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SpaceX Vehicles and Missions => SpaceX Missions Section => Topic started by: beancounter on 06/18/2010 02:21 am

Title: SpaceX COTS Demo 1 Updates
Post by: beancounter on 06/18/2010 02:21 am
I see the mission now has a launch date of 18th August 2010. 


COTS Demo 1 Threads
Space Falcon 9 Flight 2 Static Fire - December 4, 2010 (https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=23454.0)
SpaceX Falcon 9 (Flight 2) - COTS-1 - Launch Updates - December 8, 2010 (https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=23516.0)
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: mduncan36 on 06/18/2010 02:47 am
I see the mission now has a launch date of 18th August 2010. 

Just wondering where you find that information?
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: zaitcev on 06/18/2010 03:26 am
I see the mission now has a launch date of 18th August 2010. 
Just wondering where you find that information?
http://msdb.gsfc.nasa.gov/MissionData.php?mission=COTS%20SpaceX%20Demo-1
(http://msdb.gsfc.nasa.gov/launches.php)

-- Pete
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Comga on 06/18/2010 03:43 am
I see the mission now has a launch date of 18th August 2010. 

So we will see if the "SpaceX multiplier" continues to decrease.
By my (highly subjective) reckoning, it has been 4.3X, 3.5X, and 2.4X for the first three successful missions. 
A  further reduction to 2X puts it around the middle of October, but we will see.

Don't get me wrong.  I do wish them a lot of good luck, and hope for the best.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: beancounter on 06/18/2010 05:11 am
Yep I agree with the timeframes except SpaceX seems to be learning at a faster rate so I'll go with the middle of September. 

The unknowns timewise are the unexpected roll on the 2 stage of the LV and anything regarding processing with the Dragon so allowing an extra month seems reasonable.  Haven't checked the range for any launchings around that time though.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: SpaceX_MS on 06/19/2010 04:25 am
I see the mission now has a launch date of 18th August 2010. 


Is later. L2 has accurate information.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: simonth on 06/19/2010 06:28 pm
I see the mission now has a launch date of 18th August 2010. 
Is later. L2 has accurate information.


Is there a possibility to get a "ballpark" estimate for non-L2 users on here? Is September still possible or has the target date shifted outwards?

Another question would be whether the information provided to NASA that there will be an 8 month gap between COTS Demo 1 and 2 is still accurate or whether that gap is cut down if COTS Demo 1 is shifted significantly to the right?
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: ugordan on 06/19/2010 06:30 pm
Is September still possible

Yes.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Nate_Trost on 06/19/2010 08:07 pm
I think it would be fair to presume that the increased delay between COTS1 and COTS2 are due to schedule slips in finishing Dragon. While the COTS1 Dragon is certainly going to be a functioning spacecraft, I would suspect there is some hardware and more software that isn't done yet.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Robotbeat on 06/19/2010 08:18 pm
In some ways, COTS demo 1 will be harder than Falcon 9 maiden launch. After all, Falcon 9 is essentially a scale-up of Falcon 1 in many ways. Now, they have a spacecraft to build and launch... and recover!
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: ugordan on 06/19/2010 08:41 pm
There *is* no launch date. Why do people get hung up on provisional NET times? It may happen before September or it may not. I don't think even the guys at SpaceX know at this point.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: kch on 06/19/2010 09:12 pm
There *is* no launch date. Why do people get hung up on provisional NET times? It may happen before September or it may not. I don't think even the guys at SpaceX know at this point.

As is true of any launch vehicle, "It'll launch when it launches, and not one nanosecond before."  Worrying and jittering about it won't change it.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Robotbeat on 06/20/2010 03:05 am
There *is* no launch date. Why do people get hung up on provisional NET times? It may happen before September or it may not. I don't think even the guys at SpaceX know at this point.
You're right that even SpaceX probably doesn't know when it will launch. Only God knows.






And Jim. ;)
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Jim on 06/20/2010 01:09 pm
November
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Ben the Space Brit on 06/20/2010 02:29 pm
Has the mission profile been announced or discussed yet? I'm thinking that this will be a Dragon shake-down - insertion to a stable orbit, operating all in-orbit systems (nav platform, sun tracking for the solar arrays, payload bay cooling etc.) as well as some orbital manoeuvring.  However, I haven't seen any hint about how long they will keep the Dragon in orbit.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: kch on 06/20/2010 02:53 pm
Has the mission profile been announced or discussed yet? I'm thinking that this will be a Dragon shake-down - insertion to a stable orbit, operating all in-orbit systems (nav platform, sun tracking for the solar arrays, payload bay cooling etc.) as well as some orbital manoeuvring.  However, I haven't seen any hint about how long they will keep the Dragon in orbit.

The latest I've seen is on SpaceX's Dragon page (http://www.spacex.com/dragon.php):

Demo 1
Duration:
5 hours
Objectives: Launch and separate from Falcon 9, orbit Earth, transmit telemetry, receive commands, demonstrate orbital maneuvering and thermal control, re-enter atmosphere, and recover Dragon spacecraft

:)
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Ben the Space Brit on 06/20/2010 05:21 pm
Duration: 5 hours

Just short of four complete orbits, then.  More-or-less the same duration as Friendship-7.  Well, here's hoping it goes a bit smoother than the earlier flight.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Chris Bergin on 06/22/2010 06:39 pm
We're up to NET Aug 26th - but too far out for a solid date yet.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: beancounter on 06/23/2010 02:27 am
November

Spoilsport!
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: ChefPat on 06/23/2010 11:41 am
We're up to NET Aug 26th - but too far out for a solid date yet.
Chris, is this inside info or has it been announced somewhere?
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Chris Bergin on 06/23/2010 11:48 am
We're up to NET Aug 26th - but too far out for a solid date yet.
Chris, is this inside info or has it been announced somewhere?

Brown envelope handed to me in a dark car park ;)
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Garrett on 06/23/2010 11:56 am
For the moment I'm still sticking to my "prediction" (http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=21904.msg603030#msg603030) of October
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Spiff on 06/23/2010 12:08 pm
We're up to NET Aug 26th - but too far out for a solid date yet.
Chris, is this inside info or has it been announced somewhere?

Brown envelope handed to me in a dark car park ;)

... By a man in a raincoat, with sunglasses, and an Italian accent?
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: zerm on 07/16/2010 03:18 am
We're up to NET Aug 26th - but too far out for a solid date yet.
Chris, is this inside info or has it been announced somewhere?

Brown envelope handed to me in a dark car park ;)


Chris... I thought that was you getting your envelope at the same time I was getting one of mine in that "car park"... what're you doin' in Washington DC? (that sort of thing happens daily here, of course).

BTW- I'm with Jim on this one... November.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: SIM city on 07/16/2010 03:37 pm
FDF posted a new date this week of 9 Sept.
http://fdfhome.gsfc.nasa.gov/fdinfo_Launch_2010.html
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: yg1968 on 07/16/2010 06:39 pm
The same date is also posted on SFN.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: ChuckC on 07/16/2010 07:06 pm
FDF posted a new date this week of 9 Sept.
http://fdfhome.gsfc.nasa.gov/fdinfo_Launch_2010.html
This has to be correct after all it’s from NASA.gov and we know the Government would never lie to us. Yea right and Elvis is playing poker on Mars with Amelia Airheart.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: ugordan on 07/16/2010 07:45 pm
This has to be correct after all it’s from NASA.gov and we know the Government would never lie to us. Yea right and Elvis is playing poker on Mars with Amelia Airheart (sic).

What, they're not allowed to have provisional planning dates anymore? You think all the other dates in that table are "correct" and set in stone?
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Jim on 07/16/2010 08:31 pm
FDF posted a new date this week of 9 Sept.
http://fdfhome.gsfc.nasa.gov/fdinfo_Launch_2010.html
This has to be correct after all it’s from NASA.gov and we know the Government would never lie to us. Yea right and Elvis is playing poker on Mars with Amelia Airheart.

That is not an "official" NASA manifest nor does NASA have any say in Spacex's schedule.  It is a working level  manifest for those at GSFC who supply comm, tracking and TDRSS support to those missions.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: beancounter on 07/20/2010 02:50 am
I'll be happy if it's any time before the end of the year. 

Then I understand that SpaceX want to use a successful mission to argue for the merging of COTS-C2 and C3 missions.

I wonder how open NASA will be to flying a single C2/C3 mission if COTS-C1 is completely successful?  Presumably would save SpaceX money but not NASA who will make the full payments based on the milestones achieved not number of missions if I understand SpaceX logic.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Ben the Space Brit on 07/20/2010 09:40 am
I wonder how open NASA will be to flying a single C2/C3 mission if COTS-C1 is completely successful?  Presumably would save SpaceX money but not NASA who will make the full payments based on the milestones achieved not number of missions if I understand SpaceX logic.

IMHO, I think that NASA will not commit to merging C2 and C3 until C2 is underway.  If the Dragon vehicle shows sufficient control reliability and responsiveness, then they will allow SpaceX to open the C3 mission book and progress onto the objectives therein.  Otherwise, no-go.  Bring the vehicle back, apply the fixes determined from post-flight to the next unit and fly C3 seperately when ready.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: ugordan on 07/20/2010 12:36 pm
Presumably would save SpaceX money but not NASA who will make the full payments based on the milestones achieved not number of missions if I understand SpaceX logic.

Yes, it's to save SpaceX money and compress the already dealyed schedule a bit. They're arguing that since NASA is paying for a service demonstration (delivery of cargo to ISS), the actual number of flights is less relevant.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: ugordan on 07/20/2010 12:58 pm
IMHO, I think that NASA will not commit to merging C2 and C3 until C2 is underway.  If the Dragon vehicle shows sufficient control reliability and responsiveness, then they will allow SpaceX to open the C3 mission book and progress onto the objectives therein.  Otherwise, no-go.

I'm not sure NASA can or will decide whether C2 is allowed to dock on the fly. Either everyone plans for it from the start - in which case C2 is C3 or they don't in which case C2 remains C2.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Ben the Space Brit on 07/20/2010 01:28 pm
IMHO, I think that NASA will not commit to merging C2 and C3 until C2 is underway.  If the Dragon vehicle shows sufficient control reliability and responsiveness, then they will allow SpaceX to open the C3 mission book and progress onto the objectives therein.  Otherwise, no-go.

I'm not sure NASA can or will decide whether C2 is allowed to dock on the fly. Either everyone plans for it from the start - in which case C2 is C3 or they don't in which case C2 remains C2.

What I meant is that the C3 mission objectives would be secondary objectives on the C2 flight.  If the C2 objectives are met and sufficient reserves of propellent, coolant, etc., are avaiable, then they can move onto the secondary objectives.  Otherwise, they would be the primary objectives of the next flight.  I know that they've done that a few times on shuttle missions where EVAs on the ISS have been shunted back to the next flight on the grounds of delays or equipment trouble.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: yg1968 on 07/20/2010 05:14 pm
IMHO, I think that NASA will not commit to merging C2 and C3 until C2 is underway.  If the Dragon vehicle shows sufficient control reliability and responsiveness, then they will allow SpaceX to open the C3 mission book and progress onto the objectives therein.  Otherwise, no-go.

I'm not sure NASA can or will decide whether C2 is allowed to dock on the fly. Either everyone plans for it from the start - in which case C2 is C3 or they don't in which case C2 remains C2.

If I remember correctly at the last Shuttle post-landing conference, a reporter asked that question. I believe that their answer was that a decision hadn't been made on this and that they would need to discuss it with SpaceX. However, they specified that the decision could not be made prior to the C1 test (which seems reasonable to me). 
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Antares on 07/20/2010 05:19 pm
It's just flight rules, my friends.  If requirements WXYZ are still go at the end of the C2 tests, they go try to berth.  If not, they go retro.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: ugordan on 07/20/2010 05:27 pm
If requirements WXYZ are still go at the end of the C2 tests, they go try to berth.  If not, they go retro.

Since C2 wasn't supposed to berth, just approach ISS, that by definition means C3 objectives are addressed with C2.

My point is NASA won't decide to allow C2 to dock in mid-flight, if they allow docking it wil be decided before flight (thus condensing C3 to C2) and the final go/no-go for docking will obviously be decided after other objectives are safely demonstrated as you say.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: simonth on 07/20/2010 06:34 pm
If requirements WXYZ are still go at the end of the C2 tests, they go try to berth.  If not, they go retro.

Since C2 wasn't supposed to berth, just approach ISS, that by definition means C3 objectives are addressed with C2.

My point is NASA won't decide to allow C2 to dock in mid-flight, if they allow docking it wil be decided before flight (thus condensing C3 to C2) and the final go/no-go for docking will obviously be decided after other objectives are safely demonstrated as you say.

It's a question of definition. I expect C2 to be dropped for C3 due to schedule delays that NASA can ill afford.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: beancounter on 07/21/2010 05:42 am
Does anyone know what's different about the Orbital program that makes less flights acceptable as compared SpaceX or was it simply the agreement reached with NASA?
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: kraisee on 07/21/2010 08:57 am
I think it would be logical to plan for a merge of C2/C3 activities on the C2 flight.   If the C2 ops go according to plan, they get a green light to proceed into the C3 mission objectives, however if there are any significant concerns raised during the C2 ops, a no-go is issued and the C3 mission ops get bumped to the next flight after some more development can be done.

That's a fairly reasonable way to proceed without compromising either mission planning, schedule- or cost-profiles.

Plan for all outcomes.

Ross.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Jim on 07/21/2010 12:23 pm
Does anyone know what's different about the Orbital program that makes less flights acceptable as compared SpaceX or was it simply the agreement reached with NASA?

Simply the agreement with NASA and there was less money available after RPK used up some.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: beancounter on 07/22/2010 02:02 am
Does anyone know what's different about the Orbital program that makes less flights acceptable as compared SpaceX or was it simply the agreement reached with NASA?

Simply the agreement with NASA and there was less money available after RPK used up some.
Good to know.  So there really is no reason why SpaceX can't renegotiate with NASA provided NASA are open to it.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: spacetraveler on 07/22/2010 04:02 am
Does anyone know what's different about the Orbital program that makes less flights acceptable as compared SpaceX or was it simply the agreement reached with NASA?

Simply the agreement with NASA and there was less money available after RPK used up some.
Good to know.  So there really is no reason why SpaceX can't renegotiate with NASA provided NASA are open to it.

Orbital got an agreement for fewer flights because they have already flown dozens of government payloads on smaller rockets so as such they had a more established working relationship and technical capability vs SpaceX which was a new outfit.

If NASA feels that SpaceX at some point has demonstrated a sufficiently reliable capability (such as after C1) then they may be more open to reducing the number of demo flights.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Antares on 07/22/2010 05:25 am
Both companies proposed something (2 very different courses of demonstration) and NASA agreed to what they proposed.  It's really not more than that.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Jim on 07/22/2010 11:50 am
Does anyone know what's different about the Orbital program that makes less flights acceptable as compared SpaceX or was it simply the agreement reached with NASA?

Simply the agreement with NASA and there was less money available after RPK used up some.
Good to know.  So there really is no reason why SpaceX can't renegotiate with NASA provided NASA are open to it.


No, you can't make that conclusion.  What NASA does for OSC has nothing to do with Spacex
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: yg1968 on 07/22/2010 02:58 pm
Does anyone know what's different about the Orbital program that makes less flights acceptable as compared SpaceX or was it simply the agreement reached with NASA?

Simply the agreement with NASA and there was less money available after RPK used up some.

There is additionnal money (currently $312M under the Senate appropriation bill) in the Senate bill for COTS in FY 2011 which could include additionnal test flights. 

Quote
SEC. 401. COMMERCIAL CARGO DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM.
6 The Administrator shall continue to support the ex
7 isting Commercial Orbital Transportation Services pro
8 gram, aimed at enabling the commercial space industry
9 in support of NASA to develop reliable means of launching
10 cargo and supplies to the ISS throughout the duration of
11 the facility’s operation. The Administrator may apply
12 funds towards the reduction of risk to the timely start of
13 these services, specifically—
14 (1) efforts to conduct a flight test;
15 (2) accelerate development; and
16 (3) develop the ground infrastructure needed
17 for commercial cargo capability.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Ronsmytheiii on 07/23/2010 01:29 am
THe big thing is that SpaceX has never developed spacecraft before, while Orbital has for decades, plus they have had experience with an autonomous rendezvous mission (DART) and utilize existing components (IE HTV systems, STAR satellite bus)
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Antares on 07/23/2010 02:14 am
It doesn't matter what the company has done.  It matters what the individuals in the company have done.  There are plenty of people at SpaceX with experience from other contractors and agencies.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: spacetraveler on 07/23/2010 04:39 am
It doesn't matter what the company has done.

Oh I disagree with that.

And Bolden has echoed that sentiment several times (that SpaceX would potentially be held to a higher standard initially than Orbital because of NASA's previous experience with them).
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Jim on 07/23/2010 10:50 am
It doesn't matter what the company has done.

Oh I disagree with that.

And Bolden has echoed that sentiment several times (that SpaceX would potentially be held to a higher standard initially than Orbital because of NASA's previous experience with them).

You are wrong

1.  Spacex has no previous NASA experience, where as OSC does
2.  Bolden isn't one of the workers on the program
3.  Antares knows what he is talking about.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: spacetraveler on 07/23/2010 05:43 pm
1.  Spacex has no previous NASA experience, where as OSC does

Huh? That was exactly my point. They have more to prove in the initial demos because they have no previous experience. OSC has already proven they can launch payloads reliably (albeit on a smaller scale).

Bolden isn't one of the workers on the program

No, he's just the head of it, lol.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Antares on 07/23/2010 11:58 pm
It doesn't matter what the company has done.
Oh I disagree with that.

And Bolden has echoed that sentiment several times (that SpaceX would potentially be held to a higher standard initially than Orbital because of NASA's previous experience with them).

What's the basis for your disagreement?  At least I said why it doesn't matter.  A company is nothing.  The people are everything.

Bolden is wrong too.  There's no objective reason to hold SpaceX to a different standard than anyone else.  Either a standard is a standard or it shouldn't be there.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: docmordrid on 07/24/2010 12:08 am
Unless the 'extended' standard helps someones agenda - political, economic or, more likely, both.   
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: spacetraveler on 07/24/2010 01:43 am
What's the basis for your disagreement?

The demonstrated record of performance to date. The previous successes and the institutional knowledge at the company about previous systems is seen as making development of newer systems more reliable. Even if you hire someone less experienced, if you are working within a program that has an established workflow that produces results, you can be effective.

Yes the people and competence of the workforce do matter the most, but you can also learn much from smaller designs you've done before.

In SpaceX's case you see that with F9 having it's first launch be a success while F1 took 4 tries.

Bolden was basically saying in his testimony that for commercial operators there would be varying levels of oversight and requirements from NASA for varying operators until they had demonstrated a reliable capability and as their reputation was established. I think that's perfectly reasonable. When you are a totally new player, you have more to prove.

That said, I think it's also perfectly reasonable to reevaluate requirements after the testing is underway. Now that the F9 worked on the first try, if Dragon works perfectly on C1, then maybe the other flights can be condensed. In some sense expanded requirements for newer operators can be used as a sort of buffer zone for failures, since you expect more failure from newer systems. If there are never any failures, then sure you may not need that.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Antares on 07/24/2010 05:12 am
While I can see the argument depending on assumptions, that's both bad governance and against procurement regulations, to treat different companies differently.  It probably wouldn't get past the GAO.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: telomerase99 on 07/25/2010 11:18 am
THe big thing is that SpaceX has never developed spacecraft before, while Orbital has for decades, plus they have had experience with an autonomous rendezvous mission (DART) and utilize existing components (IE HTV systems, STAR satellite bus)

Orbital has actually been using the same launch systems that were developed decades ago. Developing this new launch system is very new for their current generation of workers. All they have been doing is repeating systems developed decades ago.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: hop on 07/25/2010 09:02 pm
Orbital has actually been using the same launch systems that were developed decades ago. Developing this new launch system is very new for their current generation of workers. All they have been doing is repeating systems developed decades ago.
Launch vehicles, maybe (though Orbital still does have much more experience operating LVs than SpaceX), but not spacecraft. Having design heritage is widely believed to reduce risk, and Cygnus has far more heritage than Dragon. It is reasonable (and AFAIK within accepted industry practice) for both NASA and Orbital to assign a lower risk to the spacecraft development portion of the project.

The fact that Orbital has successfully brought many spacecraft projects to fruition probably has some effect on the decision makers expectations, even if it isn't an official criteria.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: SpacexULA on 07/25/2010 10:31 pm
Launch vehicles, maybe (though Orbital still does have much more experience operating LVs than SpaceX), but not spacecraft. Having design heritage is widely believed to reduce risk, and Cygnus has far more heritage than Dragon. It is reasonable (and AFAIK within accepted industry practice) for both NASA and Orbital to assign a lower risk to the spacecraft development portion of the project.

The fact that Orbital has successfully brought many spacecraft projects to fruition probably has some effect on the decision makers expectations, even if it isn't an official criteria.

I was under the impression that the original 3 launch COTS was milestone was written by SpaceX, not NASA. 
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: hop on 07/25/2010 11:01 pm
I was under the impression that the original 3 launch COTS was milestone was written by SpaceX, not NASA. 
So ? I'm not saying that SpaceX was forced into the 3 launch plan. Obviously both companies made proposals they thought minimized risk and maximized NASA chance of acceptance.

The point I'm making that there are objective reasons to believe that Cygnus is a lower risk development effort than Dragon, and this may have influenced the both the number of flights proposed and how acceptable each plan was to NASA.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Comga on 07/27/2010 02:27 am
The  Cape Insider (http://nasawatch.com/archives/2010/07/the-cape-week-i-10.html) on NASA Watch reported on July 25 that "SpaceX is planning to launch their next test flight of the Falcon 9 on Sept. 2, 2010"

 SpeceflightNow's Launch Schedule (http://http://www.spaceflightnow.com/tracking/index.html) says that as of July 26, SpaceX delayed the launch FROM September 9 until "Late September".

Does anyone out there have any real info on either of these claims?
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: uko on 07/27/2010 12:40 pm
Any info on the hardware status for this flight?
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: KSC Sage on 07/27/2010 01:52 pm
The  Cape Insider (http://nasawatch.com/archives/2010/07/the-cape-week-i-10.html) on NASA Watch reported on July 25 that "SpaceX is planning to launch their next test flight of the Falcon 9 on Sept. 2, 2010"

 SpeceflightNow's Launch Schedule (http://http://www.spaceflightnow.com/tracking/index.html) says that as of July 26, SpaceX delayed the launch FROM September 9 until "Late September".

Does anyone out there have any real info on either of these claims?

Launch is scheduled NET September 23.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: mr. mark on 07/27/2010 02:03 pm
According to spaceflightnow.com, the first stage has arrived at the cape and is undergoing check out. Second stage should arrive in August. Dragon MAY be now completed and is undergoing testing before shipment (this is just my theory based on the timeline ???, Musk said six weeks ago it was 99% complete at that time).
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Antares on 07/27/2010 03:07 pm
As I said on another thread, the pacer for 1st flight spacecraft is almost always software.  Hardware at the Cape is probably not a good indicator of launch readiness for this flight.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: beancounter on 07/29/2010 07:44 am
The software for the F9 apparently doesn't require any changes so far as I'm aware - unless there's some required to tune out the intial roll on launch.
That leaves the Dragon vehicle.  Anyone know where software development might be for this one?  Again, I would have thought pretty much completed.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: kkattula on 07/29/2010 07:56 am
...That leaves the Dragon vehicle.  Anyone know where software development might be for this one?  Again, I would have thought pretty much completed.

Based on what? I'd hope it was pretty much completed, but we haven't seen anything yet.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: beancounter on 07/30/2010 03:41 am
...That leaves the Dragon vehicle.  Anyone know where software development might be for this one?  Again, I would have thought pretty much completed.

Based on what? I'd hope it was pretty much completed, bu we haven't seen anything yet.
Simply SpaceX statement 99% complete.  Of course 1% could include the difficult stuff - presumably software??
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: kkattula on 07/30/2010 07:38 am
...That leaves the Dragon vehicle.  Anyone know where software development might be for this one?  Again, I would have thought pretty much completed.

Based on what? I'd hope it was pretty much completed, but we haven't seen anything yet.
Simply SpaceX statement 99% complete.  Of course 1% could include the difficult stuff - presumably software??

Well if they're going by mass, software probably doesn't weigh a lot...
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Comga on 08/11/2010 04:31 am
Posted by jabe in the "General Falcon & Dragon" thread an  Av Week article on the next Dragon (http://www.aviationweek.com/aw/generic/story_channel.jsp?channel=space&id=news/asd/2010/08/10/02.xml&headline=SpaceX%20Readies%20First%20Dragon%20Spacecraft)

"... the launch window target could be from late September to early October."

Not too much schedule slippage.
And this may be a schedule advance:

"A second operational Dragon is currently penciled in for a February 2011 launch,.."
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: beancounter on 08/18/2010 03:48 am
This is a bit off-topic but I had a look at the Mission Set Database today and the SpaceX COTS Demo-3 has been deleted!  It had been set for 2011.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: mr. mark on 08/18/2010 03:50 am
Full parachute test in preparation for COTS Demo 1 flight. nice picture! http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_VHl1OPeOSOs/TGtIkg2s-VI/AAAAAAAAE5Y/CQNjZqiB8bU/s1600/IMGP2443.JPG
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: beancounter on 08/18/2010 03:54 am
Full parachute test in preparation for COTS Demo 1 flight. nice picture! http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_VHl1OPeOSOs/TGtIkg2s-VI/AAAAAAAAE5Y/CQNjZqiB8bU/s1600/IMGP2443.JPG

Great picture.  Shows the 2 drougs and the 3 chutes all filling nicely.  Looks perfecto mondo :)
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Lars_J on 08/18/2010 06:17 am
This is a bit off-topic but I had a look at the Mission Set Database today and the SpaceX COTS Demo-3 has been deleted!  It had been set for 2011.

Deleted or moved to an undetermined date?

It seems doubtful that NASA would agree to delete the Demo-3 flight until at least Demo-1 was successful.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: mr. mark on 08/18/2010 06:48 am
Well, it could mean that NASA may want to speed things up. Can't imagine NASA speeding anything up. It may be possible that a deal has been struck already to combine COTS 2 and 3. We probably won't know that until sometime after COTS1. NASA is not the type to jump the gun.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: docmordrid on 08/18/2010 07:50 am
This is a bit off-topic but I had a look at the Mission Set Database today and the SpaceX COTS Demo-3 has been deleted!  It had been set for 2011.

I just checked the MSD and all 3 COTS flights were listed.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: kevin-rf on 08/18/2010 01:10 pm
The spaceX site still has it listed.

But spaceX also lists the first completed Falcon 9 flight as 2009, while giving exact dates for all completed falcon 1 flights.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: docmordrid on 08/18/2010 05:03 pm
Enhanced the recent image to bring out a few details...
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Antares on 08/18/2010 08:13 pm
One of the COTS office managers said NASA would not agree to combine Demo 2 and 3 until after Demo 1.  MSDB is at best a tertiary source.  Stick with primary sources.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: beancounter on 08/19/2010 01:51 am
One of the COTS office managers said NASA would not agree to combine Demo 2 and 3 until after Demo 1.  MSDB is at best a tertiary source.  Stick with primary sources.
I agree that NASA wouldn't change anything until after COTS-C Demo1 however the MSDB does have 'Deleted' against Demo-3.  Just wondered is all.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: beancounter on 08/19/2010 01:56 am
Sorry Antares, I mis-read your post.  What would you consider to be a 'primary' source?  'Fraid I don't have access to NASA managers :)
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Antares on 08/19/2010 04:53 am
Well, the only true 'primary' sources are NASA itself, NASA employees on the internet, and NASA documentation like NSF gets.  NASA itself will tell the truth, but may have spin.

Journalists are by definition 'secondary' sources.  Chris/NSF, JimO, Miles O'Brien, Space News, Harwood/CBS, Block/Orlando Sentinel, Florida Today, Houston Chronicle, Carreau (freelance), roughly in order.  Probably some others I'm leaving out.

Bloggers like NW fall in the mid-range of the journalists.  NW has too much opinion, but he has great sources.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: beancounter on 08/20/2010 08:21 am
Well, the only true 'primary' sources are NASA itself, NASA employees on the internet, and NASA documentation like NSF gets.  NASA itself will tell the truth, but may have spin.

Journalists are by definition 'secondary' sources.  Chris/NSF, JimO, Miles O'Brien, Space News, Harwood/CBS, Block/Orlando Sentinel, Florida Today, Houston Chronicle, Carreau (freelance), roughly in order.  Probably some others I'm leaving out.

Bloggers like NW fall in the mid-range of the journalists.  NW has too much opinion, but he has great sources.
Ok that sounds reasonable.  Looks like I'll have to rely on secondary and tertiary sources and keep an eye out for NASA managers on the web!!!

I hope that the COTS-C Demo1 goes well and they do allow Demo2 & 3 to be combined.  I think SpaceX deserves a bit of extra good fortune since they've really been pushing hard from all accounts.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: corrodedNut on 08/20/2010 08:28 pm
SFN update article on COTS1 Flight2, including recent Dragon drop test:

http://www.spaceflightnow.com/falcon9/002/100820update/
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: docmordrid on 08/20/2010 09:28 pm
Flight Dragon is at the cape, along with both stages 'eh?

So much for paper and PowerPoint....
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: telomerase99 on 08/21/2010 12:50 am
Check out the video of the drop test!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y7xbFpy5jbY&feature=player_embedded
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: stockman on 08/21/2010 02:55 pm
I love the various camera angles... I really hope we get a front row seat for the next mission not just for liftoff but for some of the orbit/descent as possible...

One thing I noticed is that it seems to be a very soft landing in the water... the base didn't SEEM to hit with much force at all and didn't bury itself deep in the water at the point of impact..... at first blush it seems like the parachutes provide a nice soft landing...



As Oliver would say to Mr. Musk......."More please"    :)
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: RocketEconomist327 on 08/22/2010 04:38 am
We got this video pretty quick.  I like how we all get a ringside seat to this.

Go SpaceX!

VR
RE327
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: docmordrid on 08/22/2010 10:13 am
Seems to me that with that low a rate of descent a land touchdown wouldn't require much from the thrusters or the landing gear - even with one 'chute gone.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Rhyshaelkan on 08/22/2010 07:44 pm
They better load the thing with barf-bags.  ;D

Well I suppose it stabilized nicely when the main chutes came out.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: zaitcev on 08/23/2010 07:23 pm
Seems to me that with that low a rate of descent a land touchdown wouldn't require much from the thrusters or the landing gear - even with one 'chute gone.
Unfortunately this also reduces the maximum allowable surface winds.
-- Pete
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: go2mars on 08/23/2010 08:34 pm
Seems to me that with that low a rate of descent a land touchdown wouldn't require much from the thrusters or the landing gear - even with one 'chute gone.
Unfortunately this also reduces the maximum allowable surface winds.
-- Pete

Maybe dragon could have a little mechanism cut the line on one of the chutes if it's really windy out.  That way astronauts would spend less time drifting away on the breeze.  Just tell the astronauts to sit on their pillow.  ;)
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Olaf on 08/30/2010 03:23 pm
The newest lanch date October, 23rd 2010.

http://www.aviationweek.com/aw/generic/story_channel.jsp?channel=space&id=news/asd/2010/08/30/07.xml&headline=SpaceX Asks For Oct. 23 Dragon Launch Slot
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: aquarius on 08/30/2010 05:18 pm
I'm surprised they want to do a tanking test and a static firing on the second F9 flight. I thought doing them on the first flight was enough.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Hauerg on 08/30/2010 05:26 pm
I'm surprised they want to do a tanking test and a static firing on the second F9 flight. I thought doing them on the first flight was enough.

"Supersafe" was the word Elon used IIRC.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Ben the Space Brit on 08/30/2010 07:27 pm
I'm surprised they want to do a tanking test and a static firing on the second F9 flight. I thought doing them on the first flight was enough.

"Supersafe" was the word Elon used IIRC.

Considering how much is riding on the COTS series of demo flights, I don't think that anyone can blame them for taking this attitude.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Halidon on 08/30/2010 09:28 pm

Considering how much is riding on the COTS series of demo flights, I don't think that anyone can blame them for taking this attitude.
In addition to being smart from the perspective of SpaceX's investment in this flight series, it's also another fact with which to hit back at the Congressional narrative that they're dangerous backyard hooligans.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: butters on 08/31/2010 12:45 am
It's also another chance for SpaceX to remind decision makers that competing solutions can't do a static fire test on the pad as easily as they can.  Their full-thrust hold-down and quick recycle capabilities are selling points. 

