can imagine the foundation work for the new crew tower being the reason for the longest interruption of launches from SLC40. The tower itself possibly would be built at Roberts' Road and a tower segment making it's way to the pad less than 24 hours after a launch.

That segment would be stacked while the pad is being refurbished for the next launch. after which will be a case of repeating the process until the tower is complete with the crew arm being installed between two other launches.

Its not just the tower and crew arm. Modifications to the TEL are required as well. As well as an crew landing zone after they have evacuated the tower via the basket line. And an escape route for the crew evac vehicle. The tower in itself will host a whole bunch of systems to host Crew Ingress/Egress & Cargo Loading needs, as well as provisions for crew evacuation. And I'm still overlooking a host of other stuff.
Stacking the actual segments of the tower is not so much the problem. What is much more time consuming is connecting all the stuff in the segments, to turn them into functional units. That work also has to stop each time the pad is used for a launch. Which, with the planned launch rate of 100 missions in 2023, is going to happen a lot.

Offline Craigles

Re: SLC-40 upgrades for Dragon cargo & crew flights
« Reply #17 on: 09/27/2022 03:47 pm »
In adjacent threads, several of us have been wondering where the new starship-sized tower parts will go. Since we are seeing immediate impetus to build the SLC-40 Dragon upgrades, could this tower be an adaptation of existing SpaceX designs, and active SS Stage-0 construction tooling, to build part of the Dragon access at SLC-40?
People are wondering where the next tower would be located why not LC-39a? They already have two towers near(ish) to each other, why not three? There seems to be plenty of room there still and both towers could share the same GSE systems.
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Re: SLC-40 upgrades for Dragon cargo & crew flights
« Reply #18 on: 09/27/2022 03:52 pm »
Its not just the tower and crew arm. Modifications to the TEL are required as well.
It may be easier to just build another TEL.  The one at LC-40 has been replaced a couple of times already.

Offline Zed_Noir

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Re: SLC-40 upgrades for Dragon cargo & crew flights
« Reply #19 on: 09/27/2022 08:51 pm »
I can imagine the foundation work for the new crew tower being the reason for the longest interruption of launches from SLC40. The tower itself possibly would be built at Roberts' Road and a tower segment making it's way to the pad less than 24 hours after a launch.

That segment would be stacked while the pad is being refurbished for the next launch. after which will be a case of repeating the process until the tower is complete with the crew arm being installed between two other launches.

Its not just the tower and crew arm. Modifications to the TEL are required as well. As well as an crew landing zone after they have evacuated the tower via the basket line. And an escape route for the crew evac vehicle. The tower in itself will host a whole bunch of systems to host Crew Ingress/Egress & Cargo Loading needs, as well as provisions for crew evacuation. And I'm still overlooking a host of other stuff.
Stacking the actual segments of the tower is not so much the problem. What is much more time consuming is connecting all the stuff in the segments, to turn them into functional units. That work also has to stop each time the pad is used for a launch. Which, with the planned launch rate of 100 missions in 2023, is going to happen a lot.
Maybe SpaceX will do a service gantry tower with a crew/cargo access arm and emergency egress roller coasters system.

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