Remember that the first Falcon 9 launched an hour after a pad abort on engine start.  Just a week earlier, Delta IV had a 48-hour scrub turnaround after a late pad abort because they had to reload some pyro valves.  This contrast speaks to the robustness of the SpaceX architecture.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Ronsmytheiii on 08/31/2010 12:59 am
It's also another chance for SpaceX to remind decision makers that competing solutions can't do a static fire test on the pad as easily as they can.  Their full-thrust hold-down and quick recycle capabilities are selling points. 

Remember that the first Falcon 9 launched an hour after a pad abort on engine start.  Just a week earlier, Delta IV had a 48-hour scrub turnaround after a late pad abort because they had to reload some pyro valves.  This contrast speaks to the robustness of the SpaceX architecture.

Really does not matter with the small window for station flights.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: beancounter on 08/31/2010 02:01 am
It's also another chance for SpaceX to remind decision makers that competing solutions can't do a static fire test on the pad as easily as they can.  Their full-thrust hold-down and quick recycle capabilities are selling points. 

Remember that the first Falcon 9 launched an hour after a pad abort on engine start.  Just a week earlier, Delta IV had a 48-hour scrub turnaround after a late pad abort because they had to reload some pyro valves.  This contrast speaks to the robustness of the SpaceX architecture.

Really does not matter with the small window for station flights.

Actually think it does.  It's very early days for SpaceX so improvement in turnaround times is to be expected dependant on the issue.  Of course it's preferable not to have an abort in the first place and the 1st flight abort was due to narrow limits which have since been widened therefore unlikely to occur again.
SpaceX at least (unlike NASA) seems to learn from the past.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Jim on 08/31/2010 02:08 am
It's also another chance for SpaceX to remind decision makers that competing solutions can't do a static fire test on the pad as easily as they can.  Their full-thrust hold-down and quick recycle capabilities are selling points. 


Wrong on all accounts.

Delta IV did a static test on SLC-37.  Atlas could if it wanted to.

Both Atlas and Delta have full thrust hold downs.  Spacex's point about SRM;s is silly and meaningless.

Those who make the decisions are not swayed by these marketing spins.

These "features" would not even be part of the requirements for launch vehicle or crew launch procurement and as such would not be used in selecting a contractor.

Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Jim on 08/31/2010 02:10 am

Remember that the first Falcon 9 launched an hour after a pad abort on engine start.  Just a week earlier, Delta IV had a 48-hour scrub turnaround after a late pad abort because they had to reload some pyro valves.  This contrast speaks to the robustness of the SpaceX architecture.

48hr scrub is not a lack of robustness.

Again, these feature would not be used in any competition.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Jim on 08/31/2010 02:12 am
It's also another chance for SpaceX to remind decision makers that competing solutions can't do a static fire test on the pad as easily as they can.  Their full-thrust hold-down and quick recycle capabilities are selling points. 

Remember that the first Falcon 9 launched an hour after a pad abort on engine start.  Just a week earlier, Delta IV had a 48-hour scrub turnaround after a late pad abort because they had to reload some pyro valves.  This contrast speaks to the robustness of the SpaceX architecture.

Really does not matter with the small window for station flights.

Actually think it does.  It's very early days for SpaceX so improvement in turnaround times is to be expected dependant on the issue.  Of course it's preferable not to have an abort in the first place and the 1st flight abort was due to narrow limits which have since been widened therefore unlikely to occur again.
No, the scrub recycle does not matter.   It is unusable for NASA flights.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Antares on 08/31/2010 03:14 am
I can't think of any launch vehicle that would be so cavalier as to make a launch attempt without having done a tanking test first.  What a silly idea.

Certainly not a "human rated" one.

Aa-aa-aa-hhemmmmmm.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: ugordan on 08/31/2010 08:00 am
I can't think of any launch vehicle that would be so cavalier as to make a launch attempt without having done a tanking test first.  What a silly idea.

Certainly not a "human rated" one.

Aa-aa-aa-hhemmmmmm.

Good one. Gotta love them double standards, eh?
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: zaitcev on 09/01/2010 05:39 am
Remember that the first Falcon 9 launched an hour after a pad abort on engine start.  Just a week earlier, Delta IV had a 48-hour scrub turnaround after a late pad abort because they had to reload some pyro valves.  This contrast speaks to the robustness of the SpaceX architecture.

Really does not matter with the small window for station flights.

Station windows occur every 12 hours, so a 48 hour delay is unpleasantly long. Also, ISS is not going to be the only station ever, hopefuly. Future stations may be located in more convenient orbits, especially if Soyuz is not used for transport.

-- Pete
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Lars_J on 09/01/2010 05:47 am
Station windows occur every 12 hours, so a 48 hour delay is unpleasantly long. Also, ISS is not going to be the only station ever, hopefuly. Future stations may be located in more convenient orbits, especially if Soyuz is not used for transport.

Since KSC cannot launch into an equatorial orbit, you'll have short launch windows for any space station that is reachable from KSC - no matter the orbit it is in. (Due to phasing)

While there might be a small difference, it should not matter that much, right?


Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Jim on 09/01/2010 11:33 am
Station windows occur every 12 hours, so a 48 hour delay is unpleasantly long. Also, ISS is not going to be the only station ever, hopefuly. Future stations may be located in more convenient orbits, especially if Soyuz is not used for transport.

Since KSC cannot launch into an equatorial orbit, you'll have short launch windows for any space station that is reachable from KSC - no matter the orbit it is in. (Due to phasing)

While there might be a small difference, it should not matter that much, right?


Not true, look at HST launch windows.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: ChefPat on 09/01/2010 04:36 pm
I'll make my prediction for launch on November 19. :)
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Jorge on 09/01/2010 04:40 pm
Remember that the first Falcon 9 launched an hour after a pad abort on engine start.  Just a week earlier, Delta IV had a 48-hour scrub turnaround after a late pad abort because they had to reload some pyro valves.  This contrast speaks to the robustness of the SpaceX architecture.

Really does not matter with the small window for station flights.

Station windows occur every 12 hours

Incorrect. The southerly launch azimuth to ISS from KSC is placarded for range safety reasons. Station windows from KSC along the northerly launch azimuth occur every 24 hours. SpaceX will not get an exception for this.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Jorge on 09/01/2010 04:43 pm
Station windows occur every 12 hours, so a 48 hour delay is unpleasantly long. Also, ISS is not going to be the only station ever, hopefuly. Future stations may be located in more convenient orbits, especially if Soyuz is not used for transport.

Since KSC cannot launch into an equatorial orbit, you'll have short launch windows for any space station that is reachable from KSC - no matter the orbit it is in. (Due to phasing)

While there might be a small difference, it should not matter that much, right?


Not true, look at HST launch windows.

Right, a station in an orbit near 28.5 inclination would allow a near due-east launch azimuth that would greatly expand the planar launch window, so the composite launch window winds up being driven by phasing (and is typically almost an hour long).

But for the existing ISS, the planar window will remain around 10 minutes, which pretty much negates SpaceX's quick scrub-turnaround capability.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: beancounter on 09/02/2010 03:16 am
Yes I guess it does pretty much.  Ok for a minor hold to check something but not much else.

Would other payloads have longer windows?  If that was so then a quick turnaround capability could be useful.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Jorge on 09/02/2010 04:20 am
Yes I guess it does pretty much.  Ok for a minor hold to check something but not much else.

Would other payloads have longer windows?  If that was so then a quick turnaround capability could be useful.

Depends on the payload and whether you're talking deploy or rendezvous. For a payload deploy mission, the launch window can be much longer. For payload rendezvous missions, it's dependent on inclination, with low-inclination payload orbits (like HST) allowing a longer window.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: beancounter on 09/03/2010 12:46 am
Yes I guess it does pretty much.  Ok for a minor hold to check something but not much else.

Would other payloads have longer windows?  If that was so then a quick turnaround capability could be useful.

Depends on the payload and whether you're talking deploy or rendezvous. For a payload deploy mission, the launch window can be much longer. For payload rendezvous missions, it's dependent on inclination, with low-inclination payload orbits (like HST) allowing a longer window.

So effort on design for quick turnaround not a total waste and may be useful. 
The other aspect to this quick turnaround design approach (even if never used) would I think be simpler and more efficient systems generally.  This would be a natural consequence of looking at minimising the time taken to undertake any one activity or process which could in turn reduce launch costs.  Flow-on effect.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: corrodedNut on 09/03/2010 11:47 pm
Space News: "SpaceX Tweaking Falcon 9 Software for Upcoming Launch". (http://www.spacenews.com/venture_space/100903-spacex-tweaking-falcon-software-for-upcoming-launch.html)

“The second-stage roll is being fixed by changing the location of the [liquid oxygen] pump drain outlet to avoid chilling the hydraulic lines of the roll control actuator,”

So the roll control actuator didn't overheat, it froze? That's interesting. Also, I could have sworn it was electric, not hydraulic.

PS. OK, after reviewing the user guides again I see that the only electromechanical actuators SpaceX uses are for Falcon1 2nd stage/Kestral gimbaling.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: docmordrid on 09/04/2010 12:55 am
What I found interesting in that Space News article is that flt-1was paid for by an un-named "government agency." Sounds like a bit of DoD "alternative funding" to me.

Last year SpaceX said that the military was interested in DragonLab and its optional manipulator arm for rendezvous missions, so it seems to fit that they'd help get Dragon & F9 off the ground.

Wonder what else isn't being said?
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: mr. mark on 09/04/2010 01:03 am
Aside from satelitte repair/inspection maybe we are looking at the  US Airforce being one of the first manned Dragon clients.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: butters on 09/04/2010 01:55 am
“The second-stage roll is being fixed by changing the location of the [liquid oxygen] pump drain outlet to avoid chilling the hydraulic lines of the roll control actuator,”

So the roll control actuator didn't overheat, it froze? That's interesting. Also, I could have sworn it was electric, not hydraulic.

PS. OK, after reviewing the user guides again I see that the only electromechanical actuators SpaceX uses are for Falcon1 2nd stage/Kestral gimbaling.

Yeah, the Merlin engines use pressurized RP-1 tapped off the turbopump outlet as the hydraulic fluid.  My understanding is that this is a unique innovation.  Most launch vehicles use a separate APU and pump system for hydraulics.  Kestrel is pressure-fed and therefore uses a different system for actuation.

So I guess the RP-1 froze in the hydraulic line like a clot where the line passed too close to the LOX drain, disabling the roll nozzle actuator.  RP-1 freezes at about -55F, so that scenario is not hard to imagine.  RP-1 also boils at about 395F, so the overheating scenario with radiant heat from the nozzle is also not too hard to imagine.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Jim on 09/04/2010 02:03 am
Aside from satelitte repair/inspection maybe we are looking at the  US Airforce being one of the first manned Dragon clients.

The USAF has no manned requirement.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Jim on 09/04/2010 02:10 am

Yeah, the Merlin engines use pressurized RP-1 tapped off the turbopump outlet as the hydraulic fluid.  My understanding is that this is a unique innovation.  Most launch vehicles use a separate APU and pump system for hydraulics.  Kestrel is pressure-fed and therefore uses a different system for actuation.


No, the F-1 did it the same way. 
Also, most don't use a separate APU (the few that do are the Redstone, STS and Soyuz), just separate hydraulic fluid.  The hydraulic pump is powered by either the turbopump shaft or using the gas generator
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: just-nick on 09/04/2010 04:04 am

Yeah, the Merlin engines use pressurized RP-1 tapped off the turbopump outlet as the hydraulic fluid.  My understanding is that this is a unique innovation.  Most launch vehicles use a separate APU and pump system for hydraulics.  Kestrel is pressure-fed and therefore uses a different system for actuation.


No, the F-1 did it the same way. 

Don't some of the big russians (RD-170-and-friends) also use fuel-as-hydraulic fluid?

I think confusion on separate hydraulic pump could come from the small electric circulation pumps to keep fluid temperature under control (older Centaurs before they went electromechanical, for example).

Cheers,

  --Nick
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Antares on 09/04/2010 01:34 pm
Yes, another virtue of hydrocarbon engines.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: ugordan on 09/04/2010 02:04 pm
“The second-stage roll is being fixed by changing the location of the [liquid oxygen] pump drain outlet to avoid chilling the hydraulic lines of the roll control actuator,”

This would be part of the Merlin turbopump, not the tank fill/drain valve seen in the video, right? Is that what was responsible for the gas efflux seen spraying the engine *above* the nozzle exit?
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: corrodedNut on 09/04/2010 03:54 pm
This would be part of the Merlin turbopump, not the tank fill/drain valve seen in the video, right? Is that what was responsible for the gas efflux seen spraying the engine *above* the nozzle exit?

Are you referring to the T-shaped valve or vent by the GG exhaust nozzle, seen venting white gases to the left and right at MVac [EDIT: stage sep]? I wondered what that was, I thought it was something to do with the start-up sequence, as it seems to stop soon afterwards. Considering that the actuator doesn't 'freeze up' until later, maybe it (drain outlet) keeps venting and it's just hard to see because of the recirculating exhaust gases?
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: ugordan on 09/04/2010 04:38 pm
No, I'm not referring to that. If you look closely after ignition, there's another source of GOX coming from somewhere in the lower left corner of the frame, behind the umbilical connectors. This venting persisted for the entire duration of the burn.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: corrodedNut on 09/04/2010 04:59 pm
Well...I see whitish gasses swirling around, coming from the direction you describe, but I really have no idea what or why this is.

Do you think this "drain outlet" vents to the outside of the vehicle through the interstage during 1st stage flight, and after stage sep is free to impinge on these hydraulic lines?
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: cuddihy on 09/07/2010 11:54 am

Yeah, the Merlin engines use pressurized RP-1 tapped off the turbopump outlet as the hydraulic fluid.  My understanding is that this is a unique innovation.  Most launch vehicles use a separate APU and pump system for hydraulics.  Kestrel is pressure-fed and therefore uses a different system for actuation.


No, the F-1 did it the same way. 

Don't some of the big russians (RD-170-and-friends) also use fuel-as-hydraulic fluid?

I think confusion on separate hydraulic pump could come from the small electric circulation pumps to keep fluid temperature under control (older Centaurs before they went electromechanical, for example).

Cheers,

  --Nick

I would bet most of the confusion lies with the wider public understanding of how Shuttle works (i.e., MMH powered APUs).

People who only follow space occasionally have still likely read or seen a detailed shuttle launch description.

* edited to correct "NTO" in the APU
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Jim on 09/07/2010 12:50 pm

I would bet most of the confusion lies with the wider public understanding of how Shuttle works (i.e., MMH/NTO powered APUs).


The shuttle APU's are hydrazine powered.  They have dedicated tanks separate from the OMS/RCS.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: cuddihy on 09/07/2010 02:58 pm

I would bet most of the confusion lies with the wider public understanding of how Shuttle works (i.e., MMH/NTO powered APUs).


The shuttle APU's are hydrazine powered.  They have dedicated tanks separate from the OMS/RCS.

yep, oops.

Goes to show...
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: beancounter on 09/10/2010 02:32 am
A few comments lately seem to indicate that NASA is more seriously considering combining COTS-C Demo's 2&3 if 1 goes well.  Would love to see that and even better, the first actual CRS delivery and return.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Chris Bergin on 09/10/2010 01:07 pm
Per SpaceX coverage on L2, they have officially got the range for that October 23 launch date.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: corrodedNut on 09/12/2010 04:34 pm
In an interview with the BBC last week, at the World Summit for Satellite Financing, Gwynne Shotwell says:

"...[COTS 1] is sitting on the range on October 23 and we'll launch it hopefully, actually before then, we're hoping to move to the left."

http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/jonathanamos/2010/09/the-big-rockets-jostle-for-mar.shtml

See the audio player halfway down the page, at about 0:50 in the recording.

Mark your calendars! (in pencil)
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Ronsmytheiii on 09/14/2010 06:43 pm
hmm, looks like Falcon IX 2 is on the pad:
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: ugordan on 09/14/2010 06:45 pm
Not only that, it looks like the arm of the erector is open which could mean a tanking test is in progress.

EDIT: Yup, strongback retracting now. Could also mean an RF test with the range I suppose - remember the FTS signal problem.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Robotbeat on 09/14/2010 07:11 pm
hmm, looks like Falcon IX 2 is on the pad:
Woah! Didn't see that coming.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: corrodedNut on 09/14/2010 07:40 pm
Woah! Didn't see that coming.

That's what you get for not reading my posts! (kidding)

So, are the cameras on for good this time?
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: ugordan on 09/14/2010 08:01 pm
Well, whatever test that was, it's over. The vehicle's coming down.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: corrodedNut on 09/14/2010 08:08 pm
I'm thinking that there might be some new umbilicals for Dragon, at least A/C anyway. Would they erect and lower the strongback to check these?
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Lars_J on 09/14/2010 09:35 pm
It's nice to see the whole stack at least! Now if we could only get some up-close shots. :D
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Ronsmytheiii on 09/14/2010 09:44 pm
going up again
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: TheFallen on 09/15/2010 12:37 am
Falcon 9 at night
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: edkyle99 on 09/15/2010 12:47 am
hmm, looks like Falcon IX 2 is on the pad:

Falcon 9, not "IX", according to the manufacturer itself.
 http://www.spacex.com/falcon9.php

Roman numerals have been out of style since the 14th Century.  Nothing good can come from a number system that lacks a zero.  ;)   

- Ed Kyle
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: beancounter on 09/15/2010 01:13 am
hmm, looks like Falcon IX 2 is on the pad:

Falcon 9, not "IX", according to the manufacturer itself.
 http://www.spacex.com/falcon9.php

Roman numerals have been out of style since the 14th Century.  Nothing good can come from a number system that lacks a zero.  ;)   

- Ed Kyle

That's right.  No one would ever launch anything.   They'd all be stuck at one LOL
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Ronsmytheiii on 09/15/2010 01:16 am
hmm, looks like Falcon IX 2 is on the pad:

Falcon 9, not "IX", according to the manufacturer itself.
 http://www.spacex.com/falcon9.php

Roman numerals have been out of style since the 14th Century.  Nothing good can come from a number system that lacks a zero.  ;)   

- Ed Kyle

So I guess things like the Coliseum and the Parthenon are not good ;)

ok, enough engineering/history humor back on topic

So, I guess SpaceX is doing some kind of engineering test, wonder if this is simply to troubleshoot issues from flight 1, help to set up processing for a real payload, or will a lift be the equivalent of the Atlas V rolling back and forth to the VIF
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: mr. mark on 09/15/2010 01:21 am
"So, I guess SpaceX is doing some kind of engineering test, wonder if this is simply to troubleshoot issues from flight 1, help to set up processing for a real payload, or will a lift be the equivalent of the Atlas V rolling back and forth to the VIF"

I can't say for sure but, looking at the long range pics, it looks like cargo Dragon has already been integrated with the Falcon 9. So I would consider Dragon a "real payload".
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Ronsmytheiii on 09/15/2010 01:27 am
I can't say for sure but, looking at the long range pics, it looks like cargo Dragon has already been integrated with the Falcon 9. So I would consider Dragon a "real payload".

I was referring to Flight one, with the boiler Dragon.  Even on the LV though, a payload needs care/umbilical.  Would not be surprised if SpaceX is checking the telemetry from Dragon on the pad.

Edit: Actually not, see L2 side
http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?board=29.0
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Antares on 09/15/2010 03:18 am
So I would consider Dragon a "real payload".

Is it still a real payload if it's a zombie?  A real payload is not just metal and carbon.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Lars_J on 09/15/2010 03:22 am
So I would consider Dragon a "real payload".

Is it still a real payload if it's a zombie?  A real payload is not just metal and carbon.

Huh? Do you consider COTS demo 1 a "zombie"?  :o
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: mr. mark on 09/15/2010 03:33 am
Where is this idea coming from that this is a zombie spacecraft? It has full propulsion and navigation can reenter and have a parachute landing. This is a real cargo spacecraft. The only difference is the fact that it will only do several orbits for lack of a service module containing the solar panels. Seems there's a movement to try to find every little variation to try to discredit Spacex and the Dragon cargo capsule. 
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: docmordrid on 09/15/2010 03:39 am
You noticed that too 'eh?
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: JasonAW3 on 09/15/2010 03:40 am
I just wish that they'd work on getting the rig Man Rated.

     I know that the whole COTS is part of the process, but dang!  I wanna ride that bird!

Jason
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Antares on 09/15/2010 03:43 am
I'm not trying to discredit anything.  I'm trying to temper schedule expectations.  (Shrugs.)
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Lars_J on 09/15/2010 03:51 am
I just wish that they'd work on getting the rig Man Rated.

They will, and this (and every Dragon cargo flight) is part of that process. I actually find it encouraging that they will be able to work out major bugs as a cargo craft before they put people on it.

(Not that it is the only way of doing things, of course - nor necessarily the fastest or best - but it fits their model)
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Jorge on 09/15/2010 04:34 am
hmm, looks like Falcon IX 2 is on the pad:

Falcon 9, not "IX", according to the manufacturer itself.
 http://www.spacex.com/falcon9.php

Roman numerals have been out of style since the 14th Century.

Or at least, 1972.

http://www.solcomhouse.com/images/ap17patch_bg.gif
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: beancounter on 09/15/2010 05:47 am
I just wish that they'd work on getting the rig Man Rated.

They will, and this (and every Dragon cargo flight) is part of that process. I actually find it encouraging that they will be able to work out major bugs as a cargo craft before they put people on it.

(Not that it is the only way of doing things, of course - nor necessarily the fastest or best - but it fits their model)

Wellll to an extent, the model's been foisted on them by the fact that NASA didn't fund COTS-D. 
SpaceX I'm sure is still working on DragonCrew but without additional funding and no likely contracts at this stage, there's no commercial incentive for them to do it. 
Cargo is different for them and it's their major focus since they have to meet milestones and validate their systems before they can start delivery under their ISS supply contract.
In addition, once they do that, they're validating a large part of their crew Dragon - just have to add several bits with the LES being the most expensive and complicated.
 
 
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: ugordan on 09/15/2010 07:39 am
So I would consider Dragon a "real payload".

Is it still a real payload if it's a zombie?  A real payload is not just metal and carbon.

Huh? Do you consider COTS demo 1 a "zombie"?  :o

Zombie in the sense it potentially has no "brain" yet. The hardware is there, all right, but as was pointed out time and time again, without software that hardware is useless.

As such any testing related to the launch vehicle itself - which is ahead in the learning curve over Dragon - is meaningless as a tool to predict a launch date.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: MP99 on 09/15/2010 11:41 am
Don't forget that various HR requirements have to be met to allow ISS's crew to enter Dragon to retrieve the cargo.

cheers, Martin
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: ugordan on 09/15/2010 11:48 am
Which is no issue because this particular Dragon is going nowhere near the ISS.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: kevin-rf on 09/15/2010 02:27 pm

Roman numerals have been out of style since the 14th Century.  Nothing good can come from a number system that lacks a zero.  ;)   

- Ed Kyle

Your right,  the zero-less calendar system we all use is completely hopeless ;) That must why SpaceX schedules are always so far off :D

btw. at the risk of being completely off topic,  Dick Teresi in "Lost Discoveries: The Multicultural Roots of Modern Science from the Babylonians to the Maya" dedicates a whole chapter (or was it two) to zero and how much we in the west did without it. Hint: Newton did not have use of a zero :)
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Ronsmytheiii on 09/15/2010 02:38 pm
Looks like the tanking test has started:
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Comga on 09/15/2010 05:54 pm
No more video of the second Falcon 9 for now.
They have switched over to some other rocket that may actually have a Roman numeral in its name.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: docmordrid on 09/15/2010 06:13 pm
Processed & cropped....
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: yg1968 on 09/15/2010 06:16 pm
Here is an image of Falcon 9 that I captured from KSC channel 12 at 1:14 PM (Eastern time):
http://science.ksc.nasa.gov/shuttle/countdown/video/
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: docmordrid on 09/15/2010 06:42 pm
Processing it brings out more vents....

(hope you guys don't mind my following up with these?)
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Lars_J on 09/15/2010 07:13 pm
Those aren't vents... At least the top what lines on each side of the upper stage. Those are the upper 'arms' of the strongback in an open position, I think.

See image of the arms here: http://www.spacex.com/assets/img/20090105_strongbackfull.jpg
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: cuddihy on 09/15/2010 08:45 pm
Quote from: ugordan link=topic=22041.msg637102#msg637102 date=

Zombie in the sense it potentially has no "brain" yet. The hardware is there, all right, but as was pointed out time and time again, without software that hardware is useless.

As such any testing related to the launch vehicle itself - which is ahead in the learning curve over Dragon - is meaningless as a tool to predict a launch date.

Is this rumor that the software is not ready based on anything but rank speculation?
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: R.Simko on 09/15/2010 08:57 pm
It's great that we have the zero, now if we were only fully utilizing the metric system.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: mr. mark on 09/15/2010 08:58 pm
"Is this rumor that the software is not ready based on anything but rank speculation?"

Total rumor and based only on speculation of several members here.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Nikola on 09/15/2010 09:51 pm
Is this live or not?

http://www.spacex.com/webcast.php

(my apologies if it was already discussed, but I haven't been some time on the forum...)
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: ugordan on 09/15/2010 10:01 pm
Is this rumor that the software is not ready based on anything but rank speculation?

A while back it was reported here by none other than Chris Bergin that SpaceX were "struggling" with software both for F9 and Dragon, though it was in a context of some other discussion.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: ugordan on 09/15/2010 10:02 pm
Is this live or not?

It sure as heck *looks* live.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: mrhuggy on 09/15/2010 10:15 pm
Is this live or not?

It sure as heck *looks* live.

The clouds look like the match up with nasa's webcams.

I wonder if we are going to have a hotfire very soon. The cameras look to be setup for that and if so a launch on the original date of the 23rd of September?
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: ugordan on 09/15/2010 10:21 pm
I wonder if we are going to have a hotfire very soon.

The vehicle's not iced over, not venting, the erector's not retracted, they're talking about pad safing with vehicles seen driving to the hangar so I'm gonna go with... no.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: mmeijeri on 09/15/2010 10:23 pm
Is this rumor that the software is not ready based on anything but rank speculation?

Well, rank speculation combined with the fact that nearly all software anywhere in the world tends to be late...
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: mrhuggy on 09/15/2010 10:51 pm
What I meant by very soon wasnt today but maybe later this week. Saying that no confirmed tanking tests yet, well as far as know. And they would also tell everyone before hand.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Jim on 09/16/2010 02:16 am
"Is this rumor that the software is not ready based on anything but rank speculation?"

Total rumor and based only on speculation of several members here.

Incorrect.  There are several members with insight.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Antares on 09/16/2010 05:19 am
And they would also tell everyone before hand.

Funniest thing I've read this month.  Do you have any rationale for that?
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: TheFallen on 09/16/2010 05:41 am
What I meant by very soon wasnt today but maybe later this week.

I figured that's what you meant mrhuggy.  Would've pointed that out if you didn't.

Though I'm guessing October 23rd is the most likely launch date.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: yg1968 on 09/16/2010 01:22 pm
"Is this rumor that the software is not ready based on anything but rank speculation?"

Total rumor and based only on speculation of several members here.

Incorrect.  There are several members with insight.

Why would SpaceX launch a zombie spacecraft? If they are trying to convince NASA to combine COTS Demo 2 and 3, this would be the wrong approach. SpaceX also said that they were in no hurry to launch COTS Demo 1. So I doubt that they would launch a zombie (i.e. software deficient) spacecraft.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Jim on 09/16/2010 01:28 pm
"Is this rumor that the software is not ready based on anything but rank speculation?"

Total rumor and based only on speculation of several members here.

Incorrect.  There are several members with insight.

Why would SpaceX launch a zombie spacecraft? If they are trying to convince NASA to combine COTS Demo 2 and 3, this would be the wrong approach. SpaceX also said that they were in no hurry to launch COTS Demo 1. So I doubt that they would launch a zombie (i.e. software deficient) spacecraft.

The point is readiness and launch date.  Nothing was said about launching a zombie spacecraft
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: yg1968 on 09/16/2010 02:26 pm
"Is this rumor that the software is not ready based on anything but rank speculation?"

Total rumor and based only on speculation of several members here.

Incorrect.  There are several members with insight.

Why would SpaceX launch a zombie spacecraft? If they are trying to convince NASA to combine COTS Demo 2 and 3, this would be the wrong approach. SpaceX also said that they were in no hurry to launch COTS Demo 1. So I doubt that they would launch a zombie (i.e. software deficient) spacecraft.

The point is readiness and launch date.  Nothing was said about launching a zombie spacecraft

That makes a lot of sense. Your point being that they are not launching soon despite the recent tests. I think that Elon Musk also made the same point that the readiness of Dragon (not Falcon 9) will be setting the launch date of COTS Demo 1.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: ugordan on 09/16/2010 02:38 pm
That makes a lot of sense. Your point being that they are not lauching soon despite the recent tests.

Once again, no one's actually saying here they are *not* launching "soon" or that the problem is still the software. I don't know how you people parse other people's posts, but some seem to get the wrong conclusions out of them.

All that was pointed out is that a LV fueling test is no indicator of payload readiness.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: yg1968 on 09/16/2010 02:53 pm
That makes a lot of sense. Your point being that they are not launching soon despite the recent tests.

Once again, no one's actually saying here they are *not* launching "soon" or that the problem is still the software. I don't know how you people parse other people's posts, but some seem to get the wrong conclusions out of them.

All that was pointed out is that a LV fueling test is no indicator of payload readiness.

Fair enough. But the zombie comment above made it sound like Dragon was a zombie spacecraft because of software problems. Glad to know this is probably not the case. Thanks for the clarification.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: mr. mark on 09/16/2010 10:40 pm
Update on Falcon 9 COTS-1. http://www.spaceflightnow.com/falcon9/002/100916wdr/
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: mr. mark on 09/16/2010 11:20 pm
"The company plans another practice countdown soon that will culminate in a brief ignition of the Falcon's nine Merlin first stage engines, but the spokesperson did not respond to questions on its schedule".

So it seems the next test will also be the test fire.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: butters on 09/17/2010 12:45 am
I wonder why they don't combine the tanking and static fire into one test at this point.  The incremental approach made sense for the maiden flight, but it doesn't seem appropriate going forward assuming that static fire will remain a part of the standard launch flow.  If they've got the launch vehicle tanked up nominally, they might as well go ahead and do the static fire.  Maybe they'll combine them for flight 3?
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Jim on 09/17/2010 12:50 am
the static fire should be deleted.  WDR's are SOP for most vehicles
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: jabe on 09/17/2010 01:11 am
Article had some good tidbits but I wanted more pictures particularly of the dragon :) 
jb
BTW took me a while to figure out the acronyms..wet dress rehearsal and standard operating procedure..or I hope that is what they are :) 
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: beancounter on 09/17/2010 01:23 am
Speaking of acronyms, what would SLS stand for:  Shuttle Launch System, Space Launch System??  I've seen it used a number of times but not explained.

Cheers.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Proponent on 09/17/2010 01:46 am
Speaking of acronyms, what would SLS stand for:  Shuttle Launch System, Space Launch System??

The Senate bill defines it as Space Launch System, though some prefer the term Senate Launch System :).
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: beancounter on 09/17/2010 02:29 am
Thanks
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Lars_J on 09/17/2010 02:47 am
the static fire should be deleted.  WDR's are SOP for most vehicles

Could they be doing it to test their torque-dampening mods?
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: beancounter on 09/17/2010 03:53 am
the static fire should be deleted.  WDR's are SOP for most vehicles

Why is that?
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: NotGncDude on 09/17/2010 04:30 am
the static fire should be deleted.  WDR's are SOP for most vehicles

That's Oldspace SOP. Newspace does static fires
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Ronsmytheiii on 09/17/2010 04:38 am
the static fire should be deleted.  WDR's are SOP for most vehicles

That's Oldspace SOP. Newspace does static fires

If so new space wastes more money than "old space."
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: NotGncDude on 09/17/2010 04:49 am
the static fire should be deleted.  WDR's are SOP for most vehicles

That's Oldspace SOP. Newspace does static fires

If so new space wastes more money than "old space."

Nope. A static fire is worth more than several months of paper risk assessments.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Plasursci on 09/17/2010 09:56 am
the static fire should be deleted.  WDR's are SOP for most vehicles

They may stop doing static fires at some point, but they shouldn't do so just because it's standard-operating procedure for other vehicles. Their test plan will be based on what they deem necessary to verify that their vehicle is performing as designed.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Antares on 09/17/2010 04:24 pm
the static fire should be deleted.  WDR's are SOP for most vehicles
That's Oldspace SOP. Newspace does static fires
If so new space wastes more money than "old space."
Nope. A static fire is worth more than several months of paper risk assessments.

What paper risk assessments?  You have a cynical and inaccurate view of vehicle processing.  The question is what does the static fire screen for?  And don't answer that, because anything other than nothing (which is accurate) is eyetar.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Lars_J on 09/17/2010 04:33 pm
What paper risk assessments?  You have a cynical and inaccurate view of vehicle processing.  The question is what does the static fire screen for?  And don't answer that, because anything other than nothing (which is accurate) is eyetar.

 ;D Do you know SpaceX's own hardware better than them? Then go tell them how to do it. They clearly have no clue what they are doing, just running tests for shits and giggles.  ;)
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: butters on 09/17/2010 04:55 pm
the static fire should be deleted.  WDR's are SOP for most vehicles

Could they be doing it to test their torque-dampening mods?

I don't think they have a way to measure roll torque either on the pad or on the test stand.  Otherwise they would have tuned it out beforehand.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: NotGncDude on 09/17/2010 05:45 pm
the static fire should be deleted.  WDR's are SOP for most vehicles
That's Oldspace SOP. Newspace does static fires
If so new space wastes more money than "old space."
Nope. A static fire is worth more than several months of paper risk assessments.

What paper risk assessments?  You have a cynical and inaccurate view of vehicle processing.  The question is what does the static fire screen for?  And don't answer that, because anything other than nothing (which is accurate) is eyetar.

I think *you* have an inaccurate view of vehicle processing. A static fire gets you a lot of information (way more than nothing) about the stack you are about to fly very cheaply. Nobody else does it ... because they can't.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: ugordan on 09/17/2010 05:50 pm
A static fire gets you a lot of information (way more than nothing) about the stack you are about to fly very cheaply.

How different is that firing from the two extended burns on the VTS in Texas and where do you think is the point of diminishing returns on finding out anything useful with the pad static firings?

They already have two data points on SLC-40, one static firing and an actual launch. Another static test cannot add *that* much to the table.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: simonbp on 09/17/2010 07:28 pm
They already have two data points on SLC-40, one static firing and an actual launch. Another static test cannot add *that* much to the table.

Ah, but you're assuming that there have been no changes since the first flight. However, the software in Falcon 9 has almost certainly been updated since the first flight, and I wouldn't be surprised if there were also numerous mechanical tweaks. So, tanking tests and static fires allow them to test the tweaks, to make sure they don't break something else.

In other words it's a reminder that Falcon 9 is not a finished, full-operational rocket, and so is not following what others may define as a Standard Operational Procedure.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: ugordan on 09/17/2010 07:49 pm
However, the software in Falcon 9 has almost certainly been updated since the first flight, and I wouldn't be surprised if there were also numerous mechanical tweaks.

Which of the two couldn't have been tested in integrated stage tests in Texas? Why would engine roll bias software tweaks need a static firing?
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: cheesybagel on 09/17/2010 07:55 pm
the static fire should be deleted.  WDR's are SOP for most vehicles

Falcon 9 has nine first stage engines. The first stage is substantially more complex than your average first stage. Anything that can test the first stage before a full flight reduces risk. What you are proposing is the same course of action used by the Russians for N1.

If the rocket blew up on the launch pad how much would you have saved by skimping on testing?

What you are proposing is the US auto manufacturer standard operating procedure. Saving money by reducing testing of subcomponents. The same policy which has lead GM to near bankruptcy. The truth is the earlier in the production chain you find an issue, the cheaper it is to solve it, plus you get more reliable hardware with more customer value.

The way to reduce costs for SpaceX will be to judiciously reduce the number of parts and manufacturing steps, or reusing their rockets, not skimping on testing.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: ugordan on 09/17/2010 08:02 pm
What you are proposing is the same course of action used by the Russians for N1.

Uh, no. You are aware this flight stage accumulated 40 + 90 seconds of test stand firing + probably another 20 s of individual engine acceptance test firings? Much more than EELV engines go through, not to mention the fact there are no integrated stage firings there.

A far cry from N1 which couldn't afford a single ground test.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: ngilmore on 09/17/2010 08:08 pm
The same policy which has lead GM to near bankruptcy.

Check your calendar. Both GM and Chrysler went through bankruptcy in 2009. Unless you are predicting another bankruptcy...
 8)
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: cheesybagel on 09/17/2010 08:09 pm
What you are proposing is the same course of action used by the Russians for N1.

Uh, no. You are aware this flight stage accumulated 40 + 90 seconds of test stand firing + probably another 20 s of individual engine acceptance test firings? Much more than EELV engines go through, not to mention the fact there are no integrated stage firings there.

A far cry from N1 which couldn't afford a single ground test.

It does not take a lot of thinking to realize the stage could be damaged during transport from Texas to Florida. All it takes is a loose bolt or corroded nut.

Delta IV has one single first stage engine. Atlas V has a single first stage engine with two nozzles. Falcon 9 has nine first stage engines. Plus the associated tanks, plumbing, and control systems.

Another thing that can happen is different launch environments in Texas and Florida. Just because something works in the Texas test stand, it does not mean it will work in the Florida launch site. There were plenty of occurrences of issues like this during the static test firing campaign for the first Falcon 9.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: marsavian on 09/17/2010 08:37 pm
Inside SpaceX: Dragon Debut

http://www.spaceref.com/news/viewnews.html?id=1438
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Lars_J on 09/17/2010 09:03 pm
Inside SpaceX: Dragon Debut

http://www.spaceref.com/news/viewnews.html?id=1438

Sweet, the first COTS demo 1 Dragon image from the article: http://images.spaceref.com/news/2010/IMG_8390_KenKremer.jpg
(Interesting Draco covers, perhaps temporary until launch)

Some quotes from the article, regarding earlier speculation in this thread:
Quote
SpaceX engineers told me that the next step is to remove the Dragon from the Falcon 9 and place it on a processing cradle. At some point in early October, the spacecraft will be fueled with hypergolics - monomethyl hydrazine and nitrogen tetroxide - retested and then reattached to the Falcon 9 booster. Fueling will only be done after confirming the launch date due to the toxic nature of the propellants.

In mid-October, a static test firing of all 9 Merlin first stage engines will be conducted with an expected duration of three to five seconds - similarly to tests run by SpaceX prior to the first Falcon 9 launch. The test firing is planned for roughly a week prior to the actual launch, SpaceX engineers said to me.

The goal of the static firing is to test launch pad propellant and pneumatic systems as well as the ground and flight control software that controls pad and launch vehicle configurations and assure that all systems are "GO" in expectation of a launch
.

Quote
SpaceX hopes to establish a Falcon 9 launch rate at pad 40 that supports approximately 12 liftoffs per year or one per month.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Ronsmytheiii on 09/17/2010 10:23 pm
They already have two data points on SLC-40, one static firing and an actual launch. Another static test cannot add *that* much to the table.

Ah, but you're assuming that there have been no changes since the first flight. However, the software in Falcon 9 has almost certainly been updated since the first flight, and I wouldn't be surprised if there were also numerous mechanical tweaks. So, tanking tests and static fires allow them to test the tweaks, to make sure they don't break something else.

In other words it's a reminder that Falcon 9 is not a finished, full-operational rocket, and so is not following what others may define as a Standard Operational Procedure.

Yes, but what is so different between the testing environment in Texas? All these changes can be tried on the test stand, all WDR does is look good for the cameras.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: corrodedNut on 09/17/2010 10:51 pm
You guys are forgetting about the first F9 hot-fire abort back on March 9th:

"We tested everything on the vehicle side exhaustively in Texas, but didn't have this iso valve on our test stand there"

Even small things can make a big difference.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Antares on 09/18/2010 01:00 am
1) A static fire gets you a lot of information (way more than nothing) about the stack you are about to fly very cheaply.

2) Nobody else does it ... because they can't.

1) There are far better, safer and cheaper ways to do it.  If something got damaged in transport, then they have bad transportation practices.

If they're testing the rocket, they should have done that at the test stand.  If they're testing the pad, they don't need the rocket to do that.  If they're testing the integrated system... oh wait, Falcon 1 1-3 proved they need to work on that.

2) That's completely inaccurate.  Please post true facts.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Lars_J on 09/18/2010 01:48 am
Geez, I guess NASA are/were idiots for running pad hotfire tests too, then?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AUHLdJsoUOE

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N_A-1OpY8Vw

The more progress SpaceX makes, the more bizarre and/or irrational the detractors become.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Jim on 09/18/2010 03:22 am
\

I think *you* have an inaccurate view of vehicle processing. A static fire gets you a lot of information (way more than nothing) about the stack you are about to fly very cheaply. Nobody else does it ... because they can't.


Wrong on all accounts.
a.  Antares knows what he is talking about
b.  Static fires are not cheap and are more risky to hardware
c.  Others can do static fires but chose not to
d.  Static fires are unnecessary with good system engineering, good workmanship and good design.
e.  Static fires are development tests and not operational tests
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Jim on 09/18/2010 03:24 am
They already have two data points on SLC-40, one static firing and an actual launch. Another static test cannot add *that* much to the table.

Ah, but you're assuming that there have been no changes since the first flight. However, the software in Falcon 9 has almost certainly been updated since the first flight, and I wouldn't be surprised if there were also numerous mechanical tweaks. So, tanking tests and static fires allow them to test the tweaks, to make sure they don't break something else.

In other words it's a reminder that Falcon 9 is not a finished, full-operational rocket, and so is not following what others may define as a Standard Operational Procedure.

Static fires are not for software testing.  They are only for propulsion system testing
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Jim on 09/18/2010 03:27 am
Geez, I guess NASA are/were idiots for running pad hotfire tests too, then?

The more progress SpaceX makes, the more bizarre and/or irrational the detractors become.

Bad examples.  All new orbiters did a FRF and there was one for RTF


Who are the detractors?

Static fires for ELV are unnecessary especially if the stage has be hot fired
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Jim on 09/18/2010 03:31 am
the static fire should be deleted.  WDR's are SOP for most vehicles

Falcon 9 has nine first stage engines. The first stage is substantially more complex than your average first stage. Anything that can test the first stage before a full flight reduces risk. What you are proposing is the same course of action used by the Russians for N1.

If the rocket blew up on the launch pad how much would you have saved by skimping on testing?

What you are proposing is the US auto manufacturer standard operating procedure. Saving money by reducing testing of subcomponents. The same policy which has lead GM to near bankruptcy. The truth is the earlier in the production chain you find an issue, the cheaper it is to solve it, plus you get more reliable hardware with more customer value.

The way to reduce costs for SpaceX will be to judiciously reduce the number of parts and manufacturing steps, or reusing their rockets, not skimping on testing.


Wrong, the N1 did no development testing.  This is past that stage.

The stage was already hot fired.

Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: spacetraveler on 09/18/2010 03:33 am
Bad examples.  All new orbiters did a FRF and there was one for RTF

Well I think the point is, NASA determined the orbiters needed that. This is a new vehicle and SpaceX determined they needed that. I think they know their vehicle best, and a static fire while maybe not standard on other similar class vehicles is hardly an abnormal type of test.

Static fires for ELV are unnecessary especially if the stage has be hot fired

1. They don't want it to be expendable, they want to recover the first stage.

2. And even if it has been hot fired, there were tweaks to their system to eliminate roll off the pad. Perhaps they want to test pad loads or something. Also they had a problem previously with their test stand not having the exact same configuration as the pad. What's wrong with being extra careful knowing there is precedent for issues there?
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Jim on 09/18/2010 03:38 am

Another thing that can happen is different launch environments in Texas and Florida. Just because something works in the Texas test stand, it does not mean it will work in the Florida launch site. There were plenty of occurrences of issues like this during the static test firing campaign for the first Falcon 9.


wrong, that is bad logic and would mean that spacex has bad engineering.

Because something works in the Texas test stand, it does mean it will work in the Florida launch site.
That is the reason for the test stand in TX, otherwise eliminate the stand in TX and use FL for everything.

+19 EELVs with only 1 pad test firings
+100 Delta II's with none

WDR's with off pad testing does everything necessary
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: spacetraveler on 09/18/2010 03:41 am
wrong, that is bad logic and would mean that spacex has bad engineering.

It doesn't necessarily mean their entire system is faulty, it could just mean they made a minor mistake, such as they uncovered in the previous flight.

Because something works in the Texas test stand, it does mean it will work in the Florida launch site.
That is the reason for the test stand in TX

Of course it is. But what your logic is saying is that if they didn't get it 100% right the first time (which they found out they didn't on the last flight) then they should just scrap the whole thing, which is absurd.

They had a minor mistake last time, hopefully they've corrected it now so the environments are identical. Doing a static firing as an extra verification that that is the case is a perfectly reasonable procedure.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Jim on 09/18/2010 03:41 am

1.  other similar class vehicles is hardly an abnormal type of test.


2. They don't want it to be expendable, they want to recover the first stage.

3. And even if it has been hot fired, there were tweaks to their system to eliminate roll off the pad. Perhaps they want to test pad loads or something. Also they had a problem previously with their test stand not having the exact same configuration as the pad. What's wrong with being extra careful knowing there is precedent for issues there?

1.  Yes it is abnormal.  Any more than one is

2.  That has nothing to do with it

3. roll can't be fixed by static firing.  Test pad loads used weights and hydraulic cylinders.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: spacetraveler on 09/18/2010 03:48 am
I don't know why they are doing it. I'm just saying I think you are being a bit presumptuous to take the opinion that there could be no valid reason whatsoever for them doing it.

During the last flights static fire they uncovered a valve issue which was different from the test stand. So there is precedent for this procedure uncovering problems for them.

If they continue to do it and find no more issues, perhaps they will drop it on future flights. But there's nothing wrong with being extra cautious towards the beginning with the vehicle's history so new.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Antares on 09/18/2010 04:18 pm
1) There are valid reasons, but the trade is poor.  I mean, there's ALWAYS something more that could be done.  But every step has a cost.  There are cheaper (albeit less foolproof) ways to do what they're doing.  The increase in mission success for an on-pad static fire and some of the other things they do are negligible IMEO.

2) That was a first-use issue, which could have been uncovered in ways that did not risk the flight hardware.  There shouldn't be other similar problems this time, though I grant that all launch systems need a 3-4 flows to shake things down.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Ben the Space Brit on 09/18/2010 04:50 pm
I think that one thing to remember is that Falcon-9 Flight-2 is not a flight by a mature launch vehicle by a mature space launch organisation.  SpaceX are still feeling their way on some things, including debugging their LVs.  So, understandably, they're doing as many tests as possible in an attempt to ensure (as far as this can be ensured) that they won't lose possibly a year because of a launch failure on this mission.

Test fires will probably vanish from the schedule after they have developed more confidence in the vehicle and their own proceedures.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: SpacexULA on 09/18/2010 05:23 pm
Static fires are not for software testing.  They are only for propulsion system testing

Could this be a test of the Vibration/Acoustic environment that the Dragon will experience?  You would think that this information could have been collected from the 1st launch, but if as you say, the test serves to purpose for the launcher it' has to be the payload right?

I have a hard time belieiving that SpaceX does not have folks just as smart as Jim & Antares working for them, so they must know this test is not needed for the launcher, no way they are just doing this for the fun of it.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: mmeijeri on 09/18/2010 05:26 pm
Static fires are not for software testing.  They are only for propulsion system testing

End to end is further than you think <-- software testing maxim.

Not saying that is the reason in this case.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: R.Simko on 09/18/2010 06:06 pm
Before the first flight of Falcon 9 Elon talked about the importance of that first flight and that they were going to do as much testing as possible.  I'm sure that flights 1-3 of Falcon one was in his mind.  This second flight and first COTS test flight could be considdered every bit as important.  SpaceX needs a very good flight, if they are going to have any chance of having COTS test flights 2 and 3 combined into a single flight, thereby saving them time and money.

There might be some concerns with changes they have made since F9 flight one, or SpaceX might see it as just one more precaution to take.  I agree with Ben and others, that this test will eventually be eliminated.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: mr. mark on 09/18/2010 08:53 pm
Here is a link to a Spaceref.com article that includes the first picture of the Dragon cargo capsule along with some pictures of the 2nd Falcon 9.

http://www.spaceref.com/news/viewnews.html?id=1438
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: simonbp on 09/18/2010 11:02 pm
+19 EELVs with only 1 pad test firings
+100 Delta II's with none

+1 Delta IV H that failed due to software on first flight
+1 Delta III that failed due to software on first flight
+1 Ariane V that failed due to software on first flight

Notice a trend?

And yes, static fires do provide info for the GNC folks, especially on Falcon 9 where guidance is through differential thrust (unlike Delta or Atlas)...
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: ugordan on 09/18/2010 11:10 pm
+1 Delta IV H that failed due to software on first flight

Really?

Quote
And yes, static fires do provide info for the GNC folks, especially on Falcon 9 where guidance is through differential thrust (unlike Delta or Atlas)...

???
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: kevin-rf on 09/18/2010 11:55 pm
+1 Delta IV H that failed due to software on first flight

Really?


Even Wiki lists it as:

Due to Cavitation in the propellant lines causing sensors registered depletion of propellant. The strap-on, and later core CBC engines shut down prematurely.

Yes it was a software commanded shutdown, but it had a real hardware based cause.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Lars_J on 09/19/2010 12:00 am
+19 EELVs with only 1 pad test firings
+100 Delta II's with none

+1 Delta IV H that failed due to software on first flight
+1 Delta III that failed due to software on first flight
+1 Ariane V that failed due to software on first flight

Notice a trend?

And yes, static fires do provide info for the GNC folks, especially on Falcon 9 where guidance is through differential thrust (unlike Delta or Atlas)...

I don't think so... All 9 engines gimbal. (at least the outer 8 do) - doing differential thrust would cause too much of a payload penalty, but I could be wrong. The Merlin 1C's in the F9 1st stage are designed to run at full thrust for the entire running time. They even shut off two engines before MECO instead of throttling down.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: ugordan on 09/19/2010 12:37 am
Yes it was a software commanded shutdown, but it had a real hardware based cause.

In other words, the software acted as expected. The D-IVH premature shutdowns were not software faults.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Jim on 09/19/2010 03:51 am
Static fires are not for software testing.  They are only for propulsion system testing

End to end is further than you think <-- software testing maxim.

Not saying that is the reason in this case.

flight software is not tested in static firing, the vehicle is not moving
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Jim on 09/19/2010 03:54 am
+19 EELVs with only 1 pad test firings
+100 Delta II's with none

+1 Delta IV H that failed due to software on first flight
+1 Delta III that failed due to software on first flight
+1 Ariane V that failed due to software on first flight

Notice a trend?

And yes, static fires do provide info for the GNC folks, especially on Falcon 9 where guidance is through differential thrust (unlike Delta or Atlas)...

Incorrect.  GNC software is not tested with static fires.  None of those errors would have been uncovered with a static fire. 
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: mmeijeri on 09/19/2010 09:35 am
flight software is not tested in static firing, the vehicle is not moving

I don't understand the logic. Obviously the flight software has been thoroughly and continually tested since long before the static test (and if they're doing it right even before it was written). And obviously there any many important areas that don't get tested with a static test. But every test helps. The vehicle still shakes, sensors are measuring things, valves move. Things could possibly go wrong at this stage. And those are the things you test for. Again, I'm not saying this is their reason and I'm not saying other companies are doing it wrong. I'm just saying that as a software guy I would consider such a test valuable. Depending on the cost of such a test, which I don't know, it may or may not be worth it.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Jim on 09/19/2010 03:02 pm
flight software is not tested in static firing, the vehicle is not moving

I don't understand the logic. Obviously the flight software has been thoroughly and continually tested since long before the static test (and if they're doing it right even before it was written). And obviously there any many important areas that don't get tested with a static test. But every test helps. The vehicle still shakes, sensors are measuring things, valves move. Things could possibly go wrong at this stage. And those are the things you test for. Again, I'm not saying this is their reason and I'm not saying other companies are doing it wrong. I'm just saying that as a software guy I would consider such a test valuable. Depending on the cost of such a test, which I don't know, it may or may not be worth it.

I.  non flight software is usually use for static tests.
2.  Most sensors on a vehicle are not used in the  guidance (flight) software, the data is just telemetered to the ground.
3.  There is very little of the guidance software that deals with the propulsion system.  Other than thrust chamber ok switches/chamber pressures and occasionally propellant utilization, there is little interaction of the flight software with the rest of the vehicle.

4.  Guidance (flight) software steers the vehicle and controls events.  Most vehicles have separate engine controllers that operate the engine.  The guidance system only issues start, shutdown and throttle level commands. The engine controller does all the other necessary computations for valve movements.

Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Antares on 09/19/2010 06:56 pm
The Delta III wasn't a (edit:) testable software problem either.  Sheesh, Simon, I usually disagree with you on policies; but you did yourself no favors with that post.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: mmeijeri on 09/19/2010 07:10 pm
I.  non flight software is usually use for static tests.
2.  Most sensors on a vehicle are not used in the  guidance (flight) software, the data is just telemetered to the ground.
3.  There is very little of the guidance software that deals with the propulsion system.  Other than thrust chamber ok switches/chamber pressures and occasionally propellant utilization, there is little interaction of the flight software with the rest of the vehicle.

4.  Guidance (flight) software steers the vehicle and controls events.  Most vehicles have separate engine controllers that operate the engine.  The guidance system only issues start, shutdown and throttle level commands. The engine controller does all the other necessary computations for valve movements.

Thanks for that detailed information! About the software for the engine controller: in a vertically integrated company like SpaceX, is there a particular reason for the engine controller to be physically located on the engine? Couldn't the controller be run on the same processor as the flight software? It's software after all.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: kkattula on 09/20/2010 04:36 am
Quote from: mmeijeri
Thanks for that detailed information! About the software for the engine controller: in a vertically integrated company like SpaceX, is there a particular reason for the engine controller to be physically located on the engine? Couldn't the controller be run on the same processor as the flight software? It's software after all.

There are multiple sensor inputs and actuator outputs to each engine.
Why would you run all those lines back to the LV guidance computer?

IIRC, each Merlin has just one ethernet connection plus power from the batteries.

Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Comga on 09/20/2010 06:05 am
Sweet, the first COTS demo 1 Dragon image from the article: http://images.spaceref.com/news/2010/IMG_8390_KenKremer.jpg
(Interesting Draco covers, perhaps temporary until launch)

The shielding of the shroud lines for the parachutes appears quite different than on the drop-test Dragon.  I was wondering what they would do to make those sharp edge protrusions compatible with the supersonic portions of the launch.  It seems they have dramatically reduce the profiles.

I still wonder why SpaceX is putting so much effort into recovering this first operational Dragon.  It's not mandatory for COTS or CRS.

And perhaps those covers on the Draco's aren't "remove before flight" types.  I don't see any red tags or other indicators that they are non-flight.


(Now you can all go back to debating the wisdom of a static fire  :D)
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Lars_J on 09/20/2010 06:40 am
I still wonder why SpaceX is putting so much effort into recovering this first operational Dragon.  It's not mandatory for COTS or CRS.

But it is. Dragon is supposed to provide down-mass capability - and you can't do that without recovering the capsule, can you? And the want to test as much as they can in this flight.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: mmeijeri on 09/20/2010 10:42 am
There are multiple sensor inputs and actuator outputs to each engine.
Why would you run all those lines back to the LV guidance computer?

No special reason, just wondering why they split the software up that way. If you're using engines made by someone else then that's logical enough, but if it's all in-house, why not run it on a single (or redundant...) flight computer? I'm not saying they should, just curious about the reasons why they don't. Would there be any advantage if you could move the processor away from the heat and vibration of the engines?
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: ugordan on 09/20/2010 10:47 am
Would there be any advantage if you could move the processor away from the heat and vibration of the engines?

And greatly complicate the cabling for all sensors, valves to run all the way through to the top of the vehicle? It's a better defined and more manageable unit. There's a good reason it was done this way. Guidance software and engine control software are different beasts anyway as Jim said, so I'm not sure what merging them into a single place would accomplish.

Instead of a centralized ethernet interface they now have toward the flight computer you would need to convert each separate analog electrical sensor outputs to digital ethernet frames before sending them to the flight computer. Sending analog signals over 50 meters of cabling will mess A/D conversion there due to resistance losses, parasitic inductance, capacitance etc. Once you have a A/D converter for the sensors right in the engine and a box to pack that into an ethernet frame, you have yourself a... wait for it... engine controller.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: corrodedNut on 09/20/2010 12:11 pm
The shielding of the shroud lines for the parachutes appears quite different than on the drop-test Dragon.  I was wondering what they would do to make those sharp edge protrusions compatible with the supersonic portions of the launch.  It seems they have dramatically reduce the profiles.

The Dragon drop test article was missing most of its backshell TPS for that test. Only the areas surrounding or over the drogue and main parachute riser troughs, mortar tubes and main 'chute compartment had any. In the latest picture, the rest of the backshell has been added, so it has a 'smoother' appearance. Also, only two pieces (developmental?) of the heatshield were attached, one edge/lip piece bordering the main 'chute compartment, and another directly opposite on the (splashdown) leading edge.

From the available SpaceX literature, the backshell TPS is made of or partially made of a material called Acusil 2. I've tried to search and find out more about this material, but I haven't had much luck. It is a thermal insulator that appears to have a stiff, brittle, foam like consistency. It's a little hard to tell from the video, it seems as if the drogue risers rip right through it on deployment, like pulling the string on a bag of dog food.

If anyone knows more about, or has worked with this material, I'd appreciate any info.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: AnalogMan on 09/20/2010 01:56 pm
From the available SpaceX literature, the backshell TPS is made of or partially made of a material called Acusil 2. [...]

If anyone knows more about, or has worked with this material, I'd appreciate any info.

A search turned up the following info about the Acusil II material:

European Patent Application: EP2141070 Thermal barrier system
Publication date Jan 6, 2010
Assignee: ITT Manufacturing Enterprises, Inc

"[...] An example material for use in constructing the panels of the barrier system is a silicone material, such as a silicone syntactic foam material. A preferred silicone syntactic foam material that is used to form the panels of the thermal barrier system is commercially available under the trademark ACUSIL or ACUSIL II (ITT Corporation, New York).

The silicone syntactic foam material comprises a matrix of hollow silicone structures, e.g., microspheres, that are combined and/or fused together. The syntactic foam structure provides a low density, lightweight characteristic for the material while having a low thermal conductivity due to the physical nature of the silicone material and also the air content within the microsphere structures. A suitable silicone syntactic foam material (e.g., an ACUSIL material) can be selected so as to have a thermal conductivity within the range from about 0.050 - 0.055 W/(m*K) (e.g., about 0.053 W/(m*K)) and a density from about 15 lb/ft3 (about 240 kg/m3 ) to about 17 lb/ft3 (about 272 kg/m3 ). In addition, in an example embodiment the microspheres within the syntactic foam material are in the range from about 55 micrometers (microns) to about 70 microns."


http://www.freepatentsonline.com/EP2141070.html (http://www.freepatentsonline.com/EP2141070.html)

This paper from LaRC/Ames also has some information about this material:

Aerothermodynamic Design of the Mars Science Laboratory Backshell and Parachute Cone

"ITT-Aerotherm's Acusil II is a silicone foam material that was chosen to protect the BIP and PCC because it permits radio frequency transmission and can be molded to cover complex surface geometries; the material is frequently used for tactical missile applications. There are multiple antennas inside the PCC that must be able to transmit signals before the PCC is ejected at supersonic parachute deployment. Variable Acusil II thicknesses were tailored to the design environments presented here in order to maintain acceptable bondline temperatures for various elements.6 Acusil II does not ablate for heat fluxes below 100 W/cm2, which is well above what MSL will experience."

http://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi.ntrs.nasa.gov/20090024230_2009023822.pdf (http://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi.ntrs.nasa.gov/20090024230_2009023822.pdf)

Hope this is of interest.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: yg1968 on 09/20/2010 02:23 pm
Here is a link to a Spaceref.com article that includes the first picture of the Dragon cargo capsule along with some pictures of the 2nd Falcon 9.

http://www.spaceref.com/news/viewnews.html?id=1438

Quote
The goal of the static firing is to test launch pad propellant and pneumatic systems as well as the ground and flight control software that controls pad and launch vehicle configurations and assure that all systems are "GO" in expectation of a launch.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: mr. mark on 09/20/2010 02:48 pm
Comga - "still wonder why SpaceX is putting so much effort into recovering this first operational Dragon.  It's not mandatory for COTS or CRS. And perhaps those covers on the Draco's aren't "remove before flight" types.  I don't see any red tags or other indicators that they are non-flight".

Don't call me an expert but, if you are going to do a thuster test in flight, you probably need to remove the caps before launch.   
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: ugordan on 09/20/2010 02:52 pm
Don't call me an expert but, if you are going to do a thuster test in flight, you probably need to remove the caps before launch.   

Yeah, I guess it's too late for that now...  ::)
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: mr. mark on 09/20/2010 05:06 pm
How strong is Spacex's assembly building at the cape? It now houses the Dragon capsule and Falcon 9. How would it hold up against hurricane force winds?
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Lars_J on 09/20/2010 05:17 pm
How strong is Spacex's assembly building at the cape? It now houses the Dragon capsule and Falcon 9. How would it hold up against hurricane force winds?

According to this news story: http://www.floridatoday.com/content/blogs/space/2009/01/falcon-9-up-then-down-at-lc-40.shtml

Quote
"The Falcon 9 can be raised and lowered quickly, so the company's hurricane plan is to lower the rocket and roll it into the hangar if a storm approaches. The hangar is built to withstand winds up to 135 mph."
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: kevin-rf on 09/20/2010 05:47 pm
Quote
"The Falcon 9 can be raised and lowered quickly, so the company's hurricane plan is to lower the rocket and roll it into the hangar if a storm approaches. The hangar is built to withstand winds up to 135 mph."

A Category 3 direct hit, Category 4 is winds of 131mph to 155mph, but would it survive the storm surge from something that large? Me thinks a hurricane that large would float the whole kit and caboodle out to sea.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: corrodedNut on 09/20/2010 06:32 pm
Hope this is of interest.

Yes it is, thank you.

You did better than I did, I couldn't even find the manufacturer. Most of my searches came up with:
"Cure your diabetes and bursitis with ACUSIL 2!!" 

Now I'd like to know if there is a generic name for this stuff; it seems to be used on many re-entry vehicles.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: corrodedNut on 09/20/2010 06:35 pm
Don't call me an expert but,   

....must....resist...(gasping).....urge......to....snark....(death rattle)....
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Comga on 09/20/2010 07:27 pm
Comga - "And perhaps those covers on the Draco's aren't "remove before flight" types.  I don't see any red tags or other indicators that they are non-flight".

Don't call me an expert but, if you are going to do a thuster test in flight, you probably need to remove the caps before launch.   

Your wish is granted.  I won't call you an expert.

The question may be rephrased as why color the covers white to match the vehicle if you want them to stand out for visible indication that they have been removed?  One would think they would stencil in bright letters "NOT READY FOR FLIGHT" if they needed to be removed.  Normally you put a big red tag on things like that but perhaps they don't want tags flapping during the static firing.

There are other ways to open covers than to have them removed by hand.  They could pop off.   They could be actuated doors, which would also prevent being flooded with seawater after landing and exposure to airflow during reentry, although I have no knowledge if that or any other method is practical for these locations and criticality.  I am not suggesting they do anything, as no one cares or should care what I think SHOULD happen.  I am just asking a question about why things appear as they do.  We have smart people here who know things like this.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Comga on 09/20/2010 07:34 pm
I still wonder why SpaceX is putting so much effort into recovering this first operational Dragon.  It's not mandatory for COTS or CRS.

But it is. Dragon is supposed to provide down-mass capability - and you can't do that without recovering the capsule, can you? And the want to test as much as they can in this flight.

Does the CRS contract include downmass?  I know that is a SpaceX goal, and a quite reasonable one for their long term plans, but is it part of CRS or COTS for which they are being paid?
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: corrodedNut on 09/20/2010 08:14 pm
The question may be rephrased as why color the covers white to match the vehicle if you want them to stand out for visible indication that they have been removed?  One would think they would stencil in bright letters "NOT READY FOR FLIGHT" if they needed to be removed.  Normally you put a big red tag on things like that but perhaps they don't want tags flapping during the static firing.

There are other ways to open covers than to have them removed by hand.  They could pop off.   They could be actuated doors, which would also prevent being flooded with seawater after landing and exposure to airflow during reentry, although I have no knowledge if that or any other method is practical for these locations and criticality.  I am not suggesting they do anything, as no one cares or should care what I think SHOULD happen.  I am just asking a question about why things appear as they do.  We have smart people here who know things like this.

I think you're right, in that we shouldn't assume that they will be removed before flight.

In an earlier SpaceX update, from before F9 flight1, SpaceX was preparing the Dragon qual unit with "test Draco thruster housings", presumably to gather aerodynamic data in flight. These were later deleted from the final Dragon flight article. So, that might be a hint as to whether or not these covers are removed before flight or not.

To compare, and unless I'm mistaken, shuttle RCS tyvek covers are designed to 'blow-off' after lift off.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: yg1968 on 09/20/2010 08:53 pm
I still wonder why SpaceX is putting so much effort into recovering this first operational Dragon.  It's not mandatory for COTS or CRS.

But it is. Dragon is supposed to provide down-mass capability - and you can't do that without recovering the capsule, can you? And the want to test as much as they can in this flight.

Does the CRS contract include downmass?  I know that is a SpaceX goal, and a quite reasonable one for their long term plans, but is it part of CRS or COTS for which they are being paid?

Cargo return downmass is an option under the SpaceX CRS contract (see page 5 of the document -which is page 7 of the PDF, see also the index on page 1 -which is page 3 of the PDF):

http://www.nasa.gov/centers/johnson/pdf/418857main_sec_nnj09ga04b.pdf
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Lars_J on 09/21/2010 12:51 am
That PDF does not seem to be the document you are referring to. Or perhaps I am confused.

Quote
(see page 5 of the document -which is page 7 of the PDF, see also the index on page 1 -which is page 3 of the PDF)

Wow... that has to be the most byzantine page reference into a PDF document I have seen - I certainly canot make sense of it ??? 
EDIT: Ok I think I found it. But it is still not very conclusive, since the document is lacking context.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: cheesybagel on 09/21/2010 01:56 am

Another thing that can happen is different launch environments in Texas and Florida. Just because something works in the Texas test stand, it does not mean it will work in the Florida launch site. There were plenty of occurrences of issues like this during the static test firing campaign for the first Falcon 9.


wrong, that is bad logic and would mean that spacex has bad engineering.

Because something works in the Texas test stand, it does mean it will work in the Florida launch site.
That is the reason for the test stand in TX, otherwise eliminate the stand in TX and use FL for everything.

+19 EELVs with only 1 pad test firings
+100 Delta II's with none

WDR's with off pad testing does everything necessary


The Texas site provides a way to test the stages separately. Lack of proper separate testing (including static testing) for each stage was a problem with e.g. the Europa launcher. Even with the N-1 there were many quality control and design issues which were only found and corrected too late in the process because they had no test stand, or static testing.

Texas is also a heck of a lot closer to California than Florida.

Problems happen. Thinking that you can solve all engineering problems by adding multiple layers of paperwork, fault trees, probabilistic risk assessments, check lists, and the like, well... The truth is these techniques do not work well when the vehicles are evolving continuously. Also, you cannot add a check for an unknown problem.

Delta II's usually have solids. You cannot do hot fire tests with solids. Even most EELV launches I can remember had some solids.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Jim on 09/21/2010 02:58 am

Delta II's usually have solids. You cannot do hot fire tests with solids. Even most EELV launches I can remember had some solids.


Yes you can.  How do you think the shuttle did it?  The Delta IV did it with solids
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: yg1968 on 09/21/2010 05:22 am
That PDF does not seem to be the document you are referring to. Or perhaps I am confused.

Quote
(see page 5 of the document -which is page 7 of the PDF, see also the index on page 1 -which is page 3 of the PDF)

Wow... that has to be the most byzantine page reference into a PDF document I have seen - I certainly canot make sense of it ??? 
EDIT: Ok I think I found it. But it is still not very conclusive, since the document is lacking context.

The contract line items have been redacted which makes it hard to read. But page 7 of the PDF is where it mentions that it is an option.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: tobi453 on 09/22/2010 10:03 pm
SpaceX Targets November for Dragon Demo Flight:
http://www.spacenews.com/launch/100922-spacex-targets-november-dragon.html
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: douglas100 on 09/22/2010 11:09 pm
Looks like Jim got it right again! :)
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: robertross on 09/22/2010 11:30 pm
Looks like Jim got it right again! :)

surprise, surprise  :)
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: sdsds on 09/23/2010 12:43 am
On the static fire question, is there the possibility that not all the same people will be sitting in the launch control center who sat in those seats during the previous launch?  Giving newcomers first-hand experience of the count all the way to ignition could be reason enough for a static fire test.  The biggest "software" errors sometimes originate from the other side of the keyboard.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Antares on 09/23/2010 03:39 am
Doubtful.  And, any launch team worth its salt would have done enough sims that they wouldn't need any more practice prior to risking flight hardware.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: dbooker on 09/23/2010 03:35 pm
Couple questions.
1. Is re-entry/return part of the SpaceX COTS 1 Demo flight?
2. Anyone know if the 1st Dragon test article is still in orbit?  If so anyone know when it is projected to re-enter the atmosphere?
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Jim on 09/23/2010 03:36 pm
Also, a WDR provides this experience too
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Lars_J on 09/23/2010 03:45 pm
Couple questions.
1. Is re-entry/return part of the SpaceX COTS 1 Demo flight?

Yes.

2. Anyone know if the 1st Dragon test article is still in orbit?  If so anyone know when it is projected to re-enter the atmosphere?

It is no longer in orbit. According to this WIKI page, re-entry occured "around 0050 GMT on June 27, 2010": http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dragon_Spacecraft_Qualification_Unit
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: AnalogMan on 09/23/2010 04:08 pm
1. Is re-entry/return part of the SpaceX COTS 1 Demo flight?

This is what SpaceX put in their document to NASA:

"Demo 1 - Core Functionality Flight.

The first flight of Dragon is intended to demonstrate core functionality, such as on orbit maneuvering, structural integrity, systems functions and entry/descent/landing. Note, the spacecraft will be highly instrumented, with multi-megabit telemetry and video on all missions."
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Salo on 09/24/2010 09:48 am
http://www.spacenews.com/launch/100922-spacex-targets-november-dragon.html
Quote
WASHINGTON — Hawthorne, Calif.-based Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) has shifted a planned Oct. 23 launch of its Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon cargo vessel to November.

    “Our targeted launch date is moving — we’ve submitted a request for November 8th or 9th and are waiting for the range to complete their standard deconfliction work and provide a formal approval,” SpaceX spokeswoman Kirstin Brost said in a Sept. 21 e-mail.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: corrodedNut on 09/29/2010 08:34 pm
New SpaceRef article:

http://www.spaceref.com/news/viewnews.html?id=1447

New photos, including one of the WDR
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Comga on 09/30/2010 05:02 am
New SpaceRef article:
http://www.spaceref.com/news/viewnews.html?id=1447
New photos, including one of the WDR

Nice photos indeed but the article has many errors and silliness.
Comets don't flame.
The delay will "allow SpaceX personal (sic) additional time".  Uh, yeah
At this time all American launch pads are "sea side". SLC-40 is no different.
Falcon 9 isn't really "EELV class", which is no criticism.
Dragon will be berthed, not docked.
We know the author was an "invited" "eye witness", but it's not about him.

But I digress...

The Draco engines are again shown covered with those white caps and not flush to the outer surface.  That is still a curiosity.

The tear-out covers for the parachute shrouds are nearly flush, which is what one would suspect, but what is that other red line near the top?  For the drop test the three shroud lines converged at the top of the Dragon pressurized volume.  This potentially fourth line goes somewhere else, and it is definitely not flush.  Any ideas on this?

Looks like gloving around the Merlin engines.  Have we seen this before?

And this was the first post in five days for a launch in six weeks.  How can there be so little to discuss?

(Removed eroneous overcritical remark)
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Lars_J on 09/30/2010 05:20 am
New SpaceRef article:
http://www.spaceref.com/news/viewnews.html?id=1447
New photos, including one of the WDR
The Draco engines are again shown covered with those white caps and not flush to the outer surface.  That is still a curiosity.

It looks like these pictures were taken in the middle of installing external insulation on the service section around the Draco's. (note the partial thin while liner near the heatshield which does not extend all around, only the bottom half, in this image: http://images.spaceref.com/news/2010/IMG_8368_KenKremer.jpg)

I'm guessing the remaining dark areas will receive custom-cut insulation to make everything near flush. This way the Draco covers will become flush with the surface around them. The center of the thrusters also look like a similar material that covers the Shuttle thrusters at launch, which is made to pop out at first thruster usage. Or they are just temporary protective covers.

Quote
The tear-out covers for the parachute shrouds are nearly flush, which is what one would suspect, but what is that other red line near the top?  For the drop test the three shroud lines converged at the top of the Dragon pressurized volume.  This potentially fourth line goes somewhere else, and it is definitely not flush.  Any ideas on this?

Could it be drogue-related? Or perhaps some trigger mechanism for releasing the nose cone after 2nd stage ignition?

Quote
Looks like gloving around the Merlin engines.  Have we seen this before?

Do you mean the blue covers of the engine nozzle? Or the white insulation material at the engine base? The latter looks a little different that what was seen in the pictures before flight 1, although the pictures may not have been taken at the same stage:
F9 flight 1 base: http://images.spaceref.com/news/2010/oospaceximage001.jpg
F9 flight 2 base: http://images.spaceref.com/news/2010/IMG_8278_KenKremer_.jpg

Quote
And this was the first post in five days for a launch in six weeks.  How can there be so little to discuss?

There has been plenty of discussion - just not much to add, until we get pictures or news like this.  :)
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Comga on 09/30/2010 06:07 am

]The tear-out covers for the parachute shrouds are nearly flush, which is what one would suspect, but what is that other red line near the top?  For the drop test the three shroud lines converged at the top of the Dragon pressurized volume.  This potentially fourth line goes somewhere else, and it is definitely not flush.  Any ideas on this?

Could it be drogue-related? Or perhaps some trigger mechanism for releasing the nose cone after 2nd stage ignition?

Quote
Looks like gloving around the Merlin engines.  Have we seen this before?

Do you mean the blue covers of the engine nozzle? Or the white insulation material at the engine base? The latter looks a little different that what was seen in the pictures before flight 1, although the pictures may not have been taken at the same stage:
F9 flight 1 base: http://images.spaceref.com/news/2010/oospaceximage001.jpg
F9 flight 2 base: http://images.spaceref.com/news/2010/IMG_8278_KenKremer_.jpg

No, it's not the drogues.  They come out of the middle of the three lines that meet at the top.  And I doubt that it has anything to do with the nosecone.

Yes, I meant the white fabric-like material around the engines above the bells.  It is different from any previous image.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: dunderwood on 09/30/2010 03:35 pm
Quote
STS-133 is not the last Shuttle flight.

It is the last flight of Discovery, which is what the article notes. 
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: renclod on 10/02/2010 08:32 pm

No, it's not the drogues.  They come out of the middle of the three lines that meet at the top. 

I think the drogues (two) come out from left and right. Main parachutes (three) come out of the middle.

The "other red line near the top" which "is definitely not flush" could be a [cable] tray for development flight instrumentation (something that a production Dragon won't have). Who knows.

Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: spacetraveler on 10/02/2010 08:53 pm
Falcon 9 isn't really "EELV class", which is no criticism.

The most often flown Atlas V is the 401 config, Falcon 9 has basically the same payload capacity to GTO.

It might not be as scalable as the EELVs yet (no F9H) but I would certainly consider it in their class.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Ben the Space Brit on 10/03/2010 07:22 am
Falcon 9 isn't really "EELV class", which is no criticism.

The most often flown Atlas V is the 401 config, Falcon 9 has basically the same payload capacity to GTO.

It might not be as scalable as the EELVs yet (no F9H) but I would certainly consider it in their class.

FWIW, I agree with Jim that the Falcon-9, in its current form, is a Delta-II-class launch vehicle.  The Raptor upper stage and possibly F-1e core derived LFB boosters might change that but that's off-topic for this thread.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: alexw on 10/03/2010 09:37 am
Falcon 9 isn't really "EELV class", which is no criticism.
The most often flown Atlas V is the 401 config, Falcon 9 has basically the same payload capacity to GTO.
It might not be as scalable as the EELVs yet (no F9H) but I would certainly consider it in their class.
FWIW, I agree with Jim that the Falcon-9, in its current form, is a Delta-II-class launch vehicle.  The Raptor upper stage and possibly F-1e core derived LFB boosters might change that but that's off-topic for this thread.
    Why do you think so?

    With a 5m fairing, at 10mT to LEO (28.5 200km), 8.3mT to sun-synchronous (LEO 200km), 3-3.5mT to GTO (1500 m/s delta-V to go trajectory), Falcon 9 looks to slot in between Atlas V 501 and 511, often closer to 511.

    For Earth-escape orbits, naturally, Centaur pulls ahead.

    Delta II, Taurus II, and Soyuz...err.. 2, all seem to be in a lesser performance class.
   -Alex
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Ben the Space Brit on 10/03/2010 12:47 pm
Falcon 9 isn't really "EELV class", which is no criticism.
The most often flown Atlas V is the 401 config, Falcon 9 has basically the same payload capacity to GTO.
It might not be as scalable as the EELVs yet (no F9H) but I would certainly consider it in their class.
FWIW, I agree with Jim that the Falcon-9, in its current form, is a Delta-II-class launch vehicle.  The Raptor upper stage and possibly F-1e core derived LFB boosters might change that but that's off-topic for this thread.
    Why do you think so?

Because the Atlas-V-401 and -501 are being marketed by ULA as a direct replacement for the Delta-II.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Robotbeat on 10/03/2010 03:43 pm
Isn't it true that EELVs were originally intended not to have solid strap-ons? So, certainly Falcon 9 is in the same class as the original spec for EELVs. Who knows where Falcon 9 will be in 8 years time.

This is a little pointless argument. Kind of like the HLV argument. It's better just to explicitly say what payload capacity you're talking about.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: ugordan on 10/03/2010 03:44 pm
Because the Atlas-V-401 and -501 are being marketed by ULA as a direct replacement for the Delta-II.

Say what? They may offer Atlas V 401 as a Delta II replacement, but only because it's the next cheapest LV they have. It's still substantially more powerful than a Delta II.

The thing with F9 is that its maxed-out performance roughly equals the basic EELV configurations. And that maxed out performance hasn't even been demonstrated yet. EELV only pick up from there. The next step for F9 is the Heavy.

I wouldn't call F9 "EELV class", although I wouldn't call it Delta II class, either. It fits somewhere in between, closer to Atlas V 401 than Delta II.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Antares on 10/03/2010 06:59 pm
Isn't it true that EELVs were originally intended not to have solid strap-ons?

No, quite the opposite.  Solid strap-ons were always intended so that EELVs could be more closely matched to the payload mass.

PS: IMO, the F9 performance numbers don't yet pass my sanity check.  Parametrically, I think they're 10-15% too high.  Maybe they require the upgraded Merlin, which would make them more believable.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Robotbeat on 10/03/2010 07:10 pm
Isn't it true that EELVs were originally intended not to have solid strap-ons?

No, quite the opposite.  Solid strap-ons were always intended so that EELVs could be more closely matched to the payload mass.

PS: IMO, the F9 performance numbers don't yet pass my sanity check.  Parametrically, I think they're 10-15% too high.  Maybe they require the upgraded Merlin, which would make them more believable.
Yeah, the Falcon 9 is not really humming along, yet.

But, I swear that I heard that at least one of the EELVs was not originally (when first proposed) supposed to have solid strap-ons.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: edkyle99 on 10/03/2010 07:18 pm
Isn't it true that EELVs were originally intended not to have solid strap-ons?

No, quite the opposite.  Solid strap-ons were always intended so that EELVs could be more closely matched to the payload mass.

PS: IMO, the F9 performance numbers don't yet pass my sanity check.  Parametrically, I think they're 10-15% too high.  Maybe they require the upgraded Merlin, which would make them more believable.

The original designs for EELV did not have strap on solid motors.  Both Lockheed Martin and Boeing proposed use of different upper stages to cover different payload ranges.  Solids were added later, though designers may have contemplated their use from the outset.

Here's a look at the early EELV plans.
http://www.globalsecurity.org/space/library/report/1997/nov_ovrw.pdf

 - Ed Kyle
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: ugordan on 10/03/2010 08:43 pm
PS: IMO, the F9 performance numbers don't yet pass my sanity check.  Parametrically, I think they're 10-15% too high.  Maybe they require the upgraded Merlin, which would make them more believable.

The numbers they float around now definitely assume Block 2 and have for some time, at least since the User Guide v1 was released back in 2008. One still wonders what other caveats those performance figures assume, though.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Jim on 10/03/2010 11:24 pm

No, quite the opposite.  Solid strap-ons were always intended so that EELVs could be more closely matched to the payload mass.


Hate to correct you there.  Solids were added later in the program after commercial comsats were growing.  That is why the VIF has 1.X levels.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Comga on 10/04/2010 03:08 am
I apologize for making a simple remark that seems to have set off this F9 vs EELV discussion.  It really wasn't that important, and it was noted as OT at the time
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: beancounter on 10/04/2010 07:04 am
When will Jim revise his launch prediction?  :)
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: butters on 10/04/2010 12:52 pm
When will Jim revise his launch prediction?  :)

It's still officially NET Nov 8, so even with a 1.5x time dilation to convert SpaceX time into standard time, there's still a high probability of a Nov launch date, especially since there's nothing else scheduled on the Eastern Range in mid-late Nov.

They have a static fire test that they want to do roughly one week before launch.  They may want to get that out of the way before the Shuttle launch on Nov 1 and the DIVH launch on Nov 4.  If they have to wait until after the range calms down, then Nov 8 may not be possible and the launch date may slip a week or so.

So I think that if we see a static fire by the end of this month, then Nov 8/9 looks good, but if not, then Nov 15-18 seems more likely.

But Jim may have a different and invariably more credible prediction...
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Lars_J on 10/04/2010 06:34 pm
A new spaceX update: http://www.spacex.com/updates.php

In it Elon mentions a planned 4 hr mission duration. So at least 2 orbits.

There's also this best shot yet of the Dragon, showing the heat shield: http://www.spacex.com/assets/img/20101001_dragonc1.jpg

There's also an internal shot of 'the second production Dragon spacecraft', showing some cargo racks and people: http://www.spacex.com/assets/img/20101001_scott.jpg (seems fairly roomy)
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Ben the Space Brit on 10/04/2010 07:00 pm
A new spaceX update: http://www.spacex.com/updates.php

...

There's also an internal shot of 'the second production Dragon spacecraft', showing some cargo racks and people: http://www.spacex.com/assets/img/20101001_scott.jpg (seems fairly roomy)

That would be the COTS-2 spacecraft, so it makes sense that it would be internally rigged like an operational CRS flight so that the flight dynamics match up to the real thing as much as possible.  As for the size, don't be fooled.  I suspect t hat we're looking from a camera flush up against the inner hull.  That will distort the perspective a little.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: corrodedNut on 10/04/2010 07:23 pm
Has this thing gotten bigger since Flight1? IIRC this was the source of the infamous "ice explosion" in pictures from the Flight1 static fire. Does anyone know or remember what it's for? 2nd stage telemetry? Perhaps improved for post-seperation tracking?
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Hauerg on 10/04/2010 07:34 pm
Has this thing gotten bigger since Flight1? IIRC this was the source of the infamous "ice explosion" in pictures from the Flight1 static fire. Does anyone know or remember what it's for? 2nd stage telemetry? Perhaps improved for post-seperation tracking?
Camera housing and live video downlink? So that they have an idea what happened if recovery of stage 1 fails again?
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: ugordan on 10/04/2010 07:40 pm
It's an RP-1 tank relief vent.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: butters on 10/05/2010 11:02 am
Also referring to the rear view shot of the first stage...

Did the first F9 have that clean flat expanse of white insulation(?) on aft surface of the thrust structure, with openings only for the throats of the engines and the turbopump exhausts? 

It looks really slick, and I don't remember seeing the first F9 looking so well dressed on her business end.  Is this a new attempt to achieve first stage recovery?  That would make sense, if it is indeed a modification for flight 2 and not just a part of the late integration steps that wasn't shown in the flight 1 update photos.

If they can recover the first stage this time around, in any reasonably intact condition, that would be a very impressive success for SpaceX.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: gospacex on 10/05/2010 11:34 am
Also referring to the rear view shot of the first stage...

Did the first F9 have that clean flat expanse of white insulation(?) on aft surface of the thrust structure, with openings only for the throats of the engines and the turbopump exhausts? 

It looks really slick, and I don't remember seeing the first F9 looking so well dressed on her business end.  Is this a new attempt to achieve first stage recovery?  That would make sense, if it is indeed a modification for flight 2 and not just a part of the late integration steps that wasn't shown in the flight 1 update photos.

If they can recover the first stage this time around, in any reasonably intact condition, that would be a very impressive success for SpaceX.

Non-intact condition will be ok too. They can look at the wreck and figure out what gave up first, what didn't work as expected etc. Can't do that if the stage is 3 miles down in the ocean...
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Ben the Space Brit on 10/05/2010 11:38 am
Non-intact condition will be ok too. They can look at the wreck and figure out what gave up first, what didn't work as expected etc. Can't do that if the stage is 3 miles down in the ocean...

That shouldn't be an issue, so long as the vehicle doesn't loose structural integrity.  The propellent tanks, once empty, should act as huge buoyancy tanks.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Dave G on 10/06/2010 12:16 am
Did the first F9 have that clean flat expanse of white insulation(?) on aft surface of the thrust structure, with openings only for the throats of the engines and the turbopump exhausts? 

It could be something they just use for shippnig and storage, and then remove before launch.  Sort of like the white plastic you see on new cars in transit to dealers.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: iamlucky13 on 10/06/2010 12:58 am
It looks more substantial and neatly integrated than a shipping or storage cover. Look at the rows of what appears to be fasteners.

Also, looking back through the updates, I think the flight 1 Falcon 9 did have these covers. The only view of that angle I've come across searching their site are videos of the rollout and the pad static fire. It's not very high resolution or from great angles, but the area between the engines appears to be filled in.

http://www.spacex.com/multimedia/videos.php?id=48
http://www.spacex.com/multimedia/videos.php?id=45

In contrast, when they first rolled a vehicle to the pad in spring 2009, it definitely did not have covers between the nozzles and the engines, nor any of the fairings around the engines.

Current:
http://www.spacex.com/assets/img/20101001_integrated.jpg

May 2009:
http://www.spacex.com/assets/img/20090108_elonf9.jpg
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: zaitcev on 10/06/2010 02:07 am
I would really love to know how they manage to make the supports for the capsule to penetrate the heat shield without causing a burn-through.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: beancounter on 10/06/2010 02:34 am
I would really love to know how they manage to make the supports for the capsule to penetrate the heat shield without causing a burn-through.

I'll second that.  Must have a solution but it escapes me!!
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Jorge on 10/06/2010 02:38 am
I would really love to know how they manage to make the supports for the capsule to penetrate the heat shield without causing a burn-through.

I'll second that.  Must have a solution but it escapes me!!

Probably similar to how the orbiter's forward ET attach point ("arrowhead") works, though I can't find a good online reference at this point.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: subzero788 on 10/06/2010 02:41 am
How were the Apollo Command/Service modules attached?
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Jorge on 10/06/2010 02:48 am
How were the Apollo Command/Service modules attached?

Tension ties around the edges of the TPS.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: mr. mark on 10/06/2010 02:50 am
At :26 seconds in on the new Falcon flight 1 video, you can just make out the covers for the first stage engines. They seem to be a slightly different color but the housing around them is still white.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Lars_J on 10/06/2010 02:54 am
I would really love to know how they manage to make the supports for the capsule to penetrate the heat shield without causing a burn-through.

This is interesting... I decided to Google an image of the Orion heat-shield for comparison - and what do you know, this prototype *also* has 'holes' like that: http://xpda.com/junkmail/junk198/heatshield.jpg
This rough Orion capsule schematic side view also shows holes/something there: http://a52.g.akamaitech.net/f/52/827/1d/www.space.com/images/060926_cev_schem_02.jpg

And what about Apollo? Check out the Apollo 11 heat shield on display: http://lh4.ggpht.com/_7gD73enqswE/SUASyr2NyfI/AAAAAAAAEJs/qmslUAu5q0M/s912/IMG_6368.JPG - It also has similar holes.
This Apollo 17 pre-launch picture shows holes (some freshly painted over): http://www.hq.nasa.gov/office/pao/History/alsj/a17/ap17-KSC-72C-1084.jpg

So this method of some (apparent) structural support of the capsule through the heat-shield seems to be a common thread for U.S capsules since Apollo. Perhaps someone with more background can explain how burn-through is prevented.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Lars_J on 10/06/2010 03:50 am
An addendum to my last post - This CAD model of the Orion SM appears to show the 6 structural support pads that line up with the 6 holes in the heat shield: (they have a green color)
http://img136.imageshack.us/img136/4953/orioncargospacefc8.jpg
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Lars_J on 10/06/2010 03:53 am
AHA! Success :D - This NASA PDF file explains these "compression pads" (what the holes are):

"Analysis of Compression Pad Cavities for the Orion Heatshield"
http://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi.ntrs.nasa.gov/20090007607_2009006273.pdf

Quote
Preliminary design of the Orion module and heatshield has leveraged technology and design solutions from Apollo wherever possible. One example is the support of mechanical loads between the command module (Orion) and service module when stacked for launch. In this configuration, launch loads must transfer through connections on the bottom of the capsule which penetrate though the windward reentry heatshield. Lightweight thermal protection materials for the heatshield do not possess the mechanical strength for support so, like Apollo, the Orion loads are transferred through densified compression pads embedded within the windward heatshield. A seamless integration of the compression pads within the heatshield would be ideal; however, the need for mechanical connections and even different rates of material ablation dictate some form of surface discontinuity.

EDIT: another PDF here: http://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi.ntrs.nasa.gov/20080008297_2008007430.pdf
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: beancounter on 10/06/2010 04:51 am
Ok that explains a lot.  But I don't think SpaceX will use tension ties through the heatshield.  A simpler method would be external latches of some sort which I would think would maintain the integrity of the heat shield but that's only my uniformed opinion FWIW. 
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Lars_J on 10/06/2010 04:55 am
Ok that explains a lot.  But I don't think SpaceX will use tension ties through the heatshield.  A simpler method would be external latches of some sort which I would think would maintain the integrity of the heat shield but that's only my uniformed opinion FWIW. 

No, as you can see in this image ( http://images.spaceref.com/news/2010/20101001_rotating.jpg ) the edge of the heat shield extends beyond the trunk. The only way to attach it firmly to the trunk is through some kind of tension tie mechanism through those 5 or 6 compression pads.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: beancounter on 10/06/2010 05:02 am
Ok that explains a lot.  But I don't think SpaceX will use tension ties through the heatshield.  A simpler method would be external latches of some sort which I would think would maintain the integrity of the heat shield but that's only my uniformed opinion FWIW. 

No, as you can see in this image ( http://images.spaceref.com/news/2010/20101001_rotating.jpg ) the edge of the heat shield extends beyond the trunk. The only way to attach it firmly to the trunk is through some kind of tension tie mechanism through those 5 or 6 compression pads.
Ok guess that would prevent any possible edge damage to the heatshield as well.  Still don't like the idea of putting something through the heatshield but guess they've got it covered.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: JayP on 10/06/2010 03:55 pm
Ok that explains a lot.  But I don't think SpaceX will use tension ties through the heatshield.  A simpler method would be external latches of some sort which I would think would maintain the integrity of the heat shield but that's only my uniformed opinion FWIW. 

No, as you can see in this image ( http://images.spaceref.com/news/2010/20101001_rotating.jpg ) the edge of the heat shield extends beyond the trunk. The only way to attach it firmly to the trunk is through some kind of tension tie mechanism through those 5 or 6 compression pads.
Ok guess that would prevent any possible edge damage to the heatshield as well.  Still don't like the idea of putting something through the heatshield but guess they've got it covered.
You’ve got to remember, heat shields aren’t magic. You can have a metallic protrusion thru the heat shield with no problem. All you need is a large enough mass of metal with reference to the area (of metal) that is being heated that can absorb the heat that is being applied. It’s called a heat sink. That is how the bi-pod mount on the shuttle works. In the center of the RCC arrow head is the circular metallic section (that is really 3 coplanar faces –the outer housing, the face of the spherical bearing and the sheared off end of the actual connecting bolt). It’s mounted in a heavy housing at a point where a lot of the structure comes together. All that structure absorbs the heat that is applied to the external faces. You could, in-fact, cover the entire bottom of the capsule in a 3 in thick layer of beryllium and it would survive the reentry just fine, it just would be to heavy to launch.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: jabe on 10/06/2010 04:28 pm
I would really love to know how they manage to make the supports for the capsule to penetrate the heat shield without causing a burn-through.
I asked that back here
http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=22769.msg644750#msg644750
Ben the space brit ansswered..
Quote
They aren't holes, they are geometric shapes in the PICA material into which the trunk attachment pads will fit.  the raised sides will stop the Dragon rotating atop the trunk during high-vibration flight modes.
jb
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: beancounter on 10/07/2010 01:53 am
My understanding is that they will use tension ties through the heatshield at the pad locations.  It seems the shape of the 'holes' (and particularly their edges - bevel angle) which take the pads prevent major blow through of heat gases.  The gas boundary layer apparently only flows down into the hole a certain distance but not sufficiently to blow through. 
There's a paper on another thread describing the testing and analyses that was done for Orion which is proposed to use a similar system.  They also compared PICA and AVCOAT.  Seems AVCOAT was superior. Wouldn't you know it, can't find the link now!!  Hope I've got that right!! :)
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: go4mars on 10/08/2010 02:41 am
  They also compared PICA and AVCOAT.  Seems AVCOAT was superior. Wouldn't you know it, can't find the link now!!  Hope I've got that right!! :)

Here's the link:

http://techfragments.com/news/688/Science/NASA_Selects_Avcoat_As_Heat_Shield_Material_for_Orion.html

Although PicaX, is apparently superior to the PICA used on the stardust mission, so it isn't clear which is better between PicaX and Avcoat. 
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: beancounter on 10/08/2010 03:49 am
  They also compared PICA and AVCOAT.  Seems AVCOAT was superior. Wouldn't you know it, can't find the link now!!  Hope I've got that right!! :)

Here's the link:

http://techfragments.com/news/688/Science/NASA_Selects_Avcoat_As_Heat_Shield_Material_for_Orion.html

Although PicaX, is apparently superior to the PICA used on the stardust mission, so it isn't clear which is better between PicaX and Avcoat. 

Ah thanks.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Ben the Space Brit on 10/08/2010 07:17 am
The Delta-IVH launch with the NROL-32 recon-sat keeps on slipping; I note that it seems to have reached 11/5 now.  What is the latest it can happen before SpaceX have to give up their 11/8 launch slot?
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: renclod on 10/08/2010 08:11 pm
I would really love to know how they manage to make the supports for the capsule to penetrate the heat shield without causing a burn-through.
I asked that back here
http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=22769.msg644750#msg644750
Ben the space brit ansswered..
Quote
They aren't holes, they are geometric shapes in the PICA material into which the trunk attachment pads will fit.  the raised sides will stop the Dragon rotating atop the trunk during high-vibration flight modes.
jb

The compression pads are different material than the heatshield.
Ex: heatshield is PICA, or Avcoat. Fragile stuff.
Compression pads are [like] carbon-phenolic. Not sure what exactly that is, but think Shuttle RCC or rocket engine carbon composite nozzle material (RS-68, RSRM). Strong, heat-resistant material.
The compression pads are reacting loads between the CM and service module. The heatshield proper (ablative material) , does not.
The tension ties are forcing the CM and SM together.
Think steel cable, or threaded rods.
At CM-SM separation, the tension ties are severed (cut) on the outside of the heatshield/pads, so there is no hole. After separation, there is a small piece of the tension tie protruding, in the wake.
Each tension tie is going either right through the compression pad (Orion, Dragon), or through the heatshield but in close proximity of the compression pad (Apollo).
In the SpaceX updates (months old) there is a photo of heatshield assembly pathfinder operations - can't miss the compression pad (blue-ish colour in the pic), surrounded by large PICA tiles; or the tension tie position.

Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Comga on 10/08/2010 08:36 pm
If you look at the video of the Dragon - Trunk separation test at http://www.spacex.com/multimedia/videos.php?id=49 it looks like there are six pads, three of which have tension ties near their centers.  ("Orion style")  As renclod says, after separation there is a small bit of the tensioner protruding through the pad that should be more or less flush with the PICA-X heat shield.  Here is a frame from the video where those protrusions are barely visible.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Antares on 10/08/2010 09:26 pm
The Delta-IVH launch with the NROL-32 recon-sat keeps on slipping; I note that it seems to have reached 11/5 now.  What is the latest it can happen before SpaceX have to give up their 11/8 launch slot?

Hard to say.  There aren't hard, fast requirements on this.  Commercial launches are supposed to have precedence once on a long-term launch slot, but the government can always claim national interest or ISS crew at risk to bump them.

The same thing applies on short-term range scheduling, but IME once a range date is confirmed it is REALLY unusual for anyone to get bumped.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: aquarius on 10/13/2010 11:13 pm
NROL-32 launch slipped to November 16, so right now it can't impact the launch of F9/Dragon.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: robertross on 10/13/2010 11:26 pm
NROL-32 launch slipped to November 16, so right now it can't impact the launch of F9/Dragon.

Sucks for them, but great for Space-X (and ISS)  :)Thanks
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: mr. mark on 10/15/2010 12:48 pm
COTS-1 is still on for November 8th about 3 weeks away due to the slippage of Delta IV to November 16th. That means that both Falcon 9 and the Shuttle will be on their pads at the same time. Sound like a great photo op. Also, Spacex still needs to engine test about 1 week before launch. Can they perform that while the shuttle is awaiting launch or will they narrrow their window and perform the test just after the shuttle launch? Does that also mean that the shuttle, Delta IV and Falcon 9 will all be on their pads at once. Wow! has that ever happened before?
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: ugordan on 10/15/2010 02:16 pm
That means that both Falcon 9 and the Shuttle will be on their pads at the same time.

People never learn when it comes to new vehicles/spacecraft, do they?

Both Falcon 9 and the Shuttle may be on their pads at the same time. COTS-1 may slip just as NROL-32 has.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Jim on 10/15/2010 03:32 pm
The F9 is no longer on its erector.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: mr. mark on 10/15/2010 03:53 pm
The F9 is no longer on its erector.

Does that imply something? Of course it's not on it's erectror. It's undergoing testing and vehicle integration as shown in this update picture on Spacex's website.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Ben the Space Brit on 10/15/2010 04:13 pm
Besides, this is the Cape we're talking about.  It isn't the nicest of work environments when it comes to weather, bugs and beasties.  Would you voluntarily leave something outside of its sealed and air-conditioned hanger longer than absolutely necessary?
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: ChefPat on 10/15/2010 04:40 pm
The F9 is no longer on its erector.
Thank you for the update (despite the negative comments about having done so), it is appreciated.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: ugordan on 10/15/2010 04:40 pm
Of course it's not on it's erectror. It's undergoing testing and vehicle integration as shown in this update picture on Spacex's website.

Well, duh, that image was taken before the vehicle was rolled out to the pad and WDR performed.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Jim on 10/15/2010 04:58 pm
The F9 is no longer on its erector.
Thank you for the update (despite the negative comments about having done so), it is appreciated.


The erector is at the pad and vertical.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: StuffOfInterest on 10/15/2010 05:02 pm
Is the erector normally stored vertical?  I saw a photo recently of it horizontal and parked outside of the integration hangar which leads me to think it is not normally kept hooked up at the pad.  Leaves one to wonder if something new has been added and is now being tested.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: ugordan on 10/15/2010 05:03 pm
I guess it's only logical the stack had to be demated from the T/E in order to also demate Dragon. Curious why they tend to prefer keeping the T/E vertical at the pad, though.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: ChefPat on 10/15/2010 06:23 pm
I guess it's only logical the stack had to be demated from the T/E in order to also demate Dragon. Curious why they tend to prefer keeping the T/E vertical at the pad, though.
Once F9 is picked up by the cradle, wouldn't the erector be in the way?
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: butters on 10/15/2010 09:45 pm
I guess it's only logical the stack had to be demated from the T/E in order to also demate Dragon. Curious why they tend to prefer keeping the T/E vertical at the pad, though.


Why would they demate Dragon before the static fire test?  I assume they're doing some prep work for the static fire (ignition fluid loading?), after which they will roll back to demate Dragon for hypergolic loading and remate for launch.

I predict static fire will be sometime around Oct 25-28, safely before Shuttle takes the range and leaving plenty of time for Dragon hyper loading and final preps.  Could even be late next week at the earliest.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: spacetraveler on 10/17/2010 06:23 am
I predict static fire will be sometime around Oct 25-28, safely before Shuttle takes the range and leaving plenty of time for Dragon hyper loading and final preps.  Could even be late next week at the earliest.

Why would range availability affect a static fire test? They aren't launching anything.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: alexw on 10/17/2010 06:30 am
I predict static fire will be sometime around Oct 25-28, safely before Shuttle takes the range and leaving plenty of time for Dragon hyper loading and final preps.  Could even be late next week at the earliest.
Why would range availability affect a static fire test? They aren't launching anything.

   In case of thermal curtain failure?      {Running and ducking...!}
    -Alex
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Ben the Space Brit on 10/17/2010 08:14 am
I predict static fire will be sometime around Oct 25-28, safely before Shuttle takes the range and leaving plenty of time for Dragon hyper loading and final preps.  Could even be late next week at the earliest.

Why would range availability affect a static fire test? They aren't launching anything.

A static fire requires that the range be fully ready for a flight.  I don't know why, it just does.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Jim on 10/17/2010 11:10 am
I predict static fire will be sometime around Oct 25-28, safely before Shuttle takes the range and leaving plenty of time for Dragon hyper loading and final preps.  Could even be late next week at the earliest.

Why would range availability affect a static fire test? They aren't launching anything.

There are road blocks, RSS tests, comm, telemetry downlink etc provided by the range.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: CitabriaFlyer on 10/17/2010 12:22 pm
Question for Jim or whoever:  Why is the range so limited?  Why can't it support multiple launches a day from different boosters?  What could be done to make it function more like an airport with multiple launches per day using a variety of vehicles?
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Jim on 10/17/2010 12:46 pm
Question for Jim or whoever:  Why is the range so limited?  Why can't it support multiple launches a day from different boosters?  What could be done to make it function more like an airport with multiple launches per day using a variety of vehicles?

$



Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: mmeijeri on 10/17/2010 12:49 pm
HA! A new record for brevity!
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Jim on 10/17/2010 12:53 pm
The range is only staffed for 5/40 per week, with overtime and some pre/post shifting to over off hours and weekends.

Same goes for other resources, which were designed to support only one launch at a time, like comm lines, telemetry receivers and range control centers.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: mr. mark on 10/17/2010 04:08 pm
It's quite clear that NASA has to reshape their thinking for the 21st century and embrace a more commercial way of doing things. Can you imagine a store that could only run for 8 hours 5 days a week. Look at Spaceport America, they are planning multiple launches daily. I'm not stating Cape operations are as simple as theirs. What i am stating is that new ways need to be looked at to perform multiple launches on a given day.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Jorge on 10/17/2010 04:28 pm
It's quite clear that NASA has to reshape their thinking for the 21st century and embrace a more commercial way of doing things. Can you imagine a store that could only run for 8 hours 5 days a week. Look at Spaceport America, they are planning multiple launches daily. I'm not stating Cape operations are as simple as theirs. What i am stating is that new ways need to be looked at to perform multiple launches on a given day.

NASA has nothing to do with the launch rate at Cape Canaveral. That is controlled by USAF 45th SW.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Jim_LAX on 10/17/2010 04:42 pm
Mr. Mark has a valid and important point:  Passenger service on commercial airlines would be unthinkable with the launh rate currently supported by the cape.  Standardization of ground equipent and operating procedures and full staffing is needed to support takeoffs (and landings?) like any commercial airport.  As we approach this goal costs to launch and recover will drop steadily.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Lars_J on 10/17/2010 04:51 pm
Expendable rocket launch operations are not comparable to airliner operations, and I don't think they'll ever will be.

Once we (hopefully) have true RLVs, *then * we can start questioning when the spaceport will be running like an airport.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Jorge on 10/17/2010 04:59 pm
Mr. Mark has a valid and important point:  Passenger service on commercial airlines would be unthinkable with the launh rate currently supported by the cape.

My point is also valid and important: no matter how much people rag on NASA and no matter how much NASA itself is reformed, it will not affect the launch rate at the Cape one bit, because the USAF controls the Cape, not NASA.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Robotbeat on 10/17/2010 06:57 pm
If the launch rate were increased, the increased number of range fees collected would probably allow the range resources to be expanded to handle the greater flight rate. Back in the Cold War, the Cape saw a much higher flight rate than today.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Antares on 10/17/2010 07:23 pm
Jeez, folks, this is simple tax/spending policy.  Do you want to pay people to sit around and do nothing during the 90% of the year when there aren't multiple flights trying to use the same range?

Now, if there were a way to have them doing something needed when there's not a range glut, that is something that should be pursued.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: DigitalMan on 10/18/2010 04:01 am
My point is also valid and important: no matter how much people rag on NASA and no matter how much NASA itself is reformed, it will not affect the launch rate at the Cape one bit, because the USAF controls the Cape, not NASA.

The FY2011 request included the following, did any of this make it into the authorization?  I don't recall seeing it.  All this probably needs its own thread.

Quote
21st Century Launch Complex: The President’s FY 2011 Budget seeks to modernize the
Kennedy Space Center and Cape Canaveral Air Force Station (CCAFS), transforming them to
provide the capabilities this Nation’s 21st century space programs will need. The effort is
intended to augment NASA’s current and future operations to achieve safe, increased operational
efficiency and reduced launch costs for all customers (industry, NASA, national security, etc).

The goal of the enhanced complex is to facilitate multiple launches of different vehicle types
from different companies carrying both humans and cargo to space in a cost-effective and timely
manner. Other important projects include enhancements to the range, payload processing
capabilities and environmental clean up activities.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: spacetraveler on 10/18/2010 04:35 am
The FY2011 request included the following, did any of this make it into the authorization?  I don't recall seeing it.

The bill includes $1.3 billion over the 3 years for the "NASA launch support and infrastructure modernization program."

http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/F?c111:1:./temp/~c111OjzdoI:e15069:

Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Lars_J on 10/18/2010 05:12 am
Almost all of that will probably go towards improving and/or modernizing existing assets, rather than increasing capacity to handle more launches. There does not seem to be any need for increased capacity currently.

I guess it is up to SpaceX to prove that more capacity is needed.  ;)
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Jim on 10/18/2010 11:31 am
Mr. Mark has a valid and important point:  Passenger service on commercial airlines would be unthinkable with the launh rate currently supported by the cape.  Standardization of ground equipent and operating procedures and full staffing is needed to support takeoffs (and landings?) like any commercial airport.  As we approach this goal costs to launch and recover will drop steadily.

It is fully staffed..... to support 8/40.  The flight rates don't justify anymore.

The range has standard operating procedure and equipment.  It is the launch vehicles that aren't.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: spacetraveler on 10/25/2010 06:22 am
This flight has slipped to NET Nov 18th. Hope it can still go in Nov.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: aquarius on 10/26/2010 04:08 pm
If launch remains scheduled for Nov.18, engineers plan to roll the Falcon 9 rocket to the launch pad for a preflight engine firing Nov.13.

http://www.spaceflightnow.com/falcon9/002/101026launchdate/
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: KSC Sage on 10/28/2010 02:04 pm
If launch remains scheduled for Nov.18, engineers plan to roll the Falcon 9 rocket to the launch pad for a preflight engine firing Nov.13.

http://www.spaceflightnow.com/falcon9/002/101026launchdate/

Launch window is from 0855 to 1205 EST.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: corrodedNut on 10/28/2010 07:37 pm
SpaceX: With every launch new (regulatory) discoveries are made!

http://www.aviationweek.com/aw/generic/story.jsp?id=news/asd/2010/10/28/06.xml&headline=SpaceX%20Dragon%20Cleared%20For%20Launch&channel=space
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Robotbeat on 10/28/2010 07:43 pm
I assume the Dragon capsule is designed to survive a ballistic (and passive) reentry, right?

So, if control is lost on the Dragon capsule, its orbit would decay and it'd survive reentry (although not landing!) if all power is somehow lost after it reached orbit and had shed its service module?
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: beancounter on 10/29/2010 08:16 am
I assume the Dragon capsule is designed to survive a ballistic (and passive) reentry, right?

So, if control is lost on the Dragon capsule, its orbit would decay and it'd survive reentry (although not landing!) if all power is somehow lost after it reached orbit and had shed its service module?

Well parts of it would survive landing - lol.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: e of pi on 10/29/2010 10:32 am
I assume the Dragon capsule is designed to survive a ballistic (and passive) reentry, right?

So, if control is lost on the Dragon capsule, its orbit would decay and it'd survive reentry (although not landing!) if all power is somehow lost after it reached orbit and had shed its service module?

I may be wrong, but orientation is a big issue there. If oriented properly before power loss? I think it could survive entry, you'd just essentially be replacing the impulse of a retro burn with the cumulative drag effects. However, I'm not so sure it could survive intact it not oriented properly.

Parachutes might also be an issue. The capsule might survive entry only to plow into the ocean going far faster than designed.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Comga on 10/29/2010 03:15 pm
I assume the Dragon capsule is designed to survive a ballistic (and passive) reentry, right?

So, if control is lost on the Dragon capsule, its orbit would decay and it'd survive reentry (although not landing!) if all power is somehow lost after it reached orbit and had shed its service module?

I may be wrong, but orientation is a big issue there. If oriented properly before power loss? I think it could survive entry, you'd just essentially be replacing the impulse of a retro burn with the cumulative drag effects. However, I'm not so sure it could survive intact it not oriented properly.

Parachutes might also be an issue. The capsule might survive entry only to plow into the ocean going far faster than designed.

Remember the Soyuz missions where the Service Module failed to detach as planned?  As soon as the reentry forces tore it away the capsules righted themselves.  Given sufficient stability, (including sheding the Trunk) a stable capsule will enter heatshield first.  And when it does that, one would suppose that its subsonic velocity at a few miles altitude would be close to nominal regardless of how it reentered.  Of course, if it lost power, it might not deploy the parachutes.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: docmordrid on 10/29/2010 03:49 pm
Using a terminal velocity calculator, SpaceX numbers for Dragon and a few guesses I got a terminal velocity for it  of 323.386 kph/200.943 mph.  Even if off by 25% that's NOT a soft landing.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: savuporo on 10/29/2010 06:06 pm
300kph is borderline doable for jumping out of an airplane. Not nice, but tolerable.

Can Dragon's hatch be blown for emergency skydiving ops ?
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Robotbeat on 10/29/2010 06:22 pm
Using a terminal velocity calculator, SpaceX numbers for Dragon and a few guesses I got a terminal velocity for it  of 323.386 kph/200.943 mph.  Even if off by 25% that's NOT a soft landing.
200mph sounds about right. I wonder if a single astronaut could bail out at that speed, within half a minute? It should be technically possible (though not at all safe), and smallish reserve parachutes are rather lightweight (a couple 8 kg).

EDIT:Thanks, savuporo. :)
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: savuporo on 10/29/2010 06:25 pm
200mph sounds about right. I wonder if a single astronaut could bail out at that speed, within half a minute? It should be technically possible (though not at all safe), and smallish reserve parachutes are rather lightweight (a couple kg).
I just went and weighed mine : it 8 kilograms rig, 150sqft main canopy.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: docmordrid on 10/29/2010 06:48 pm
Have to free-fall a bit to slow to a normal human TV though since most 'chutes I've seen spec at ~140kts = 160mph/260kph.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Robotbeat on 10/29/2010 06:50 pm
Have to free-fall a bit to slow to a normal human TV though since most 'chutes I've seen spec at ~140kts = 160mph/260kph.
I'm sure you'd have no problem getting a parachute opening spec at something like 350kph if you had to.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Hauerg on 10/29/2010 07:21 pm
Have to free-fall a bit to slow to a normal human TV though since most 'chutes I've seen spec at ~140kts = 160mph/260kph.
I'm sure you'd have no problem getting a parachute opening spec at something like 350kph if you had to.
The problem will be to get as much as 7 astronauts out of the hatch in time.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: docmordrid on 10/29/2010 07:22 pm
Why blow that tiny side hatch? Couldn't they blow the much larger CBM & exit the top? Or both?
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Robotbeat on 10/29/2010 07:27 pm
Have to free-fall a bit to slow to a normal human TV though since most 'chutes I've seen spec at ~140kts = 160mph/260kph.
I'm sure you'd have no problem getting a parachute opening spec at something like 350kph if you had to.
The problem will be to get as much as 7 astronauts out of the hatch in time.
Quite true. Unless you split the capsule in half, I don't see how 7 could exit in time (after the main chutes failed but before hitting the water). For one or two or maybe even three, it might be possible.

A Vostok repeat could be done. Better to just ensure the main chutes work.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: docmordrid on 10/29/2010 07:30 pm
Repeat: blow the CBM
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: SpacexULA on 10/29/2010 07:37 pm
Repeat: blow the CBM

before that, why not just have a backup set of chutes inside the vehcile itself, if the mains don't deploy, blow the hatch and deploy chute from inside the vehicle. 

I thought all systems on a "man rated" spacecraft had to be triple failure tollerant, so, are there already backup chute systems designed into Orion/Soyuz today?
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: savuporo on 10/29/2010 07:39 pm
Have to free-fall a bit to slow to a normal human TV though since most 'chutes I've seen spec at ~140kts = 160mph/260kph.
Erm. I have done headdown dives at near 300kph, and have no problems braking down from there to a normal box position and deploying at regular 170kph.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Lars_J on 10/29/2010 07:40 pm
Repeat: blow the CBM

Manned Dragon won't have a CBM. The docking hatch will have a much smaller diameter.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: savuporo on 10/29/2010 07:46 pm
Have to free-fall a bit to slow to a normal human TV though since most 'chutes I've seen spec at ~140kts = 160mph/260kph.
I'm sure you'd have no problem getting a parachute opening spec at something like 350kph if you had to.
The problem will be to get as much as 7 astronauts out of the hatch in time.
7 skydivers can exit a plane in 2-3 seconds. Even with this being more difficult in freefall, if you start jumping at 15000feet ( regularly considered safe jumping altitude ) that gives you quite a bit of time to get out.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Chandonn on 10/29/2010 08:19 pm
Manned Dragon won't have a CBM. The docking hatch will have a much smaller diameter.

Acually, I'm not sure if they will have a CBM or not.  There may be a simple CBM-to-LIDS adapter on manned Dragon -- just to keep the designs as similar as possible.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Robotbeat on 10/29/2010 08:28 pm
Manned Dragon won't have a CBM. The docking hatch will have a much smaller diameter.

Acually, I'm not sure if they will have a CBM or not.  There may be a simple CBM-to-LIDS adapter on manned Dragon -- just to keep the designs as similar as possible.
And with a "lifeboat Orion," there isn't a requirement to be able to undock/unberth without station power.

This is starting get off-topic, and it's my fault.

What do people give odds for successful reentry and recovery of COTS Demo 1 Dragon, assuming it gets to orbit?
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Lars_J on 10/29/2010 08:28 pm
Possibly... Although I think we are moving off topic for this "COTS Demo 1" thread. This discussion should probably move to the general SpaceX discussion thread.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Lars_J on 10/29/2010 08:30 pm
What do people give odds for successful reentry and recovery of COTS Demo 1 Dragon, assuming it gets to orbit?

90% would be my odds... But what do I know!  ;D Parachute deployment seems like the biggest risk element to this uninformed observer.  ;)
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: hop on 10/29/2010 08:46 pm
I thought all systems on a "man rated" spacecraft had to be triple failure tollerant, so, are there already backup chute systems designed into Orion/Soyuz today?
Soyuz has a backup chute. IIRC it's a bit smaller than the main, so the landing won't be gentle. And as always with reserve chutes, you better hope the main is out of the way.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: savuporo on 10/29/2010 10:16 pm
And as always with reserve chutes, you better hope the main is out of the way.
Which, IMO, again makes the case for personal parachutes, rather than a backup capsule chute.
Well known technology, proven every day by thousands of people all over the world, and quite safe. Especially because every rig ( save for base-jumping ones ) comes with a reserve.

Increases the chances of individual survival for the entire crew, IMHO.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: SpacexULA on 10/29/2010 10:57 pm
Which, IMO, again makes the case for personal parachutes, rather than a backup capsule chute.
Well known technology, proven every day by thousands of people all over the world, and quite safe. Especially because every rig ( save for base-jumping ones ) comes with a reserve.

Increases the chances of individual survival for the entire crew, IMHO.

Up to 6 people, out of a hole no more than 2x2 feet wide, while wearing pressure suits, out of a possibility wildly gyrating, supersonic capsule, into a pressure bubble which would be located at the top of the capsule....

From the time the chutes attempt to deploy to impact with the water would be what?  2-3 minutes?  Given some time for attempts at redeployment and the speed the capsule would be falling, and how long it will take for them to unfasten themselves and get out the hole, I just don't know how any of them would survive the attempt.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: jimvela on 10/29/2010 11:03 pm
And as always with reserve chutes, you better hope the main is out of the way.
Which, IMO, again makes the case for personal parachutes, rather than a backup capsule chute.
Well known technology, proven every day by thousands of people all over the world, and quite safe. Especially because every rig ( save for base-jumping ones ) comes with a reserve.

Increases the chances of individual survival for the entire crew, IMHO.

How many of those thousands of jumpers per day have spent six months in zero gravity before attempting the jump?

If it were my butt in the capsule, I'd want a reserve on the capsule along with a robust, redundant way to cut the primary and deploy the secondary.  I wouldn't want to try and bail out after extended zero G exposure.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Lars_J on 10/29/2010 11:20 pm
Exactly... Trying to add personal parachutes and hope that people can get out is just a non-starter.

There's a reason why no capsule since Vostok has implemented such a scheme. (or were Gemini crew capable of ejecting if the parachute failed?)
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: simonbp on 10/29/2010 11:30 pm
And the first three shuttle missions...
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: savuporo on 10/29/2010 11:39 pm
Previous zero-g exposure is a valid point. I probably wouldn't be keen on jumping after floating around that long either, otherwise it would be a nice thrill.

But then, we are talking about last resort, all else failed attempt with the only alternative of hitting water at 300kph.
Note : reserve parachute of a capsule does not get tested every day, while i standard gear from Performance Designs and the like does, and ( almost ) never fails.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Lars_J on 10/29/2010 11:42 pm
And the first three shuttle missions...

Yes, but the question was about capsules. The Shuttle has no main parachute that can fail. :)
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: corrodedNut on 10/29/2010 11:43 pm
The Vostok ejection seat wasn't just for emergencies, it was used on nominal decents.

SpaceX uses three mains for the same reason Apollo and Orion did/will; only two are needed the third is the redundant/backup.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: mduncan36 on 10/29/2010 11:47 pm
7 skydivers can exit a plane in 2-3 seconds. Even with this being more difficult in freefall, if you start jumping at 15000feet ( regularly considered safe jumping altitude ) that gives you quite a bit of time to get out.

Yes, but those skydivers are standing in an open doorway. They don't have to climb over each other and squeeze out of a pressure hatch after six months of zero gravity. In the Dragon you would have a difficult time just getting two people to the door at the same time. Much better to put your backup chute on the capsule. Dragon has three and only needs two for a safe landing. A single open chute would probably make for a survivable if not entirely healthy landing on water. Apollo 15 landed with only two good parachutes and the impact wasn't even severe enough to dislodge the Hassleblad camera that Jim Irwin was gripping between his knees at the time. That is a risk I would much rather take than any attempt at a bailout from a spinning, rapidly descending, crowded, capsule.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: go4mars on 10/30/2010 05:10 am
7 skydivers can exit a plane in 2-3 seconds. Even with this being more difficult in freefall, if you start jumping at 15000feet ( regularly considered safe jumping altitude ) that gives you quite a bit of time to get out.
Yes, but those skydivers are standing in an open doorway. They don't have to climb over each other and squeeze out of a pressure hatch after six months of zero gravity. In the Dragon you would have a difficult time just getting two people to the door at the same time. Much better to put your backup chute on the capsule. Dragon has three and only needs two for a safe landing. A single open chute would probably make for a survivable if not entirely healthy landing on water. Apollo 15 landed with only two good parachutes and the impact wasn't even severe enough to dislodge the Hassleblad camera that Jim Irwin was gripping between his knees at the time. That is a risk I would much rather take than any attempt at a bailout from a spinning, rapidly descending, crowded, capsule.

But as back up number 3, If the main chute fails, and the reserve chute gets tangled in the main chutes or something, it would sure feel good to have a 24V sawsall and a backpack parachute.   Personal parachute is an interesting idea, and bears consideration since they are relatively small and light.  Like landing habs on Mars.  Save the powered decent for just the people, and land the habs, etc. at higher gforce, built tougher.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: someguy on 10/30/2010 10:44 am
I don't really get this whole discussion. Sometimes there are just unrecoverable situations. At a certain point you have as much redundancy as can be reasonably added, beyond which you don't really get more safety. I think personal parachutes are beyond this point, especially due to the difficulty of ever being able to reasonably use them.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: butters on 10/30/2010 12:17 pm
I suppose it wouldn't be too difficult to implement a parachute deploy system that runs on its own dedicated battery and altitude/velocity instruments.  Skydivers use a similar system. 

If everything else fails during entry, then all that has to work for a survivable landing is the parachute system, so why not make it completely independent of the main avionics systems?

For all we know, this could be what SpaceX is doing.  Did the drop test Dragon capsule contain flight-spec rechargeable batteries and flight computers, or was it just a mass simulator with a simple independent parachute system like I describe?
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Chandonn on 10/30/2010 01:38 pm
Guys, we need to get this thread back on topic and take the discussion to teh SpaceX Discussion thread...

http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=22769.msg653494
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Toner Soprano on 10/30/2010 11:00 pm
Guys, we need to get this thread back on topic and take the discussion to teh SpaceX Discussion thread...

http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=22769.msg653494

Another SpaceX music video posted:  http://spacex.com/multimedia/videos.php?id=54

It looks like the Dragon drop test put to music. 
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Robotbeat on 10/30/2010 11:42 pm
Guys, we need to get this thread back on topic and take the discussion to teh SpaceX Discussion thread...

http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=22769.msg653494

Another SpaceX music video posted:  http://spacex.com/multimedia/videos.php?id=54

It looks like the Dragon drop test put to music. 
It looks a lot like the chutes are stored in the ring outside the pressure vessel but just above the heat shield.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: ugordan on 10/31/2010 12:16 am
It looks a lot like the chutes are stored in the ring outside the pressure vessel but just above the heat shield.

Hasn't that fact been established a long time ago?
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Robotbeat on 10/31/2010 12:19 am
It looks a lot like the chutes are stored in the ring outside the pressure vessel but just above the heat shield.

Hasn't that fact been established a long time ago?
Probably, but I didn't realize it. ;)
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Lars_J on 10/31/2010 12:50 am
Guys, we need to get this thread back on topic and take the discussion to teh SpaceX Discussion thread...

http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=22769.msg653494

Another SpaceX music video posted:  http://spacex.com/multimedia/videos.php?id=54

It looks like the Dragon drop test put to music. 

Nice!!! There's also several new shots/angles in addition to the old footage.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Comga on 10/31/2010 04:29 am
It looks a lot like the chutes are stored in the ring outside the pressure vessel but just above the heat shield.

Hasn't that fact been established a long time ago?

A long time ago, Robotbeat. ;)
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Salo on 11/02/2010 01:39 pm
http://www.spaceflightnow.com/tracking/index.htmlNov. 18    Falcon 9  •  Dragon C1
Launch window: 1355-1705 GMT (8:55 a.m.-12:05 p.m. EST) (http://Nov. 18 Falcon 9  •  Dragon C1
Launch window: 1355-1705 GMT (8:55 a.m.-12:05 p.m. EST))
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: ugordan on 11/02/2010 01:50 pm
Any particular reason why the launch window opens 5 minutes before the hour and closes 5 minutes after the hour and not just a straight-up 3 hour window?
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Patchouli on 11/04/2010 01:49 am
7 skydivers can exit a plane in 2-3 seconds. Even with this being more difficult in freefall, if you start jumping at 15000feet ( regularly considered safe jumping altitude ) that gives you quite a bit of time to get out.

Yes, but those skydivers are standing in an open doorway. They don't have to climb over each other and squeeze out of a pressure hatch after six months of zero gravity. In the Dragon you would have a difficult time just getting two people to the door at the same time. Much better to put your backup chute on the capsule. Dragon has three and only needs two for a safe landing. A single open chute would probably make for a survivable if not entirely healthy landing on water. Apollo 15 landed with only two good parachutes and the impact wasn't even severe enough to dislodge the Hassleblad camera that Jim Irwin was gripping between his knees at the time. That is a risk I would much rather take than any attempt at a bailout from a spinning, rapidly descending, crowded, capsule.

Plus a mostly sealed capsule that is designed to be seaworthy is going to be a lot safer then being in a small raft.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: aquarius on 11/04/2010 08:53 pm
The launch moved to November 19 due to range conflict with Delta 4-Heavy.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: mrmandias on 11/04/2010 11:27 pm
The slippage rate is decreasing.  SpaceX scheduling would make a good intro to basic calculus concepts.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: ChefPat on 11/04/2010 11:58 pm
The launch moved to November 19 due to range conflict with Delta 4-Heavy.
Go baby go!!! My prediction was for the 19th. :)
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: savuporo on 11/05/2010 12:02 am
At times, it seems like SpaceX is following this formula with their scheduling:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zeno%27s_paradoxes#Achilles_and_the_tortoise
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: beancounter on 11/05/2010 12:08 am
I don't care if it takes longer to get to launch so long as the mission is successful. 

If the first F9 launch was any indication, they'll be triple checking everything and then again.   I bet they're still a bit nervous about that first flight; whether they got lucky or whether they really do have all they're ducks in a row!
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: beancounter on 11/05/2010 12:14 am
At times, it seems like SpaceX is following this formula with their scheduling:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zeno%27s_paradoxes#Achilles_and_the_tortoise

Ha, very gooood!! Point to you!
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Comga on 11/06/2010 02:04 am
Space News is now (Nov  5) saying NET November 20.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Chandonn on 11/06/2010 09:10 am
Space News is now (Nov  5) saying NET November 20.

Range conflight:
http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=22769.msg656842#msg656842
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: VR2 on 11/08/2010 02:34 pm
Space News is now (Nov  5) saying NET November 20.

Range conflight:
http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=22769.msg656842#msg656842
December 7 (NET)
http://fdfhome.gsfc.nasa.gov/fdinfo_Launch_2010.html
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: R.Simko on 11/08/2010 04:55 pm
Space News is now (Nov  5) saying NET November 20.

Range conflight:
http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=22769.msg656842#msg656842
December 7 (NET)
http://fdfhome.gsfc.nasa.gov/fdinfo_Launch_2010.html

Well that will be an easy date to remember.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: iamlucky13 on 11/08/2010 05:13 pm
At times, it seems like SpaceX is following this formula with their scheduling:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zeno%27s_paradoxes#Achilles_and_the_tortoise

Ha, very gooood!! Point to you!

We probably should only give him half a point, then the next time the schedule slips, he can have half the remaining difference to a full point, and then the next time the schedule slips, etc. When SpaceX launches he'll have accrued a full point.

The slips are being reported as range conflicts now. Hopefully that's an indicator everything else is on track, but also hopefully they'll make good use of the extra time to triple check everything and continue to rehearse.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: mrmandias on 11/08/2010 05:45 pm
hopefully they'll make good use of the extra time to triple check everything and continue to rehearse.

Since Congress in its wisdom seems to think that commercial space is just SpaceX, we need SpaceX to provide some good optics.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: chrisking0997 on 11/08/2010 08:12 pm
Im confused by all these range conflict slips.  Is F9 just low man on the totem pole and keeps getting deferred due to other vehicles, or is there something else at play with the schedule (thanksgiving, for example)?
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Jim on 11/08/2010 10:08 pm
Im confused by all these range conflict slips.  Is F9 just low man on the totem pole and keeps getting deferred due to other vehicles, or is there something else at play with the schedule (thanksgiving, for example)?

It is first come, first serve wrt the range.  Space keeps wanting dates that other projects have already reserved, so I surmise.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: beancounter on 11/09/2010 12:38 am
Im confused by all these range conflict slips.  Is F9 just low man on the totem pole and keeps getting deferred due to other vehicles, or is there something else at play with the schedule (thanksgiving, for example)?

It is first come, first serve wrt the range.  Space keeps wanting dates that other projects have already reserved, so I surmise.

Aren't they still waiting for FAA go?
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Antares on 11/09/2010 01:57 am
Part of it is the offset from Shuttle since SpaceX is also using the SRB boats in hopes to track and recover the first stage.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: mr. mark on 11/09/2010 02:18 am
Question concerning parachute system. I was watching the hd drop test video and the parachutes are released out of a large hatch. This opening seems to be very large. Is this how the parachutes will be released on the upcoming cargo flights? Will such a large hole take on water at splashdown creating problems for downmass capability?
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Comga on 11/09/2010 04:55 am
The launch moved to November 19 due to range conflict with Delta 4-Heavy.
Go baby go!!! My prediction was for the 19th. :)
No baby no!
Now December 7 according to  SpaceflightNow (http://www.spaceflightnow.com/tracking/index.html).
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Lars_J on 11/09/2010 04:55 am
Question concerning parachute system. I was watching the hd drop test video and the parachutes are released out of a large hatch. This opening seems to be very large. Is this how the parachutes will be released on the upcoming cargo flights? Will such a large hole take on water at splashdown creating problems for downmass capability?

No, the large hole that opens up is outside of the pressurized volume of the capsule. It is situated at the base of the capsule between the Draco thruster banks, in the unpressurized "service section/ring" just above the edge of the heat shield.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: ChefPat on 11/09/2010 11:39 am
The launch moved to November 19 due to range conflict with Delta 4-Heavy.
Go baby go!!! My prediction was for the 19th. :)
No baby no!
Now December 7 according to  SpaceflightNow (http://www.spaceflightnow.com/tracking/index.html).
:(
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Kaloyan on 11/09/2010 12:02 pm
And here's a news article about the delay from SpaceNews.com (http://www.spacenews.com/venture_space/101108-spacex-cots-demo-delayed.html)
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: mr. mark on 11/09/2010 03:34 pm
This is not good news about the FAA. How do we know that they will even be ready for approval by December 7th? They have had these documants for over a year and the application is still not processed. Does anyone here know a basic timeline for FAA approval. This could go on into next year.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: ugordan on 11/09/2010 03:38 pm
They have had these documants for over a year and the application is still not processed.

If the article said the FAA wanted to have information that was only recently acquired by SpaceX via ground tests of the Dragon flight unit, then it's not "for over a year", is it?

Also, how can you talk about "basic time for approval" when this is the first commercial reentry licence ever to be issued?

Also #2, I have faith SpaceX will be able to delay the flight further all by themselves. They won't need the FAA for that. I'm only partly sarcastic.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: iamlucky13 on 11/09/2010 06:39 pm
They have had these documants for over a year and the application is still not processed.

They've had parts of it for over a year. They've had the final application for less than two weeks:

Quote
after more than a year spent tying up loose ends associated with the recoverable space capsule’s re-entry license application, which the company submitted in final form to federal regulators Oct. 29
...
Price said the FAA is still reviewing a number of key pieces of information about the re-entry that it requested in June 2009 but did not receive until Oct. 29, 2010.

http://www.spacenews.com/venture_space/111005-spacex-awaiting-faa-approval-license.html
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: beancounter on 11/10/2010 01:05 am
My impression is that the FAA, the range, and NASA have been pretty good so far as SpaceX goes.  A point SpaceX has made on at least one occasion.  I don't think there's any delay agendas in the offing and from the looks of it, I'd say that they're all trying to get SpaceX up and running as fast as possible while ensuring safety and following the normal requirements for any launch.

It seems delays are just part and parcel of the space launch business and that so-called nu-space companies are as prone to this as the older established ones.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: AlexCam on 11/10/2010 07:58 pm

It seems delays are just part and parcel of the space launch business and that so-called nu-space companies are as prone to this as the older established ones.

Not so much the space launch business is burdened by delays but the introduction of new products in the aerospace industry in general.

Soyuz and Ariane 5 launches are very often right on schedule.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: mduncan36 on 11/10/2010 08:18 pm

It seems delays are just part and parcel of the space launch business and that so-called nu-space companies are as prone to this as the older established ones.

Not so much the space launch business is burdened by delays but the introduction of new products in the aerospace industry in general.

Soyuz and Ariane 5 launches are very often right on schedule.


Well in fairness, both of them have had quite a bit of time and numerous attempts with which to become proficient. I recall the initial experience with both vehicles ending less than happily.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: baldusi on 11/11/2010 03:40 pm
Not so much the space launch business is burdened by delays but the introduction of new products in the aerospace industry in general.

Soyuz and Ariane 5 launches are very often right on schedule.
Ariane 5 haven't been able to make their objective of six launches this year. In fact, they are fighting to even make five. Apparently they had some quality issues with a tank's supplier and had a three month delay. And let's not mention the Soyuz from Kourou delay. They are  years delayed. The worst part is that they already have two rockets full qualified and two more on the way, but the launch platform isn't ready.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: AlexCam on 11/13/2010 12:17 pm
Not so much the space launch business is burdened by delays but the introduction of new products in the aerospace industry in general.

Soyuz and Ariane 5 launches are very often right on schedule.
Ariane 5 haven't been able to make their objective of six launches this year. In fact, they are fighting to even make five. Apparently they had some quality issues with a tank's supplier and had a three month delay. And let's not mention the Soyuz from Kourou delay. They are  years delayed. The worst part is that they already have two rockets full qualified and two more on the way, but the launch platform isn't ready.

Arianespace is the prime example of what I tried to say. "Soyuz from Kourou" is a new product, which has faced and is still facing countless delays and technical difficulties. This is common in the aerospace industry, be it the A380, the Boeing Dreamliner, the Falcon 1 and 9 introduction, the Space Shuttle program in the late 1970s and early 1980s, the ISS etc.

However, once the system and product is mature, delays only occur before firm launch dates are set (e.g. with Arianespace launching potentially only 5 times this year instead of 6, although 6 is still possible). You hardly ever see slips of 6-9 months between launches for Ariane 5.

Having said that, once the Falcon 9 "product" and launch process matures, SpaceX time will more closely align to real time. This should be the case in about 18-24 months, if not, then SpaceX is facing problems.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: iamlucky13 on 11/16/2010 02:48 am
My impression is that the FAA, the range, and NASA have been pretty good so far as SpaceX goes.

At the same time, SpaceX did in the past express some frustrations with bureaucracy. The instance that comes to mind is complaining about range availability at Vandenberg back when they were planning to launch the first Falcon 1 from there. Although others have dismissed it as a show to cover for their many and huge delays, I'm not convinced they didn't actually think they were on track to make a (likely to fail) launch attempt.

I suspect, however, that whatever their frustration then was, they've come to accept a large part of it as necessary, if distasteful and not always perfectly run.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: zaitcev on 11/16/2010 04:17 pm
The instance that comes to mind is complaining about range availability at Vandenberg back when they were planning to launch the first Falcon 1 from there.
I heard that relationship in general started off a wrong foot, including a case when the base commander threw Elon out of his office once, for being too arrogant. Perhaps now being hobbled by the real work at the Cape, SpaceX representatives are welcome at Vanderberg once again. It is all only rumors though. We need a tell-it-all book by a retiree.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: stockman on 11/16/2010 05:12 pm
Is it possible to get this thread back on ACTUAL COTS1 updates please? the discussions here are all valid but are probably better suited to the spacex discussion thread...
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: telomerase99 on 11/16/2010 06:42 pm
With the fourth crack now found in the Shuttle are we looking at Cots 1 potentially later than Dec 7? Does this Cots flight have to follow the Shuttle flight?

If the Shuttle flight is bumped for 30 days would this flight have to wait to follow it?
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Jim on 11/16/2010 06:44 pm
They are unrelated
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Mike_1179 on 11/16/2010 07:16 pm
How much time is required for the range to reconfigure from STS-133 to COTS1?
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Nate_Trost on 11/16/2010 07:19 pm
I thought the long-pole in the turnaround was going to be the SRB boats for attempting first-stage recovery.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Antares on 11/16/2010 11:25 pm
It is. 7 days after Shuttle launch to tow them back in, unload, and go back out.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: beancounter on 11/17/2010 12:15 am
It is. 7 days after Shuttle launch to tow them back in, unload, and go back out.

Surely there're other boats available!?
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Jim on 11/17/2010 12:34 am

Surely there're other boats available!?

How many boats in the world do you think that are setup to retrieve boosters?
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Namechange User on 11/17/2010 12:37 am

Surely there're other boats available!?

How many boats in the world do you think that are setup to retrieve boosters?

37.  ;)
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Nomadd on 11/17/2010 01:16 am
 Would SpaceX delay the flight just because they wouldn't be able to recover the 1st stage?
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: arkaska on 11/17/2010 01:43 am
Most likely since recovering the 1st (and later even the 2nd) stage is a big part in making the launches cheap.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: butters on 11/17/2010 11:55 am
Most likely since recovering the 1st (and later even the 2nd) stage is a big part in making the launches cheap.

More likely since recovering the first stage is a big part of their plans to refine the design and margins of the vehicle over time.  They'd like to enable reuse most likely starting with the thrust structure, but at this point in time the engineering analysis is the most important reason for recovery.  They need that data to see if they can tease some more mass and cost out of that stage.  It's probably a bit of a "battleship" construction right now to hedge the risk of an embarrassing failure.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Dave G on 11/17/2010 01:05 pm
... at this point in time the engineering analysis is the most important reason for recovery.  They need that data to see if they can tease some more mass and cost out of that stage.  It's probably a bit of a "battleship" construction right now to hedge the risk of an embarrassing failure.
Exactly.

Reuse is secondary at the moment.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: iamlucky13 on 11/17/2010 07:38 pm
Would SpaceX delay the flight just because they wouldn't be able to recover the 1st stage?

I think it would be more apt to ask why wouldn't they? Seven days isn't that much of a delay, and they have no hard deadline on this launch.

That means nothing by itself, but combined with the performance evaluation it could allow and potential for eventual re-use, it seems well-worth it.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: beancounter on 11/18/2010 03:26 am

Surely there're other boats available!?

How many boats in the world do you think that are setup to retrieve boosters?
Well yes I understand the comment about boats and boosters but some time ago, there was a photo showing a floating pontoon arrangment for recovering the F9 1st stage.  Looked like all you really needed was a tow boat.  So again, surely there's something else available that would suit?
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: SpacexULA on 11/18/2010 03:59 am

Surely there're other boats available!?

How many boats in the world do you think that are setup to retrieve boosters?
Well yes I understand the comment about boats and boosters but some time ago, there was a photo showing a floating pontoon arrangment for recovering the F9 1st stage.  Looked like all you really needed was a tow boat.  So again, surely there's something else available that would suit?

Just out of curiosity, is the reason SpaceX is using the SRB recovery teams because of some type of special licence so they have to fly closer to the incoming 1st stage (like catching a fly ball in baseball), or is it just their experience in finding spent 1st stages?

How close can the boat get to the projected spashdown point before it impacts?
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Lars_J on 11/18/2010 04:17 am
Size-wise the F9 first stage is very close to an SRB, so it makes sense to use the services of a ship capable of recovering similar hardware.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: beancounter on 11/18/2010 06:54 am
Size-wise the F9 first stage is very close to an SRB, so it makes sense to use the services of a ship capable of recovering similar hardware.

On the other hand, we're all making the assumption that the 1st stage comes down in one piece otherwise all you might need is a 'tinnie' (small aluminium boat with outboard) to recover the pieces! LOL.

Joking aside, here's all the best to them.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Jim on 11/18/2010 11:35 am

Surely there're other boats available!?

How many boats in the world do you think that are setup to retrieve boosters?
Well yes I understand the comment about boats and boosters but some time ago, there was a photo showing a floating pontoon arrangment for recovering the F9 1st stage.  Looked like all you really needed was a tow boat.  So again, surely there's something else available that would suit?

How many boat crews in the world do you think that are experienced in retrieving boosters
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Jim on 11/18/2010 11:41 am

Well yes I understand the comment about boats and boosters but some time ago, there was a photo showing a floating pontoon arrangment for recovering the F9 1st stage.  Looked like all you really needed was a tow boat.  So again, surely there's something else available that would suit?

How many boats in the world do you think that are setup to retrieve boosters?  Not just towing but strapped to the side of the boat (see a boat with a retrieved SRB), have deck space and crane for the pontoon, can support divers, have a propulsion system to navigate with a  SRB strapped to the side of the boat, can navigate the shallow Banana River..... need I add more?
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Jim on 11/18/2010 11:42 am
Just out of curiosity, is the reason SpaceX is using the SRB recovery teams because of some type of special licence

no such thing
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: beancounter on 11/19/2010 12:20 am

Well yes I understand the comment about boats and boosters but some time ago, there was a photo showing a floating pontoon arrangment for recovering the F9 1st stage.  Looked like all you really needed was a tow boat.  So again, surely there's something else available that would suit?

How many boats in the world do you think that are setup to retrieve boosters?  Not just towing but strapped to the side of the boat (see a boat with a retrieved SRB), have deck space and crane for the pontoon, can support divers, have a propulsion system to navigate with a  SRB strapped to the side of the boat, can navigate the shallow Banana River..... need I add more?

Salvage is salvage.  If you want to make it difficult and expensive go right ahead but my old man worked in marine salvage most of his life and I learnt a great deal about it before heading into beancounting.
It's not that difficult.  Dangerous at times, yes, but difficult generally no.  You don't need special gear for navigation, propulsion and the like.  An experienced operator doesn't need all that.  They use their experience and skill.  As for shallow winding rivers, give me a break, they exist in other parts of the world. 
An empty booster's just that, nothing special so don't try to keep perpetuating old myths to keep things expensive.  They don't have to be like that.
Normally you make a lot of sense Jim and I have great respect for your comments but here on this one, you're just plain wrong.  Might be the existing old way.  Doesn't have to be the future.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Jim on 11/19/2010 11:13 am


Salvage is salvage.  If you want to make it difficult and expensive go right ahead but my old man worked in marine salvage most of his life and I learnt a great deal about it before heading into beancounting.
It's not that difficult.  Dangerous at times, yes, but difficult generally no.  You don't need special gear for navigation, propulsion and the like.  An experienced operator doesn't need all that.  They use their experience and skill.  As for shallow winding rivers, give me a break, they exist in other parts of the world. 
An empty booster's just that, nothing special so don't try to keep perpetuating old myths to keep things expensive.  They don't have to be like that.
Normally you make a lot of sense Jim and I have great respect for your comments but here on this one, you're just plain wrong.  Might be the existing old way.  Doesn't have to be the future.

No, I am not wrong.   This is not salvage, it is recovery.  Salvage is not concerned with saving fit, form and function.  Salvage is only concerned with saving the materials.

It is not a shallow river, it is a lagoon with manatees.  The SRB ships use jet propulsion while in the lagoon.  What special navigation equipment?  Never said about that, however, the SRB ships do have special gear for tracking the boosters.  And they have the existing hardware for recovering parachutes.

As for an empty booster, you don't really know what is involved with the recovery. 

"experienced operator doesn't need all that.  They use their experience and skill."   That is why the SRB ships are being used. 

Also, more importantly, Spacex doesn't have to pay to train or maintain the service. Nor do they have to pay to reserve the time for the service, only when they actually use it.   The service exists and when it is not working a shuttle mission, it is available.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: tobi453 on 11/19/2010 02:40 pm
So what will SpaceX do, when the shuttle retires?
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Ben the Space Brit on 11/19/2010 05:38 pm
So what will SpaceX do, when the shuttle retires?

That depends on the SLS.  If the new SLS uses ATK segmented SRMs, then the Freedom Star and Liberty Star will still be operational and ready to collect their core stages.  Otherwise, they'll have to find an alternative - maybe even lease or purchase one of the ships for their own use.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: beancounter on 11/20/2010 03:57 am
So what will SpaceX do, when the shuttle retires?

That depends on the SLS.  If the new SLS uses ATK segmented SRMs, then the Freedom Star and Liberty Star will still be operational and ready to collect their core stages.  Otherwise, they'll have to find an alternative - maybe even lease or purchase one of the ships for their own use.
SpaceX won't stay with the old expensive methods.  No matter what Jim believes they are outdated and expensive and SpaceX will find more efficient and ways of retrieval.  In this case, I'll stick with my comments above.  Jim will, no doubt, stick with his as well. 
That's the value in  a democracy, differing views can exist together.  Either way, SpaceX will make its own decisions.  As some other blogger once posted, and I quote ' time will tell '.
Cheers
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Jim on 11/20/2010 11:14 am

SpaceX won't stay with the old expensive methods.  No matter what Jim believes they are outdated and expensive and SpaceX will find more efficient and ways of retrieval.

What is old and outdated about the SRB ships?  And how can it be more efficient?

And another comment.  Spacex has been getting their comeuppance on a lot of things and finding out that they have to end up doing it the old school ways. This goes back to the very first launch. 
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: beancounter on 11/21/2010 11:49 am

SpaceX won't stay with the old expensive methods.  No matter what Jim believes they are outdated and expensive and SpaceX will find more efficient and ways of retrieval.

What is old and outdated about the SRB ships?  And how can it be more efficient?

And another comment.  Spacex has been getting their comeuppance on a lot of things and finding out that they have to end up doing it the old school ways. This goes back to the very first launch. 
It's ok Jim, seems I touched a raw nerve for which I apologies.  I just think people are entitled to their view, even when it differs from your's.  See previous comment. 

Cheers.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: ugordan on 11/21/2010 11:56 am
Views are views, but you clearly stated previously his "view" is just plain wrong.

Normally you make a lot of sense Jim and I have great respect for your comments but here on this one, you're just plain wrong.

Of course, you backed out of that later, but still - what exactly makes you an expert on booster recovery to give your "view" more credence than his?

Do you really believe absolutely everything related to the Shuttle program is bloated 10x over what is really needed and that SpaceX would undoubtedly be better and cheaper off with buying their own recovery vessels instead of using already existing ones?
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: rnc on 11/21/2010 12:10 pm
"recovery" would still be the better word for both nasa and spacex. "salvage" has a specific meaning within the marine industry, and normally applies to shipping in peril.

nasa have the best track record in recovering launch vehicle structures from the sea. spacex have none. lets wait and see how spacex do. they certainly have much to learn.

regards.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: SpacexULA on 11/21/2010 02:30 pm
What is old and outdated about the SRB ships?  And how can it be more efficient?

And another comment.  Spacex has been getting their comeuppance on a lot of things and finding out that they have to end up doing it the old school ways. This goes back to the very first launch. 
It's ok Jim, seems I touched a raw nerve for which I apologies.  I just think people are entitled to their view, even when it differs from your's.  See previous comment. 

Cheers.

(http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/6/62/Liberty_Star_with_SRB_after_STS-87_%282%29.jpg/800px-Liberty_Star_with_SRB_after_STS-87_%282%29.jpg)

I don't really see how SpaceX would manage to do much better than the Liberty/Freedom Star, & a 9 person crew.  Much smaller and the ships would not be quick enough/have the capacity to carry the spent stages. 

I was honestly floored when i read that the SRB recovery team was only 9 people. 

Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: ugordan on 11/21/2010 02:48 pm
Much smaller and the ships would not be quick enough/have the capacity to carry the spent stages. 

Moreso because F9 stages nominally drop much further downrange than SRBs, IIRC. The former burn out 1 minute later and at almost 2x the burnout velocity than the latter.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: docmordrid on 11/21/2010 04:50 pm
Two words: ocean tug.  Yes, a radar boat would have to do tracking, but then they're not as tied to NASA's schedule if ATK's lobbyists get their way. 
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: SpacexULA on 11/21/2010 05:30 pm
Come on guys, really?

If the Falcon 9 1st stage manages to survive reentry, and splashdown mostly intact, it will be one of the most valuable pieces of aerospace hardware to be pulled out of the ocean since Skylab 4's return.

It would be the first non SRB 1st stage ever recovered intact for inspection, why in heck would SpaceX go cheap on it's recovery?  How does this sound for a nightmare scenario "SpaceX's Falcon 9 1st stage survived reentry and spashdown, but the tug boat/scrap team they sent out to recover it, though ignorance about spacecraft, allowed it to sink to the bottom of the ocean floor"

Even SpaceX does not know what condition the 1st stage will be in when it returns, it could be taking on water from the second it impacts, it could be on fire, who knows?  There is only one trained team in the world that has experence in recovering aerospace hardware from the Atlantic ocean, and that's the SRB team.  It doesn't matter if they cost 100 times what Joe's towing service costs, they are worth it. 

Now down the road, if SpaceX is dropping 11 1st stages a year into the Atlantic, it might be worth the money to get their own boat and team, but till then, let the experts do it.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Jim on 11/21/2010 06:14 pm
Two words: ocean tug.  Yes, a radar boat would have to do tracking, but then they're not as tied to NASA's schedule if ATK's lobbyists get their way. 

Spaced wont be launching enough for that to be a factor
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: beancounter on 11/22/2010 01:00 am
Two words: ocean tug.  Yes, a radar boat would have to do tracking, but then they're not as tied to NASA's schedule if ATK's lobbyists get their way. 

Spaced wont be launching enough for that to be a factor

Insufficient data to support or disprove this statement at this time.

However, speculating and assuming 'Spaced' is SpaceX:
Should Bigelow get his stations up and operating with 2 or 3 stations as he's stated, and should SpaceX get into HSF, and should SpaceX get a decent slice of that business, then SpaceX could well be launching at least once per month.  It may then be worth their while to do their own thing. 

SpaceX certainly seems to have a perchant for doing things in-house - the latest report is the turbopump.

Assuming also that they get 1st stage return and reusability sorted as well.  That's by no means assured but it would be fantastic if they could.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Jim on 11/22/2010 01:03 am

Insufficient data to support or disprove this statement at this time.


Plenty of data is available, why else would I make.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: beancounter on 11/22/2010 01:11 am

Insufficient data to support or disprove this statement at this time.


Plenty of data is available, why else would I make.

Ok.  What's wrong with the above assumptions?  If you agree the assumptions then the end result is possible.  If they don't hold then I'll agree that in-house 'might' not make sense but either way it's not a given.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: SpacexULA on 11/22/2010 01:13 am
Two words: ocean tug.  Yes, a radar boat would have to do tracking, but then they're not as tied to NASA's schedule if ATK's lobbyists get their way. 

Spaced wont be launching enough for that to be a factor

Insufficient data to support or disprove this statement at this time.

However, speculating and assuming 'Spaced' is SpaceX:
Should Bigelow get his stations up and operating with 2 or 3 stations as he's stated, and should SpaceX get into HSF, and should SpaceX get a decent slice of that business, then SpaceX could well be launching at least once per month.  It may then be worth their while to do their own thing. 

SpaceX certainly seems to have a perchant for doing things in-house - the latest report is the turbopump.

Assuming also that they get 1st stage return and reusability sorted as well.  That's by no means assured but it would be fantastic if they could.

SRB recover is a 3 day operation last I checked, SpaceX acknowledged that the max launch rate from the cape will be around 12 a year, and even if the SLS matched the max flight rate of the Shuttle, which is not likely, that still has the SRB recovery teams only busy 54 days a year.  That's not a full schedule at a good therietical max for the teams work.

If SpaceX has 6 a year from the cape and SLS launches 2-3 times a year, which is the likely maxes, the SRB recovery teams will still never have as much work as they did at the max of the Shuttle program.



Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: beancounter on 11/22/2010 01:17 am
Two words: ocean tug.  Yes, a radar boat would have to do tracking, but then they're not as tied to NASA's schedule if ATK's lobbyists get their way. 
Spaced wont be launching enough for that to be a factor

Insufficient data to support or disprove this statement at this time.

However, speculating and assuming 'Spaced' is SpaceX:
Should Bigelow get his stations up and operating with 2 or 3 stations as he's stated, and should SpaceX get into HSF, and should SpaceX get a decent slice of that business, then SpaceX could well be launching at least once per month.  It may then be worth their while to do their own thing. 

SpaceX certainly seems to have a perchant for doing things in-house - the latest report is the turbopump.

Assuming also that they get 1st stage return and reusability sorted as well.  That's by no means assured but it would be fantastic if they could.

SRB recover is a 3 day operation last I checked, SpaceX acknowledged that the max launch rate from the cape will be around 12 a year, and even if the SLS matched the max flight rate of the Shuttle, which is not likely, that still has the SRB recovery teams only busy 54 days a year.  That's not a full schedule at a good therietical max for the teams work.

If SpaceX has 6 a year from the cape and SLS launches 2-3 times a year, which is the likely maxes, the SRB recovery teams will still never have as much work as they did at the max of the Shuttle program.


OK, thanks for sharing.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Jim on 11/22/2010 01:20 am

Insufficient data to support or disprove this statement at this time.


Plenty of data is available, why else would I make.

Ok.  What's wrong with the above assumptions?  If you agree the assumptions then the end result is possible.  If they don't hold then I'll agree that in-house 'might' not make sense but either way it's not a given.

It has nothing to do with available missions to fly.  They won't achieve those flight rates.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: beancounter on 11/22/2010 06:01 am

Insufficient data to support or disprove this statement at this time.



Plenty of data is available, why else would I make.

Ok.  What's wrong with the above assumptions?  If you agree the assumptions then the end result is possible.  If they don't hold then I'll agree that in-house 'might' not make sense but either way it's not a given.

It has nothing to do with available missions to fly.  They won't achieve those flight rates.

'They won't achieve those flight rates.'  ???
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: butters on 11/22/2010 07:25 am
It has nothing to do with available missions to fly.  They won't achieve those flight rates.

Setting aside the quantitative definition of "those flight rates" for a moment, what do you believe is the bottleneck in their operation?

Once they get into the swing of things, 6 per year shouldn't be unmanageable. At 8 per year I think they start to outgrow the Hawthorne facility and consider setting up a facility in Florida for tankage, leaving Hawthorne for engines and spacecraft.

They'll need that to reach 12 per year, which is probably the practical limit for LC-40 and McGregor as they exist today. They'll also want a voluminous Florida facility for processing recovered first stages and further down to line for developing a larger vehicle like Falcon X.

They might be able to manage six F9s in 2012 given sufficient demand, but I don't see them launching twelve F9s before 2015 even under ideal circumstances.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Tnarg on 11/22/2010 09:11 am
SpaceX certainly seems to have a perchant for doing things in-house - the latest report is the turbopump.

True, SpaceX are good at what they do and If they think they can do a better job then there suppilyers they will take it in house.  But recovery of the first stage seems a little outside there basic skill set.  If there is a small effent team doing the job well then I dont see why SpaceX would want to change things.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: beancounter on 11/22/2010 10:14 am
SpaceX certainly seems to have a perchant for doing things in-house - the latest report is the turbopump.

True, SpaceX are good at what they do and If they think they can do a better job then there suppilyers they will take it in house.  But recovery of the first stage seems a little outside there basic skill set.  If there is a small effent team doing the job well then I dont see why SpaceX would want to change things.
SpaceX bring things in-house to assure quality, supply reliability and cost control.  I have no doubt that the existing 'recovery' setup is great on quality and supply reliability but cost is the other factor.  By all accounts, the turbopump quality was first rate so cost and supply reliability must have been the other factors.
Therefore assuming flight rates reach a certain level, then the recovery operation will be open to scruitiny from a cost perspective.  In business, everything is.
So far as 'outside the skill set' goes, SpaceX has no trouble obtaining the people with the necessary skills that they require.  Don't see them having any trouble with this either. 
On the other hand, another thought has just occurred to me.  The recovery charges are probably going to drop significantly if they haven't already since they'll have no real business left once Shuttle stops flying.  That's maybe 1 or 2 jobs left.  Maybe SpaceX will just buy the whole setup at bargain basement price if they get reusability sorted. 
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Jim on 11/22/2010 11:08 am
.  The recovery charges are probably going to drop significantly if they haven't already since they'll have no real business left once Shuttle stops flying.  That's maybe 1 or 2 jobs left.  Maybe SpaceX will just buy the whole setup at bargain basement price if they get reusability sorted. 

No, they will increase because they have to maintain the capability (fund a standing army)
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: go4mars on 11/22/2010 01:28 pm
It has nothing to do with available missions to fly.  They won't achieve those flight rates.

Is there a timeframe missing from this statement?  Or is it stated as intended?
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: kevin-rf on 11/22/2010 02:12 pm
Why is everyone knocking SpaceX for renting existing recovery ships, vs. going to the extra expense of outfitting there own ship. Using this logic, SpaceX needs to buy it's own Florida swamp land and spend the millions (billions?) to build it's own range.

Just curious who does SpaceX lease the recovery ships from in Kwajalein?
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: JohnFornaro on 11/22/2010 02:52 pm
It has nothing to do with available missions to fly.  They won't achieve those flight rates.

Is there a timeframe missing from this statement?  Or is it stated as intended?

Yes, there is.  And a whole lot more besides.  Particularly, confident prediction about the specifics of unknown future data points, without even the acknowledgement that SpaceX could modify its strategies as conditions warrant. 
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: madscientist197 on 11/22/2010 03:15 pm
I was honestly floored when i read that the SRB recovery team was only 9 people.

I am truly impressed by this.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Avron on 11/22/2010 03:16 pm
I was honestly floored when i read that the SRB recovery team was only 9 people.

I am truly impressed by this.

Per team? i.e 18 in total?
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Antares on 11/22/2010 06:26 pm
There's a whole lot of baseless conjecture in the flight rate argument here.  You're not adding anything to the discussion unless you cite what you're basing it on.  "I have no doubt" and "By all accounts" are weak debate tactics, not suitable for those of us who have technical discussions that put lives and Billions of dollars on the line.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: beancounter on 11/23/2010 01:14 am
.  The recovery charges are probably going to drop significantly if they haven't already since they'll have no real business left once Shuttle stops flying.  That's maybe 1 or 2 jobs left.  Maybe SpaceX will just buy the whole setup at bargain basement price if they get reusability sorted. 

No, they will increase because they have to maintain the capability (fund a standing army)

Not quite sure about this.  Are you saying that these vessels are used exclusively by NASA and have no other customers. 

If that's correct, then once the Shuttle stops flying, in the absence of SpaceX, what do they do? 

SpaceX will be doing the cost analyses on this side of the business just like they do for any other part of their operations.  There will be a point where it becomes more efficient to bring the operations in-house.

Should the recovery group increase their costs as you believe they will, then in time, they may pass the point where SpaceX decides they're too costly.  SpaceX will then either set up their own recovery group or find some other way of doing things which will be more cost efficient.  They're in business after all, and they're not required to support existing structures.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: kkattula on 11/23/2010 01:31 am
If SLS uses Shuttle derived RSRMs, then obviously NASA is going to need to maintain the recovery ships post Shuttle. Being able to offset some of that cost by hiring them out to SpaceX, is a bonus.

After Shuttle retires, will SpaceX be the only user for a couple of years? Or does someone else use them?

Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Pheogh on 11/23/2010 01:34 am
If SLS uses Shuttle derived RSRMs, then obviously NASA is going to need to maintain the recovery ships post Shuttle. Being able to offset some of that cost by hiring them out to SpaceX, is a bonus.

After Shuttle retires, will SpaceX be the only user for a couple of years? Or does someone else use them?



Not to be Debbie Downer her but doesn't SpaceX still have to demonstrate recovery? I wasn't sure any of the "one" test launches survived.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: kkattula on 11/23/2010 01:46 am
...It would be the first non SRB 1st stage ever recovered intact for inspection, ...

Well, except for the odd B-52 and L-1011.  Depending on your definition of first stage.  ;)
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: kkattula on 11/23/2010 01:49 am
If SLS uses Shuttle derived RSRMs, then obviously NASA is going to need to maintain the recovery ships post Shuttle. Being able to offset some of that cost by hiring them out to SpaceX, is a bonus.

After Shuttle retires, will SpaceX be the only user for a couple of years? Or does someone else use them?



Not to be Debbie Downer her but doesn't SpaceX still have to demonstrate recovery? I wasn't sure any of the "one" test launches survived.

Well yeah, none have survived so far. But I assume they're going to keep on trying to recover first stages.  They still need a recovery ship standing by for that, whether the stage survives or not.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: spacetraveler on 11/23/2010 02:23 am
The reentry license for the C1 launch has been finalized.

http://spaceflightnow.com/falcon9/002/101122license/

Hope it can proceed relatively soon here.

Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Robotbeat on 11/23/2010 04:13 am
Recovery is a lot easier than reuse... I have no doubt SpaceX will be able to pull off first stage recovery. Maybe not this time, but eventually.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: beancounter on 11/23/2010 06:44 am
Recovery is a lot easier than reuse... I have no doubt SpaceX will be able to pull off first stage recovery. Maybe not this time, but eventually.
The capsule drop test seemed to indicate a very soft entry into the water.  Since the structures and engines have been designed for reuse then provided they get down in one piece, the reuse bit should be ok.  That said, I still can't think how you'd go about refurbishing and certifying a used first stage for flight.  As I stated in another thread, you can't just take the turbo, run it and say ok we'll fly that bit!!
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Ben the Space Brit on 11/23/2010 07:21 am
Did they ever work out why flight 1's core just broke up during descent the way it did?
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: gospacex on 11/23/2010 08:49 am
Recovery is a lot easier than reuse... I have no doubt SpaceX will be able to pull off first stage recovery. Maybe not this time, but eventually.
The capsule drop test seemed to indicate a very soft entry into the water.  Since the structures and engines have been designed for reuse then provided they get down in one piece, the reuse bit should be ok.  That said, I still can't think how you'd go about refurbishing and certifying a used first stage for flight. As I stated in another thread, you can't just take the turbo, run it and say ok we'll fly that bit!!

Why not?
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: ChefPat on 11/23/2010 11:03 am
If SLS uses Shuttle derived RSRMs, then obviously NASA is going to need to maintain the recovery ships post Shuttle. Being able to offset some of that cost by hiring them out to SpaceX, is a bonus.

After Shuttle retires, will SpaceX be the only user for a couple of years? Or does someone else use them?


What would stop them from hiring themselves out as a Charter Fishing Boat?
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: kkattula on 11/23/2010 11:33 am
What would stop them from hiring themselves out as a Charter Fishing Boat?

Nasa's not allowed to compete with commercial operations?
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: JohnFornaro on 11/23/2010 02:54 pm
That said, I still can't think how you'd go about refurbishing and certifying a used first stage for flight.

Uhhh.... Very carefully?
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: hop on 11/23/2010 05:18 pm
As I stated in another thread, you can't just take the turbo, run it and say ok we'll fly that bit!!

Why not?
Discussed extensively here http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=21923.180
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: beancounter on 11/24/2010 01:06 am
That said, I still can't think how you'd go about refurbishing and certifying a used first stage for flight.

Uhhh.... Very carefully?
Yeh, quite.  But seriously, well more, I guess at least for the first couple of dozen, you'd strip everything down and do a bunch of NDT.  Then maybe even push them to distruction to see what breaks first.
Then someone's got to certify them.  For NASA contracts, I guess that's NASA but other commercial contracts, I think SpaceX would have to somehow be able to demonstrate continuing integrity in the reused bits and pieces to their customers. 
Guess the incentives would be reduced flight costs and compelling test data.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: mr. mark on 11/24/2010 02:55 pm
Is it getting clearer that Spacex won't launch until next year? They can't launch until after shuttle Discovery because of the recovery boat situation and recovery requires a 7 day turnaround after the shuttle launch. Also, Spacex still needs to do the test fire. Can they test fire at pad 40 with Discovery on it's launch pad?  With the possibilty that managers may postpone the Discovery launch until Christmas time, It seems the odds are getting slim for a December 7th time frame.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Lars_J on 11/24/2010 03:03 pm
Yes they can test fire with Discovery on the pad. Other launches have occurred with Shuttles on pads.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: ugordan on 11/24/2010 03:04 pm
They can do the static fire with rockets on other pads, it's those other pads that would potentially have to be evacuated of personnel that day. It remains to be seen how long it will take SpaceX to be ready to do that. Obviously, Dragon is, again, the pacing item here.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: go4mars on 11/24/2010 03:38 pm
Any chance that SpaceX will launch before Discovery?
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Ben the Space Brit on 11/24/2010 04:41 pm
Any chance that SpaceX will launch before Discovery?

I imagine that if the delay gets too crazy (-133 being moved to CY2011) then SpaceX will just launch in the next available slot.  That all depends on assessment of the fix to the SSET though.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: simonbp on 11/24/2010 05:37 pm
Recovery is a lot easier than reuse... I have no doubt SpaceX will be able to pull off first stage recovery. Maybe not this time, but eventually.

They did actually recover a first stage from a Gemini-Titan launch. It broke in half, so it's only the top part that made it, and the part where it broke was kind caved in. Still, it's not unreasonable that sufficiently strengthened, a minimally-modified first stage could be recovered intact.

I've got a few pictures of that stage from when it was in the public area of the museum in Huntsville (it's now back in storage); I'll see if I can find where I put them...
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: stockman on 11/24/2010 05:39 pm
Any chance that SpaceX will launch before Discovery?

Discovery just got bumped to NET dec 17th - It will be interesting to hear if SpaceX will go withtheir current Date in Early december as they could be off the pad well before that date thus freeing up the recovery ships with time to spare...
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Comga on 11/24/2010 07:40 pm
So F9-Dragon launch is NET Dec 7 or 8, and STS-133 launch is NET Dec 17.  That's only nine or ten days.

Somewhere it said that SpaceX can't launch F9-Dragon until seven days after a Shuttle launch because of the time needed to sail back, cycle, and relaunch the SRB recovery ships.

How long BEFORE the Shuttle launch would SpaceX have to launch to garauntee that the recovery ships would be ready to retrieve the SRBs?  Does the increased downrange spashdown distance of the F9 first stage, compared to the SRBs, increase the time?  Has NASA asked for any additional time margin? 

It would be hard to imagine NASA risking a Shuttle launch delay because someone had rented the recovery ships.  (Imagining a parent with hands on hips asking for car keys when a teenager misses cerfew)
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: butters on 11/24/2010 08:21 pm
Jim always says that reserving the range is first come first serve, but that doesn't mean that the recovery boats work the same way. SpaceX has the range for 12/7, and Shuttle can't just bump them off, but if SpaceX can't reserve the recovery boat, then they'll almost certainly stand down.

If SpaceX already has the recovery boat "reserved" (or however that works) for their launch window, then can Shuttle really intervene to keep those boats at port?

SpaceX wouldn't be able to slip their launch into a window that conflicts with the recovery assets of an existing Shuttle window, so why should Shuttle be able to slip into a window that conflicts with an existing SpaceX window?

One can argue that the Shuttle launch is more "important" or faces tighter launch window constraints with beta angle and other ISS traffic, but I don't buy it. And if they argue that SpaceX has to stand down because Shuttle can't fly over the new year, that would be quite laughable and flat-out embarrassing for a program that lived through the Y2K frenzy and yet failed to address this problem.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: MP99 on 11/24/2010 08:24 pm
It would be hard to imagine NASA risking a Shuttle launch delay because someone had rented the recovery ships.  (Imagining a parent with hands on hips asking for car keys when a teenager misses cerfew)

Recovery is not essential to the mission.

I'm intrigued whether SpaceX would forgo a before-Shuttle launch date just because the SRB recovery boat is unavailable because of an imminent Shuttle launch? IE just accept no attempt at first stage recovery on this mission.

cheers, Martin
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: MP99 on 11/24/2010 08:26 pm
If SpaceX already has the recovery boat "reserved" (or however that works) for their launch window, then can Shuttle really intervene to keep those boats at port?

It's Shuttle infrastructure, so it doesn't seem unreasonable that Shuttle would be it's priority.

cheers, Martin
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: ugordan on 11/24/2010 08:32 pm
This speculation assumes STS-133 is the only thing determining when COTS-1 will fly. Here's a thought - if SpaceX really are ready, what is preventing them from moving the launch date to the left now that Shuttle is definitely off the table? One such obvious answer would be: because they're not ready yet.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: butters on 11/24/2010 08:35 pm
Recovery is not essential to the mission.

I'm intrigued whether SpaceX would forgo a before-Shuttle launch date just because the SRB recovery boat is unavailable because of an imminent Shuttle launch? IE just accept no attempt at first stage recovery on this mission.

cheers, Martin

Recovery is not essential to which mission?

SpaceX will not launch if they do not have the recovery boat. FWIW, I guarantee it. They really want that stage back to analyze and optimize the design. Recovery is not essential to the mission, but they will not sacrifice the opportunity.

Is recovery essential to STS-133? I'm pretty sure that the SRB segments will not be used on STS-135 and certainly not on STS-134. Could they be reused for a future 5-seg booster? I don't know. But SSP will probably consider recovery essential just because that's their SOP.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Jim on 11/24/2010 08:43 pm

Is recovery essential to STS-133?

Yes, for postflight inspection
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: butters on 11/24/2010 08:47 pm
This speculation assumes STS-133 is the only thing determining when COTS-1 will fly. Here's a thought - if SpaceX really are ready, what is preventing them from moving the launch date to the left now that Shuttle is definitely off the table? One such obvious answer would be: because they're not ready yet.

You could be right. They're still to do their planned static fire. That would keep them from moving to the left.

They wouldn't have wanted to do their static fire while the Shuttle team was feverishly working at the pad to try to make their 12/3 launch window, since the LC39A would have to be evacuated for the F9 static fire. Now that Shuttle is delayed, mostly for off-pad rather than on-pad work, SpaceX could go ahead with their static fire if they are actually ready to do so.

Do we know whether they plan to load Dragon propellants before or after the static fire? If they load before, then they might not want to go ahead with the static fire unless they know they have their launch opportunity with recovery boat.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: butters on 11/24/2010 08:48 pm
Is recovery essential to STS-133?
Yes, for postflight inspection

Yeah. Same rationale as SpaceX. Neither will launch without recovery assets.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: ugordan on 11/24/2010 08:58 pm
They're still to do their planned static fire. That would keep them from moving to the left.

Hell, their plan was always to have the static fire some 4-5 days before launch and we're still more than two weeks away from Dec 7th so there would be enough room to move to the left.

Those two-weeks-before are coincidentally about the time I would expect a new delay announcement. Would be nice to be shown otherwise, though.

Quote
Do we know whether they plan to load Dragon propellants before or after the static fire?

I'm trying to think of a reason why they'd do a firing with an empty Dragon. Why wouldn't have they done the firing during the wet dress rehearsal then? Dragon is supposed to be space-worthy for extended periods of time so I'd assume hypergol storage in the tanks wouldn't pose the same problems as with Delta II 2nd stage tanks/valves.

On the other hand, they do appear to be paranoid (maybe the wrong word... let's say "extra cautious") about this so a firing with an empty Dragon, rollback to the hangar, fueling, final flight readiness review, rollout and launch isn't really implausible.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: butters on 11/24/2010 10:01 pm
I think the consideration WRT hyper loading is the safety of the ground crew. They don't want that stuff loaded in the spacecraft on the ground for longer than necessary, even if Dragon is designed to store the propellants for a long duration on orbit.

I suspect they'll do the hyper loading before the static fire, then rollback and rollout for launch in roughly the 7-day timeframe that they've previously mentioned (don't know where ugordon got the 4-5 days from). If the vehicle hasn't rolled out by the evening of Dec 1, then I doubt they're launching on Dec 7.

So if they're going for this window, they need to commit to hyper loading within a week from now. If the situation with Shuttle is causing uncertainty about recovery assets on Dec 7/8, then they may not have positive "flight rationale" to proceed.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: wintermuted on 11/24/2010 10:09 pm
With the thanksgiving holiday this week which extends through the weekend for many who travel, full work capacity will only really be available again next monday. That only leaves a week and a day before the 7th for static fire and launch prep so a shift to the left is unlikely.

Also, maybe a minor difference but they've said publicly more than once how important re-usability is, so recovering the first stage for the purpose of evaluating reuse is probably as much a reason if not more compared with NDT or trimming operating margins.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: ugordan on 11/24/2010 11:04 pm
(don't know where ugordan got the 4-5 days from).

Fixed that for you.

Anyway: http://spaceflightnow.com/falcon9/002/status.html
Quote
If liftoff remains set for Dec. 7, engineers plan an on-the-pad test firing Dec. 3 of the rocket's nine first stage engines.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: beancounter on 11/25/2010 12:51 am
Under 2 weeks now and no sign of a delay announcement.  Could this be the real deal?
Jim's silent also!!
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: ugordan on 11/25/2010 07:44 am
Jim's silent also!!

Yes, since his November prediction also fell through.  ;D
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Jim on 11/25/2010 10:29 am
my prediction was an NET
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: beancounter on 11/26/2010 03:47 am
Good point.

Still no delay notification... Any new prediction?
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: pathfinder_01 on 11/26/2010 07:11 am
Good point.

Still no delay notification... Any new prediction?

Thursday was an holiday in the US, and some businesses take Friday off too. You probably wont hear anything till Monday at the earliest.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: docmordrid on 11/26/2010 05:14 pm
SFN is talking about Discovery going on Dec 17 at the earliest, but that it could well slip to February or March.

http://www.spaceflightnow.com/shuttle/sts133/101124prcb/index3.html
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: sdsds on 11/27/2010 10:28 pm
Personal opinion:  this coming week (beginning Monday, Nov. 29), Elon Musk needs to do "the leadership thing."  SpaceX isn't betting the company on this one launch, but nothing else they have attempted has been as vital.  It's not just the cult of personality:  SpaceX clearly has that but in this case it's more.  The organization is not that large; Musk can have near-perfect visibility into what's going on.  Unless there's internal dissent based on hard fact he needs to rally the troops and push them on to fly the mission with the vehicle they have, before STS-133 launches.  A successful mission now, complete to capsule recovery, will lock in the perception that SpaceX is changing the essence of human spaceflight.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: ugordan on 11/27/2010 10:35 pm
Unless there's internal dissent based on hard fact he needs to rally the troops and push them on to fly the mission with the vehicle they have, before STS-133 launches.

With all of their delays so far, why should it make any difference whether they launch before or after STS-133?
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Lars_J on 11/27/2010 10:36 pm
Personal opinion:  this coming week (beginning Monday, Nov. 29), Elon Musk needs to do "the leadership thing."  ...  Unless there's internal dissent based on hard fact he needs to rally the troops and push them on to fly the mission with the vehicle they have, before STS-133 launches.

What the heck? Why does it matter who launches first? ST-133 was scheduled to fly before COTS 1 for quite a while, and that didn't signify the end of the world.

I'd love to see it launch ASAP, but COTS1 should launch when it's ready. Not before. To do otherwise just to launch before another vehicle, *that* would be a failure of leadership.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Comga on 11/27/2010 10:38 pm
SFN is talking about Discovery going on Dec 17 at the earliest, but that it could well slip to February or March.

It's not jus SFN, but NASA explicitly stating STS-133 is NET 12/17

NASA SETS SHUTTLE DISCOVERY'S LAUNCH FOR NO EARLIER THAN DEC. 17

WASHINGTON -- NASA managers have targeted space shuttle Discovery's launch for no earlier than Dec. 17. Shuttle managers determined more tests and analysis are needed before proceeding with the STS-133 mission.
....
The next status review by the PRCB will be Thursday, Dec. 2. If managers clear Discovery for launch on Dec. 17, the preferred time is approximately 8:51 p.m. EST.

For STS-133 crew and mission information, visit:
http://www.nasa.gov/shuttle 

That gives about ten days between the SpaceX launch and the earliest possible Shuttle launch.  To me this says that any new SpaceX delay will be for internal reasons, not range conflict or SRB retrieval ship scheduling, but just barely.

Fitting the Shuttle mission in before the Year End Roll Over still requires resolution of multiple issues.  SpaceX may have opportunities throughout December.

Thursday's NASA announcement is only five days before the NET launch date for Falcon 9.  Talk about down to the wire!
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: tigerade on 11/27/2010 11:04 pm
There's no word of delay and Dec 7th is less than two weeks away.  I think they will be do a static test fire this coming week, and then a launch attempt the week after.  I really haven't heard anything of delays.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: sdsds on 11/28/2010 01:10 am
If SpaceX has evidence either Falcon or Dragon is not ready, they shouldn't launch.  That was the "internal dissent based on hard fact" bit.  But this is not a good moment for unfounded timidity.  The availability of a launch opportunity before STS-133 is serendipitous, but U.S. spaceflight is at a crossroads.  If they truly want to be a company that changes the course of history they should fix their little problems, seize the day, and light their candle.

I do not mean to belittle the effort required to resolve whatever issues remain with the launch vehicle and payload, and fully realize that heroic 80 hour work weeks are not sustainable indefinitely.  I do however mean to suggest that "now" would be a good time for the organization as a whole to muster that level of effort.

The company would survive a mission failure, but if in situations like this they do not push forward and make the attempt, they will lose their magical lustre and become -- as some insinuate is quickly becoming the case -- just one more piece of the OldSpace infrastructure.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: butters on 11/28/2010 01:41 am
I think that, all things considered, a successful mission is more important than launching before STS-133. Elon has said multiple times (paraphrasing): there's always more testing that could be done, but at a certain point there are diminishing returns, and that's when it's time to launch.

I can't imagine that SpaceX is suffering from "no-go fever". If they don't take the 12/7-8 launch window (and it isn't because of conflicts with the recovery boat), then they're still having some problems with Dragon.

It wouldn't be the worst thing in the world to slip the launch date again. It would look worse if they launched their new spacecraft and it failed to perform. The mainstream media probably won't pick up a slipped launch date. They'll definitely pick up the failure of a commercial spacecraft planned to partially take over from NASA.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: MP99 on 11/28/2010 01:59 pm
If SpaceX has evidence either Falcon or Dragon is not ready, they shouldn't launch.  That was the "internal dissent based on hard fact" bit.  But this is not a good moment for unfounded timidity.  The availability of a launch opportunity before STS-133 is serendipitous, but U.S. spaceflight is at a crossroads.  If they truly want to be a company that changes the course of history they should fix their little problems, seize the day, and light their candle.

I do not mean to belittle the effort required to resolve whatever issues remain with the launch vehicle and payload, and fully realize that heroic 80 hour work weeks are not sustainable indefinitely.  I do however mean to suggest that "now" would be a good time for the organization as a whole to muster that level of effort.

The company would survive a mission failure, but if in situations like this they do not push forward and make the attempt, they will lose their magical lustre and become -- as some insinuate is quickly becoming the case -- just one more piece of the OldSpace infrastructure.

I have the opposite view - they need to launch whenever they can to maximise their chances of success. If that's later, so be it.

cheers, Martin
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: AlexCam on 11/28/2010 02:19 pm

I have the opposite view - they need to launch whenever they can to maximise their chances of success. If that's later, so be it.

cheers, Martin

Agreed, you only launch when you are absolutely sure to have tackled all issues in detail and are 100% confident you can't do more.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Mike_1179 on 11/29/2010 02:40 am
How is anything 100% assured?  You can't model everything on the ground, or only at impractical costs.  Instead, you choose to model or test things which are similar to or representative of the real world situation. 

Passing these gives higher confidence, but you'll never get "100% confidence".  Deciding when you've tested appropriately is not something that comes quickly; it's not as simple as "we'll just test everything more until we're totally sure everything is fine".
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: sdsds on 11/29/2010 03:06 am
they need to launch whenever they can to maximise their chances of success.

SpaceX needs to launch COTS Demo 1 when the success of that flight will maximize the likelihood of SpaceX building a successful business.

To see this, look at the extremes:  would it be prudent for SpaceX to slip the flight three weeks if doing so substantially increased the probability of a successful flight?  Sure.

Three months, though?  Maybe.  But what about three years?  Surely you agree that in what is ultimately a business decision, other factors come into play eventually?
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Lars_J on 11/29/2010 05:38 am
they need to launch whenever they can to maximise their chances of success.

SpaceX needs to launch COTS Demo 1 when the success of that flight will maximize the likelihood of SpaceX building a successful business.

To see this, look at the extremes:  would it be prudent for SpaceX to slip the flight three weeks if doing so substantially increased the probability of a successful flight?  Sure.

Three months, though?  Maybe.  But what about three years?  Surely you agree that in what is ultimately a business decision, other factors come into play eventually?

Of course those factors come into play. But to launch just to beat another LV's scheduled launch - THAT is your suggestion that most of us reacted to.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: kkattula on 11/29/2010 09:48 am
...
Three months, though?  Maybe.  But what about three years?  Surely you agree that in what is ultimately a business decision, other factors come into play eventually?

Right now, I think they could delay up to 6 months without significant issues. But they'd need the flight to be successful and do Demo 2 in the second half of next year.  However, the optimum would be a flight in next month or so.

I don't think the FAA would have signed off on Dragon if it wasn't ready, so I expect right now they're working through any remaining 'nits' and practicing procedures, doing simulations, etc. 

Unless something critical shows up, I reckon hotfire this week and launch in two, is highly likely.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: hop on 11/29/2010 04:58 pm
I don't think the FAA would have signed off on Dragon if it wasn't ready,
AFAIK the FAA only signs off on F9/Dragon having acceptably low odds of harming uninvolved bystanders and their property. Mission success is not their concern.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: ugordan on 11/29/2010 09:49 pm
SFN reports a change in the launch window, it's now 1403-1722 GMT. Still remains at Dec 7.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: butters on 11/29/2010 11:17 pm
SFN reports a change in the launch window, it's now 1403-1722 GMT. Still remains at Dec 7.

Well, that could be interpreted as subtly good news wrt the launch date. If they're fine tuning their launch window, then maybe they're done slipping their launch date?

I don't remember for sure what the window used to be, but I think I remember the window opening at around 8:30 EST. Did they just shift it roughly 30 minutes later to wait for better sunlight in the late fall?
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: iamlucky13 on 11/30/2010 01:46 am
I don't think the FAA would have signed off on Dragon if it wasn't ready,
AFAIK the FAA only signs off on F9/Dragon having acceptably low odds of harming uninvolved bystanders and their property. Mission success is not their concern.


Right. Of course there is the possibility of a Dragon malfunction affecting that safety, but that's only a handful of the myriad possible failures that can occur.

Well, that could be interpreted as subtly good news wrt the launch date. If they're fine tuning their launch window, then maybe they're done slipping their launch date?

With 8 days to go, they're making an adjustment to their plans that is not a slip.

At face value, that is a small positive sign. If they were seriously thinking about a slip, there's less reason to bother changing the registered launch window.

Still, it doesn't by any means preclude a slip, either.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Rocket Guy on 11/30/2010 01:55 am
As of today they are planning the test fire Friday and launch on Tuesday.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Comga on 11/30/2010 02:14 am
By your matter-of-fact wording I am assuming that this is real information, not speculation or opinion.   It is a pleasure to read it.  Thank you.

Can I also assume that if you knew a scheduled time for the test fire that you would have included it?
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: butters on 11/30/2010 02:39 am
As of today they are planning the test fire Friday and launch on Tuesday.

Fabulous news!!

I suppose that time frame indicates that they're loading Dragon propellants before the static fire. They'll probably roll it back into the hangar between the static fire and the launch attempt, though.

So I guess they finally ironed out their hyper loading and finished all their sim work for the third time and now it's time to light the candle. They haven't rushed into this at all, so I like their chances.

Can somebody well-placed please let us know when the stack is vertical?
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: SpacexULA on 11/30/2010 02:54 am
I know SpaceX hanger is usually a "t-shirt" environment.  while the Dragon is loaded and horizontal, will the need to wear any safety equipment while in the hanger with the Falcon?
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Jim on 11/30/2010 05:46 am
I know SpaceX hanger is usually a "t-shirt" environment.  while the Dragon is loaded and horizontal, will the need to wear any safety equipment while in the hanger with the Falcon?

There is no need to wear safety equipment to be around a spacecraft with hypergols loaded on board (this is true at KSC, CCAFS, and even Astrotech).  But there needs to be toxic vapor detectors and ELSA's in  the facilities and sniff checks done periodically.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: sdsds on 11/30/2010 05:51 am
to launch just to beat another LV's scheduled launch

Hmm, I take your point.  It isn't a race, and I did not suggest they should "launch just to beat" STS-133.  But with Shuttle not launching there is an open window of opportunity right now.  Sure, there are other windows, but a success during the one that follows STS-133 would not be as big a win.

The stakes they are gambling are frighteningly high.  Forget FY2011.  When do you think the Obama administration will finalize the FY2012 budget proposal they will deliver to Congress on Feb 1, 2011?  Do you think a COTS success before that date could effect the contents of that proposal?
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: MP99 on 11/30/2010 06:33 am
to launch just to beat another LV's scheduled launch

Hmm, I take your point.  It isn't a race, and I did not suggest they should "launch just to beat" STS-133.

OK, I did take that as implied by your post. I agree that a delay of many months would cause concern as to their readiness (eg minor ammunition for anti-Commercial elements in Congress).


Quote
But with Shuttle not launching there is an open window of opportunity right now.  Sure, there are other windows, but a success during the one that follows STS-133 would not be as big a win.

The stakes they are gambling are frighteningly high.  Forget FY2011.  When do you think the Obama administration will finalize the FY2012 budget proposal they will deliver to Congress on Feb 1, 2011?  Do you think a COTS success before that date could effect the contents of that proposal?

I would be much more worried that a rushed failure before the FY11 appropriations process is complete would be major ammunition for Congress to bias the budget away from Commercial Crew.

cheers, Martin

PS I'm not suggesting that they are rushing.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: ugordan on 11/30/2010 07:48 am
Can somebody well-placed please let us know when the stack is vertical?

Based  on previous experience, I'd assume the stack will go vertical Thursday for a static fire on Friday.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: jabe on 11/30/2010 05:52 pm
an Aviation week article (http://www.google.ca/url?sa=t&source=news&cd=3&ved=0CEgQqQIwAg&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.aviationweek.com%2Faw%2Fgeneric%2Fstory_generic.jsp%3Fchannel%3Dawst%26id%3Dnews%2Fawst%2F2010%2F11%2F29%2FAW_11_29_2010_p28-271778.xml%26headline%3DFalcon%25209%2520Static%2520Fire%2520Test%2520Nears&ei=fEb1TPiCH4P_8AaRl9ieBw&usg=AFQjCNEOhVnRflE83JyW32rga0uqUKu_aQ).
Hope we start hearing about activity at the cape soon....
jb
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: ELinder on 11/30/2010 07:46 pm
I certainly hope they say when in the launch window they're aiming for once they get closer. The window opens just after the KSC Visitor Center opens, but the buses to the Saturn V building don't start until 10am. That's where I watched the first Falcon launch, and it's a great place to watch from.

Erich
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: iamlucky13 on 11/30/2010 08:23 pm
It's a good bet they'll aim for the start of the launch window in order to provide time to stop or restart the countdown in case there are complications.

However, it's also a good bet they'll announce the launch time before you need to decide whether to try to get to the Saturn V Center or not.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: jabe on 11/30/2010 08:44 pm
not sure how new this is..
http://www.nasa.gov/offices/c3po/home/cots_project.html

Quote
The first SpaceX Falcon 9 demonstration launch for NASA's Commercial Orbital Transportation Services program is targeted for liftoff on Tuesday, Dec. 7. Liftoff will occur from Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. The launch window extends from 9:03 a.m. to 12:22 p.m. EST. If necessary, launch opportunities also are available on Dec. 8 and Dec. 9 with the same window.

and this..time stamp of today on it..
http://www.nasa.gov/home/hqnews/2010/nov/HQ_M10-168_SpaceX_Launch.html

nice little tidbit....
Quote

Coverage will include live streaming and text updates of the final five minutes of the countdown. On-demand streaming video, podcast and photos of the launch will be available shortly after liftoff. To access these features, go to NASA’s COTS website at:
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: yg1968 on 11/30/2010 09:07 pm
NASA's coverage will start 5 minutes before liftoff. Hopefully, Spacex's own coverage will start before that time.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: notsorandom on 11/30/2010 09:52 pm
Does anyone know what kind of coverage will be provided throughout the flight? The Aviation Week article said they were looking at reentry after four orbits. If thats the plan it would be nice to see live real time coverage of the various tests and then reentry. Certainly would made an interesting afternoon of watching.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: butters on 11/30/2010 10:26 pm
Does anyone know what kind of coverage will be provided throughout the flight? The Aviation Week article said they were looking at reentry after four orbits. If thats the plan it would be nice to see live real time coverage of the various tests and then reentry. Certainly would made an interesting afternoon of watching.

I think that the best we could practically expect is a live blog from MCC-X with text updates of mission status. I doubt we'll get any live video downlink from Dragon on orbit. We'll probably get an edited "highlights" video posted after the fact, at least if Dragon is recovered intact.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Comga on 11/30/2010 11:17 pm
".. up to four orbits" is more than has been discussed previously, AFAIK.  I remember two orbits and about 3 hours.  That puts California pretty much where the East coast was at launch. 

Knowing the launch azimuth, can anyone determine the lattitude of the flight path over the west coast for each of the orbits?  Which of these is reasonable?  Are there intersections where a shiip could sit and retrieve on more than one orbit?  They can't  have a ship at every location.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: iamlucky13 on 12/01/2010 02:31 am
not sure how new this is..
http://www.nasa.gov/offices/c3po/home/cots_project.html

It mentions media details and a prelaunch news conference scheduled for the day before.

Their twitter feed (also copied on their webcast page) also links to this with the text: "NASA announces plans for first Dragon test launch"

http://twitter.com/SpaceXer

It looks pretty solid that December 7 is the intended date.


Unrelated - It seems a private individual had already registered the handle "SpaceX" on twitter. From a quick search, it doesn't seem like there's any actualy connection between him and the company.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: butters on 12/01/2010 05:00 am
Aviation Week has Dragon doing four orbits, which is news to me, while SFN is repeating the earlier estimate of one to three orbits. Which do we believe is correct?

SFN also mentions that in addition to the NASA prelaunch briefing on Monday, there will also be another briefing about one hour after landing. So at the very least we won't have to wait too long to hear the good news. I'm feeling optimistic.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Lars_J on 12/01/2010 05:13 am
Unrelated - It seems a private individual had already registered the handle "SpaceX" on twitter. From a quick search, it doesn't seem like there's any actualy connection between him and the company.

'SpaceXer' appears to be an official SpaceX twitter account.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: RocketEconomist327 on 12/01/2010 04:33 pm
Static fire on Friday if everything goes right.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: simonbp on 12/01/2010 07:59 pm
Aviation Week has Dragon doing four orbits, which is news to me, while SFN is repeating the earlier estimate of one to three orbits. Which do we believe is correct?

"Up to four" may be what they mean, depending on various factors..
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: iamlucky13 on 12/01/2010 08:12 pm
Unrelated - It seems a private individual had already registered the handle "SpaceX" on twitter. From a quick search, it doesn't seem like there's any actualy connection between him and the company.

'SpaceXer' appears to be an official SpaceX twitter account.

Yep. It looks like someone else had already registered "SpaceX," so they had to settle for adding the '-er.'

Someone has from time to time posted webcam shots of the pad. Does anyone know to find those?
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: ugordan on 12/01/2010 08:16 pm
Someone has from time to time posted webcam shots of the pad. Does anyone know to find those?

From here? http://science.ksc.nasa.gov/shuttle/countdown/video/
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Comga on 12/01/2010 09:03 pm
Someone has from time to time posted webcam shots of the pad. Does anyone know to find those?

From here? http://science.ksc.nasa.gov/shuttle/countdown/video/

That's where I look for live KSC video.  SLC 40 used to be on channels 12 & 13.  Right now 12 is doing a weather map and 13 has been dark for a while.

PS Weather.com forecast for Tuesday is 0% chance of precipitiation, with partial clouds and a high of 66 degrees F.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: ugordan on 12/01/2010 10:07 pm
http://twitter.com/SpaceXer/status/10095788914905088

"SpaceX will webcast our static fire Friday AM. Falcon 9 will stand at the pad & test 9 Merlin engines at full force. SpaceX.com"
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: iamlucky13 on 12/01/2010 11:06 pm

That's where I look for live KSC video.  SLC 40 used to be on channels 12 & 13.  Right now 12 is doing a weather map and 13 has been dark for a while.

PS Weather.com forecast for Tuesday is 0% chance of precipitiation, with partial clouds and a high of 66 degrees F.

Thank you. So they're not continuously streaming? Oh well, still potentially useful.

Weather forecast looks great. Now if we could just have a forecast of the number of boaters who ignore restrictions.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: corrodedNut on 12/02/2010 03:49 pm
Now that we're getting close to the action, and there seems to be a little confusion about how and where to observe upcoming events, I thought I'd make a general post about the various available resources. I know this will seem remedial to most of you, but there are always lurkers and newcomers who may not have picked these up yet.

SpaceX social media-

Recently added to the bottom of http://www.spacex.com/ are links to all the official SpaceX social media:

Twitter:       http://twitter.com/SpaceXer and http://twitter.com/SpaceXmissions (these two seem to replace all previous twitter accounts)
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/SpaceX (you don't need a Facebook account to view this page)
Youtube:    http://www.youtube.com/spacexchannel (mostly the same as the SpaceX video page, but better rez for streaming)

The SpaceX update page: http://www.spacex.com/updates.php has not changed since Oct 4, social media accounts for the bulk of direct, albeit cursory updates since then.

The SpaceX webcast page: http://www.spacex.com/webcast.php from which all previous "live" webcasts have streamed, has changed in format in the last few weeks. It was up for the previous WDR, and likely so for upcoming events as well.
 
The NASA/KSC camera and/or video pages are:

http://countdown.ksc.nasa.gov/elv/ Four streaming cameras, with Windows Media Player or Real Player links for full-screen watching. These may or may not be on or pointed at SpaceX's pad (SLC-40) during actual events. Includes a count-down clock and other data.
 
http://science.ksc.nasa.gov/shuttle/countdown/video/video45lh.html These are video capture/stills from cameras all around KSC, some of which may be pointed towards SLC-40. This link will take you straight to the Max refresh rate of every 45 sec, but you can adjust this by going to the bottom of the page. This page and the previous one are cross-linked.

http://www.radioreference.com/apps/audio/?action=wp&feedId=705 This is a live streaming scanner feed of KSC communications, you can listen to two channels in stereo, left side = KSC trunked system /right side = Shuttle Landing Facility Tower, NASA weather aircraft, and support aircraft. This feed was very active during Falcon9 Flight 1 launch, and may be for the upcoming hotfire and launch as well.

If you prefer your live video accompanied by asinine chatting, you can load the SFN mission status center: http://www.spaceflightnow.com/falcon9/002/status.html the video source will probably be one of those above, but if for some reason all of these are embargoed or unavailable they might have a shaky long-distance camera aimed at the pad.
 
Saving the best for last, of course, are the LIVE events threads here at NSF.

Go Falcon, Go Dragon!

Edit: New additional twitter acct
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Antares on 12/03/2010 02:17 am
FAA, why haven't you updated your web site?
http://www.faa.gov/about/office_org/headquarters_offices/ast/launch_data/
http://www.faa.gov/about/office_org/headquarters_offices/ast/launch_data/upcoming_launch/
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Steven Pietrobon on 12/03/2010 06:14 am
Thanks very much corrodedNut! It will be 12:33 am here at the opening of the launch window, so hopefully there won't be too many delays. Looking forward to the NASA coverage as the hi-res stream from Space-X is too much for my ADSL modem.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: FinalFrontier on 12/03/2010 06:21 am
ok! I didn't think we were this close to launch, and have been tied up with work. So, when is the static fire and when is the current launch attempt? I just have not been able to keep up with the news lately due to work.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: butters on 12/03/2010 06:54 am
ok! I didn't think we were this close to launch, and have been tied up with work. So, when is the static fire and when is the current launch attempt? I just have not been able to keep up with the news lately due to work.

Static fire in just over six hours (Friday Dec 3 at 9:00AM EST). Webcast starts at 8:00AM EST.

Launch is scheduled for Tuesday Dec 7 at 9:03AM EST with the launch window extending to 12:22PM EST.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Chandonn on 12/03/2010 11:16 am
Update on Static Fire:

- Now scheduled for 12pm EST
- Webcast starts at 11am EST


http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=23454.msg665293;topicseen#new
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: mr. mark on 12/03/2010 12:17 pm
Spacex has on it's header the first ever picture of the finished Dragon going to static fire. She's beautiful! Nice capsule.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: ugordan on 12/03/2010 12:55 pm
Rollout
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: jabe on 12/03/2010 12:58 pm
Rollout
where did you get that pic?  going to be fun to see the pics they are taking..if successful mission I'm sure they will be doing lots of stories on it..PR blitz...
jb
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: mr. mark on 12/03/2010 01:01 pm
That's one clean machine. It doesn't get any better than that. It was worth the wait.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: butters on 12/03/2010 01:30 pm
At some point, SpaceX is going to have to start doing things on time at least some of the time. Maybe not this launch. Maybe not even the next launch. But at some point the learning curve is over, and it becomes unacceptable to miss nearly every single deadline they ever set.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: mr. mark on 12/03/2010 01:32 pm
Oh poo, butters are you saying that the shuttle Discovery launch was on time are you saying the last Delta 4 Heavy launch was on time....please!
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Robotbeat on 12/03/2010 01:33 pm
At some point, SpaceX is going to have to start doing things on time at least some of the time. Maybe not this launch. Maybe not even the next launch. But at some point the learning curve is over, and it becomes unacceptable to miss nearly every single deadline they ever set.
They set deadlines? I only remember things like "No-earlier-than" dates. And no, NET is not the same as "deadline."
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: butters on 12/03/2010 01:40 pm
Oh poo, butters are you saying that the shuttle discovery launch is on time are you saying the last Delta 4 launch is on time....please!

All launch providers miss their launch dates occasionally or even frequently, but the better providers meet their schedules more often than not, and nobody routinely slips every launch multiple times and stays in business.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: ugordan on 12/03/2010 01:42 pm
nobody routinely slips every launch multiple times and stays in business.

I think you'll agree SpaceX is still far from "routinely", at least when it comes to Falcon 9 and especially Dragon.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: jabe on 12/03/2010 02:04 pm
Rollout
Really high resolution pic at spacexer's twitpic page (http://twitpic.com/photos/SpaceXer)

http://twitpic.com/3chy52

edit..well..lots of pics now being added..
check out this dragon pic...
http://twitpic.com/3ci01m
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: ugordan on 12/03/2010 02:48 pm
check out this dragon pic...
http://twitpic.com/3ci01m

Is it me, or does the Dragon nosecone appear to be a 3-piece fairing and not two pieces usually depicted?
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: butters on 12/03/2010 03:11 pm
Slippity, slippity... NET 12:45PM now.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: corrodedNut on 12/03/2010 03:19 pm
check out this dragon pic...
http://twitpic.com/3ci01m

Is it me, or does the Dragon nosecone appear to be a 3-piece fairing and not two pieces usually depicted?

I saw that too, maybe just mold marks, but the "hinge" (?) for the nose cap is now covered with an aerodynamic fairing.  Doesn't appear to be another one (or two) on the opposite side.

I'm starting to think they've gone back to the original one-piece nosecap jettison.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: HOTTOL on 12/03/2010 03:23 pm
check out this dragon pic...
http://twitpic.com/3ci01m

Is it me, or does the Dragon nosecone appear to be a 3-piece fairing and not two pieces usually depicted?

Do you know if and where cameras are fitted on the payload part?
I guess the second stage one is stil there.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: mr. mark on 12/03/2010 03:25 pm
Hinge might be a bad description. Originally the nose cap was to hinge back during docking. Now it just seperates from the capsule.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: corrodedNut on 12/03/2010 03:28 pm
Do you know if and where cameras are fitted on the payload part?
I guess the second stage one is stil there.

If previous flights are an indication, the camera will will look "up" and "down".
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: HOTTOL on 12/03/2010 04:10 pm
Do you know if and where cameras are fitted on the payload part?
I guess the second stage one is stil there.

If previous flights are an indication, the camera will will look "up" and "down".

That I know and I saw it on Falcon 1 and Falcon 9 flights. But the camera has always been fitted on the second stage (apart from the Dragon drop test).
Do you know if there are more live camera on the trunk and/or Dragon for the comming flight ?
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Hauerg on 12/03/2010 05:20 pm
At some point, SpaceX is going to have to start doing things on time at least some of the time. Maybe not this launch. Maybe not even the next launch. But at some point the learning curve is over, and it becomes unacceptable to miss nearly every single deadline they ever set.

1. An "NET" is not a deadline
2. What does this tell us about the Shuttle? Shouldn't it be able to launch on time by now? Guess what, it still isn't.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: mr. mark on 12/03/2010 07:57 pm
Question: Why is the heatshield a camel color? I've never seen one with that color.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: simonbp on 12/03/2010 08:26 pm
Question: Why is the heatshield a camel color? I've never seen one with that color.

It's PICA-X: http://www.spacex.com/press.php?page=20090223

Only used beforehand on the Stardust capsule: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stardust_%28spacecraft%29

If Stardust is any indication, the heatshield will be pretty black by the time it hits the ocean...
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: ugordan on 12/03/2010 08:29 pm
The launch hazard area and restricted airspace map have now been posted at http://www.patrick.af.mil/
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: FinalFrontier on 12/04/2010 06:56 pm
Question about this flight: Are they going to have cameras or a camera mounted on the dragon spacecraft? Is dragon going to be fully pressurized on this flight?
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: ugordan on 12/04/2010 07:30 pm
Now that we're within 3 days of the scheduled launch date and a forecast can be made with a higher confidence level, how's the weather looking? Still favorable?

Edit: answering my own question, a weather forecast was issued by the 45th Weather Squadron: http://www.patrick.af.mil/shared/media/document/AFD-070716-028.pdf

Doesn't look too good for the 7th, high winds are a concern. Conditions improve on 8th and 9th.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: mnagy on 12/04/2010 07:43 pm
IIRC, the video streams from past flights always ended when they lost signal due to Earth curvature. Since they plan on making few orbits with dragon, can we assume that they have "enhanced" their communication capabilities so they can communicate with it even when it's out of reach (which I assume they will need to be able to do)? Or did they have these capabilities before, just not for the video?
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Jim on 12/04/2010 07:46 pm
IIRC, the video streams from past flights always ended when they lost signal due to Earth curvature. Since they plan on making few orbits with dragon, can we assume that they have "enhanced" their communication capabilities so they can communicate with it even when it's out of reach (which I assume they will need to be able to do)? Or did they have these capabilities before, just not for the video?

There has to be ground stations to receive the signals.  Dragon is using TDRSS but probably not for video.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Robotbeat on 12/04/2010 07:47 pm
IIRC, the video streams from past flights always ended when they lost signal due to Earth curvature. Since they plan on making few orbits with dragon, can we assume that they have "enhanced" their communication capabilities so they can communicate with it even when it's out of reach (which I assume they will need to be able to do)? Or did they have these capabilities before, just not for the video?
TDRS (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TDRS).
Dragon uses TDRS.
http://www.spacex.com/updates.php (and search for "TDRS" with your browser)
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: ugordan on 12/04/2010 07:51 pm
Would using TDRSS for video require using a directional high or mid gain antenna?
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Jim on 12/04/2010 07:51 pm
IIRC, the video streams from past flights always ended when they lost signal due to Earth curvature. Since they plan on making few orbits with dragon, can we assume that they have "enhanced" their communication capabilities so they can communicate with it even when it's out of reach (which I assume they will need to be able to do)? Or did they have these capabilities before, just not for the video?
TDRS (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TDRS).
Dragon uses TDRS.
http://www.spacex.com/updates.php (and search for "TDRS" with your browser)

That may be only for TT&C and not video.  Need larger antenna with pointing for video thru TDRSS
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Robotbeat on 12/04/2010 07:55 pm
IIRC, the video streams from past flights always ended when they lost signal due to Earth curvature. Since they plan on making few orbits with dragon, can we assume that they have "enhanced" their communication capabilities so they can communicate with it even when it's out of reach (which I assume they will need to be able to do)? Or did they have these capabilities before, just not for the video?
TDRS (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TDRS).
Dragon uses TDRS.
http://www.spacex.com/updates.php (and search for "TDRS" with your browser)

That may be only for TT&C and not video
That's true, however TDRSS has enough bandwidth for video (compressed), and SpaceX has tested TDRSS with the Dragon radio at that bandwidth:
Quote
The SpaceX communications flight hardware, developed with subcontractors Delta Microwave (Low Noise Amplifier), Quasonix (transmitter and receiver), and Haigh-Farr (antennas), emulated a complete Dragon spacecraft comm link, and successfully sent and received data through the TDRSS network. Commands were dispatched from our Hawthorne headquarters command station, to NASA JSC in Houston, across Texas to the TDRSS White Sands Ground Terminal, up to the TDRS 5 Spacecraft in geosynchronous orbit, and back down to the Dragon receiver on the ground in Hawthorne.

The test series demonstrated telemetry and command transmission at a variety of data rates up to 2.1 Mbps, and paves the way for using TDRSS on all fifteen of our Dragon missions for the COTS and Commercial Resupply Services (CRS) programs.
http://www.spacex.com/updates.php
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Jim on 12/04/2010 08:02 pm
That's true, however TDRSS has enough bandwidth for video (compressed), and SpaceX has tested TDRSS with the Dragon radio at that bandwidth:


So what is TT&C going to use if video is going to use that bandwith.

Spacex is not going to waste TDRSS bandwith on useless video.  TDRSS time is expensive. 

Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Robotbeat on 12/04/2010 08:06 pm
That's true, however TDRSS has enough bandwidth for video (compressed), and SpaceX has tested TDRSS with the Dragon radio at that bandwidth:


So what is TT&C going to use if video is going to use that bandwith
How much bandwidth does TT&C need?
1Mbps is plenty for SD video, if compressed.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: mr. mark on 12/04/2010 08:11 pm
One thing that hasn't been mentioned is how great this capsule looks. It's a great achievement for a company with only 1,100 employees. Sometimes we look at the minute details but, sometimes it's nice to look back at the thing and take it all in. A really great job, Spacex employees should be celebrated. 
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Jim on 12/04/2010 08:14 pm
One thing that hasn't been mentioned is how great this capsule looks.

5 person mockup company could do the same work if you are only interested in looks. 

Are you only interested in nuclear power plants that only look like they can contain all the radiation or are you interested in ones that can contain the radiation despite looks.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Lee Jay on 12/04/2010 08:15 pm
One thing that hasn't been mentioned is how great this capsule looks.

What's so great about it?  It's round and pointy on one end.   ???
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: mr. mark on 12/04/2010 08:24 pm
I guess you guys have no artistic background. If you did you would see the beauty in it. It's like coming home with a new car. I'm not an engineer, I come from an artistic/design based background. So for me, design is something to be admired even when it's simple and functional.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: FinalFrontier on 12/04/2010 08:30 pm
I guess you guys have no artistic background. If you did you would see the beauty in it. It's like coming home with a new car. I'm not an engineer, I come from an artistic/design based background. So for me, design is something to be admired even when it's simple and functional.
No I agree with you actually. Dragon looks pretty cool!!! I mean its not a delta winged beast like Shuttle, but nothing will ever come close to that again. Still, it looks AWESOME imo.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Lee Jay on 12/04/2010 08:38 pm
I'm sorry for being behind, but does anyone know the expected splash-down point and method of recovery?  Don't say "Pacific Ocean" as I don't really consider that a "point".
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Lee Jay on 12/04/2010 08:46 pm
I guess you guys have no artistic background. If you did you would see the beauty in it. It's like coming home with a new car.

I don't get the analogy - a new car is all about that new car smell.   ;)  And I do have an artistic background (photography).  I don't see the beauty in Dragon.  It's a cone with a hemisphere on top.  It's all function, just like is should be.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: ugordan on 12/04/2010 08:47 pm
So for me, design is something to be admired even when it's simple and functional.

In aerospace and rocketry function often comes before form. Yes, it's sleek looking but mostly because it needs to be. Aerodynamics, etc.

Hey, was it you who "urged" SpaceX to paint the separation bolts and cable trunks white back when the first F9 was rolled out?
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: ChuckC on 12/04/2010 09:01 pm
I guess you guys have no artistic background. If you did you would see the beauty in it. It's like coming home with a new car. I'm not an engineer, I come from an artistic/design based background. So for me, design is something to be admired even when it's simple and functional.
No I agree with you actually. Dragon looks pretty cool!!! I mean its not a delta winged beast like Shuttle, but nothing will ever come close to that again. Still, it looks AWESOME imo.


One thing that needs to be noted that is at least my opinion gives the Dragon an added coolness and beauty about it is the fact that this is a private sector space craft.  Yes, I know that Space X is getting both financial and technical help from NASA but it’s secondary not primary. Space X was going to do this with or with out NASA.

The point is that Space X is moving space flight into the private sector and the day the dragon carries its first crew to orbit it will break the government monopoly on manned space flight. That is a day will celibate. 
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: ChuckC on 12/04/2010 09:15 pm
I guess you guys have no artistic background. If you did you would see the beauty in it. It's like coming home with a new car.

I don't get the analogy - a new car is all about that new car smell.   ;)  And I do have an artistic background (photography).  I don't see the beauty in Dragon.  It's a cone with a hemisphere on top.  It's all function, just like is should be.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Even a pure functional form can be beautiful and while the Dragon is a cone with a hemisphere on top is also more than that. It is the way Space X packaged the function inside and out. The Soyuz is also a case pure functional form but I’ve always thought it was kind of ugly.   
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: HMXHMX on 12/04/2010 10:26 pm
I guess you guys have no artistic background. If you did you would see the beauty in it. It's like coming home with a new car. I'm not an engineer, I come from an artistic/design based background. So for me, design is something to be admired even when it's simple and functional.
No I agree with you actually. Dragon looks pretty cool!!! I mean its not a delta winged beast like Shuttle, but nothing will ever come close to that again. Still, it looks AWESOME imo.


One thing that needs to be noted that is at least my opinion gives the Dragon an added coolness and beauty about it is the fact that this is a private sector space craft.  Yes, I know that Space X is getting both financial and technical help from NASA but it’s secondary not primary. Space X was going to do this with or with out NASA.

The point is that Space X is moving space flight into the private sector and the day the dragon carries its first crew to orbit it will break the government monopoly on manned space flight. That is a day will celibate. 


While in no way diminishing the financial commitment SpaceX's investors have made, the taxpayers have made more.  More than 2:1, from published data.

But if it works, it will be a bargain, at less than the price of one or two Delta IVHs. 
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: ChefPat on 12/04/2010 11:31 pm

The point is that Space X is moving space flight into the private sector and the day the dragon carries its first crew to orbit it will break the government monopoly on manned space flight. That is a day I will celibate

I sure as hell won't!!! :o
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: mr. mark on 12/04/2010 11:54 pm
Hey it was me who wished that they were painted white and look, they did it LOL. Kidding aside Falcon 9 is one classy looking ride. Let's hope it flies as good as it looks.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Antares on 12/04/2010 11:54 pm
Yes, I know that Space X is getting both financial and technical help from NASA but it’s secondary not primary. Space X was going to do this with or with out NASA.

That last sentence is, thanks to the option of hiding the posts of other habitual offenders, the least correct thing I've ever read on NSF.  The first sentence is not much better.  NASA has paid ~$360M so far and helped SpaceX on all of its design reviews.  Without NASA, SpaceX wouldn't have flown a F9 (since their original plan was incremental build up F1-F5-F9) and wouldn't have more than a Dragon OML on paper.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: pathfinder_01 on 12/05/2010 12:00 am
Yes, I know that Space X is getting both financial and technical help from NASA but it’s secondary not primary. Space X was going to do this with or with out NASA.

That last sentence is, thanks to the option of hiding the posts of other habitual offenders, the least correct thing I've ever read on NSF.  The first sentence is not much better.  NASA has paid ~$360M so far and helped SpaceX on all of its design reviews.  Without NASA, SpaceX wouldn't have flown a F9 (since their original plan was incremental build up F1-F5-F9) and wouldn't have more than a Dragon OML on paper.

360M is a heck of a bargin compared to Ares 1. Billions were put into the project yet even NASA'S expertise could not keep  CXP on a sane schedule.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Antares on 12/05/2010 12:15 am
I'll assume you're being sarcastic about NASA's expertise at architecting CxP.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: cuddihy on 12/05/2010 12:28 am
Yes, I know that Space X is getting both financial and technical help from NASA but it’s secondary not primary. Space X was going to do this with or with out NASA.

That last sentence is, thanks to the option of hiding the posts of other habitual offenders, the least correct thing I've ever read on NSF.  The first sentence is not much better.  NASA has paid ~$360M so far and helped SpaceX on all of its design reviews.  Without NASA, SpaceX wouldn't have flown a F9 (since their original plan was incremental build up F1-F5-F9) and wouldn't have more than a Dragon OML on paper.

360M is a heck of a bargin compared to Ares 1. Billions were put into the project yet even NASA'S expertise could not keep  CXP on a sane schedule.

Yes, and for an encore we'll see how Congress' expertise compares...
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: SpacexULA on 12/05/2010 01:05 am
Without NASA, SpaceX wouldn't have flown a F9 (since their original plan was incremental build up F1-F5-F9) and wouldn't have more than a Dragon OML on paper.

http://www.flightglobal.com/articles/2008/04/15/222995/picture-uk-built-spacex-capsule-revealed.html

Ummm they where a little further along than that on a capsule for Falcon 5.

Your major point stands, but I think they would have been a little further along than a OML on paper.

If they had not won COTS, they would have likely put off Merlin 1C (originally it was to be a down the road upgrade), likely meaning the Falcon 1 Flight 3 would not have been as delayed (Flight 3 was delayed for Merlin 1C dev), and considering the trust transient of the Merlin 1C was the culprit of the Flight 3 failure, they might have got to orbit on Flight 3 instead of 4.

I don't think anyone could really say where SpaceX would be if they had not got COTS funding.  But I would wager that Falcon 1 would be launching regularly to generate the revenue for Falcon 5 instead of focusing so much on the MLV.

BTW the rest of your post I agree with 100%
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Nate_Trost on 12/05/2010 01:30 am
But I would wager that Falcon 1 would be launching regularly to generate the revenue for Falcon 5 instead of focusing so much on the MLV.

How? It's not like there are dozens of customers coming out of the woodwork for Falcon 1. Lets be generous and give them a flight rate of 3 a year at an average mission cost of $10 million, which is well over the listed Falcon 1 prices from years past.  On $30 million a year, it will take them years to pay off the development investment for the Falcon 1, much less generating revenue to fund a Falcon 5, much less fund Dragon.

Somebody would have had to sink several hundred million dollars of investment in to make it happen, it wasn't going to bootstrap from Falcon 1.

That UK capsule was a interesting piece of capsule prototyping. It also isn't a Dragon. I'd wager the cost of developing the flight software alone for Dragon is 20x-30x the cost of that prototype.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: pathfinder_01 on 12/05/2010 01:36 am
How? It's not like there are dozens of customers coming out of the woodwork for Falcon 1. Lets be generous and give them a flight rate of 3 a year at an average mission cost of $10 million, which is well over the listed Falcon 1 prices from years past.  On $30 million a year, it will take them years to pay off the development investment for the Falcon 1, much less generating revenue to fund a Falcon 5, much less fund Dragon.

Somebody would have had to sink several hundred million dollars of investment in to make it happen, it wasn't going to bootstrap from Falcon 1.

That UK capsule was a interesting piece of capsule prototyping. It also isn't a Dragon. I'd wager the cost of developing the flight software alone for Dragon is 20x-30x the cost of that prototype.

Faclon 1 was for two reasons to get legitimate so that you can attract investors. In addition Falcon 9 and Falcon 1 share as many systems as possible.  What NASA money did was allow them to skip falcon 5.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: mr. mark on 12/05/2010 02:23 am
Just had a WOW moment when I realized that this will be the first US based capsule in space since Apollo/Soyuz in 1975. Apollo also started out as unmanned capsules with Apollo missions 4,5 and 6. That a company of 1,100 people is doing this is an outstanding accomplishment! Congrats' Spacex.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: david1971 on 12/05/2010 02:45 am
Just had a WOW moment when I realized that this will be the first US based capsule in space since Apollo/Soyuz in 1975.

With the return of X-37, I was wondering what was the last thing that went up on an Atlas that was designed to come back down.  Could it really be a Mercury capsule?
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: vt_hokie on 12/05/2010 02:48 am
Just had a WOW moment when I realized that this will be the first US based capsule in space since Apollo/Soyuz in 1975.

Can't say I'm too enthused about us regressing back to capsules myself. 
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: mr. mark on 12/05/2010 02:54 am
Growing up with capsules, I have no problem with them. It really is a falsehood to think that they are any less safe than a space plane. In fact capsules have been flying since the beginning of the space program and I think that only one manned vehicle's chutes failed to open and that was a early soyuz vehicle. They have a good safety record considering all of the launches using them.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: e of pi on 12/05/2010 02:57 am
Just had a WOW moment when I realized that this will be the first US based capsule in space since Apollo/Soyuz in 1975.

Can't say I'm too enthused about us regressing back to capsules myself. 

Personally I find capsules much cooler than space planes. It may be because I've never had one fly in my lifetime, but I think it's more because capsules are supposed to go places. Space planes go to space stations, or someplace else in LEO. Capsules are a bit more go-anywhere in my mind, especially Dragon with the speculation that it's capable of direct entry from lunar return or whatever. And yeah, it's pretty. The shuttles look...worn out, and they have in every image I've seen of them thats been taken since I was born.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Jim on 12/05/2010 03:01 am
Just had a WOW moment when I realized that this will be the first US based capsule in space since Apollo/Soyuz in 1975.

With the return of X-37, I was wondering what was the last thing that went up on an Atlas that was designed to come back down.  Could it really be a Mercury capsule?

Gambit SRV
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: SpacexULA on 12/05/2010 03:01 am
Just had a WOW moment when I realized that this will be the first US based capsule in space since Apollo/Soyuz in 1975.
Can't say I'm too enthused about us regressing back to capsules myself. 
Can't say that I see it as a regression, you just can't get much more fail safe than a capsule with an LAS on the way up and a ballistic capsule with redundant parachutes on the way down.

In an environment where 1 LOC event can mean the end of a program I would rather go for the reliability of survival over cost savings/performance.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Rhyshaelkan on 12/05/2010 03:35 am
Do we have a T-0 for Tuesday? and a window perhaps?
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Antares on 12/05/2010 03:54 am
Space planes aren't meant to go places.  They're meant for entry cross-range.  Period.  Engineering is about requirements.  Form follows function.  Anything else is suboptimized.  Engineers prefer the most elegant solution, not the best looking one.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: NotGncDude on 12/05/2010 04:03 am
Yes, I know that Space X is getting both financial and technical help from NASA but it’s secondary not primary. Space X was going to do this with or with out NASA.

That last sentence is, thanks to the option of hiding the posts of other habitual offenders, the least correct thing I've ever read on NSF.  The first sentence is not much better.  NASA has paid ~$360M so far and helped SpaceX on all of its design reviews.  Without NASA, SpaceX wouldn't have flown a F9 (since their original plan was incremental build up F1-F5-F9) and wouldn't have more than a Dragon OML on paper.

"Help" ? What "help" ?
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: vt_hokie on 12/05/2010 04:14 am
Space planes aren't meant to go places. 

Oh, I'd be more excited about Dragon if it was going to send humans beyond LEO anytime soon, rather than just ferrying supplies to ISS!

Still, there's nothing as beautiful as a spaceplane landing on a runway to me!  The X-37B landing images represent what 21st century spaceflight should look like, imo.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Patchouli on 12/05/2010 05:11 am
Space planes aren't meant to go places.  They're meant for entry cross-range.  Period.  Engineering is about requirements.  Form follows function.  Anything else is suboptimized.  Engineers prefer the most elegant solution, not the best looking one.

That's a bit over simplified as LM preferred a lifting body and only went to a ballistic capsule because of NASA's insistence.
It's very surprising they won the Orion contract instead of Boeing as Boeing's vehicle was more along the lines of what Orion became.

Though in some ways the LM cev is more like a capsule in that it does make use of a separate mission module.

In this way Dragon acts more like a space plane as most of it's major systems stay with the reentry vehicle.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: mr. mark on 12/05/2010 06:22 am
Thought this was about COTS 1 not about lifting bodies. Anyone have any specifics yet on when launch window is scheduled for Tuesday?
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Patchouli on 12/05/2010 06:51 am
Thought this was about COTS 1 not about lifting bodies. Anyone have any specifics yet on when launch window is scheduled for Tuesday?
9:03 a.m. to 12:22 p.m. EST
http://www.nasa.gov/home/hqnews/2010/nov/HQ_M10-168_SpaceX_Launch.html
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: tigerade on 12/05/2010 08:18 am
Thought this was about COTS 1 not about lifting bodies. Anyone have any specifics yet on when launch window is scheduled for Tuesday?
9:03 a.m. to 12:22 p.m. EST
http://www.nasa.gov/home/hqnews/2010/nov/HQ_M10-168_SpaceX_Launch.html

I usually sleep in much later than that.  Looks like I'll be setting my alarm on Tuesday.  :) 

I don't care if it ends up being delayed.  I can't miss this launch!
Title: Re: LIVE: Space Falcon 9 Flight 2 Static Fire - December 4, 2010
Post by: MP99 on 12/05/2010 10:55 am
Post moved over from the Flight 2 Static Fire Live thread (with extra quoting), as off-topic over there:-

Oops - deleted by mistake.

Can someone send me a copy from their subscribed mail??? Thanks!

cheers, Martin
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: MP99 on 12/05/2010 10:55 am
Thought this was about COTS 1 not about lifting bodies. Anyone have any specifics yet on when launch window is scheduled for Tuesday?
9:03 a.m. to 12:22 p.m. EST
http://www.nasa.gov/home/hqnews/2010/nov/HQ_M10-168_SpaceX_Launch.html

Re above post:-

Quote
This is the first of three test launches currently planned in the Falcon 9 test flight series. It is intended as a demonstration mission to prove key capabilities such as launch, structural integrity of the Dragon spacecraft, on-orbit operation, re-entry, descent and splashdown in the Pacific Ocean.

cheers, Martin
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: arnezami on 12/05/2010 11:01 am
I believe SpaceX have a COTS-C contract, right? Or do they have a combined COTS-B + COTS-C contract?

If the return trip fails (but does no harm to anyone) I guess it's a good demo from a COTS-B perspective:

Quote
Capability B: Internal cargo delivery and disposal. Capability B delivers cargo (payloads) that operate within a volume maintained at normal atmospheric pressure to a LEO test bed and safely disposes cargo.


But probably not from a COTS-C perspective:
Quote
Capability C: Internal cargo delivery and return. Capability C delivers cargo (payloads) that operate within a volume maintained at normal atmospheric pressure to a LEO test bed and safely returns cargo.

link (http://www.globalsecurity.org/space/systems/cots.htm)
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: joshcryer on 12/05/2010 11:39 am
I believe SpaceX have a COTS-C contract, right? Or do they have a combined COTS-B + COTS-C contract?

100% correct. They have COTS-A-C, which means that they don't have to successfully reenter on this try, indeed, they won't be required until they do Demo-3 (COTS-C).

However, it goes without saying that of course they will want to successfully reenter on all three tries.

edit: plus SpaceX could always do with a free Dragon module. The more the merrier (if they can successfully return all of their Dragon modules they will have 15 Dragon modules paid for by the taxpayer; NASA does not want reused Dragon modules).
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Chris Bergin on 12/05/2010 12:40 pm
Just so the new people are aware about how we do these events, we'll be starting a new thread for Tuesday's launch attempt, in the same way as we did with the static fire.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: joshcryer on 12/05/2010 02:40 pm
Thanks for the heads up Chris, I was going to ask that but didn't want to ask a help desk type question and just was going to wait and see.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Antares on 12/05/2010 02:42 pm
I guess, but that is not what Antares was talking about.  He suggested that failing to recover Dragon would affect payments for delivering cargo.  Which doesn't make a lot of sense to me.

Y'all are kidding, right?  You think NASA is going to happily continue on the schedule of the next two Demos and then the operational missions if there's a major anomaly on this one?  Dragon is the only downmass available after STS ends.  (shakes head)
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Plasursci on 12/05/2010 04:23 pm
Y'all are kidding, right?  You think NASA is going to happily continue on the schedule of the next two Demos and then the operational missions if there's a major anomaly on this one?  Dragon is the only downmass available after STS ends.  (shakes head)

Only a single major anomaly? Yes, I think it's quite possible that NASA would happily continue with the next two demonstrations, as long as the anomaly is not too far out of scope of the sorts of issues that commonly occur in new spacecraft buses.

If the Falcon reaches orbit and the tests verify that Dragon's in-space capabilities meet the requirements for one-way resupply missions with few hiccups, I will personally be impressed and happy, even if it fails to return. I suspect the COTS office would be reasonably happy with such a result, too. (I'd obviously still expect jeers from those without an understanding of engineering or of aerospace flight testing, and I'd expect expressions of Schadenfreude from some with conflicting interests, but I don't think they'll have many more opportunities for much Freude.)

Now, if a postmortem indicates a constellation of major anomalies—an Apollo 1– or Soyuz 1–scale exposition of sloppy engineering—I will be concerned. The magnitude of the spectacle of the failure won't indicate that, however. It could tumble wildly out of control in orbit or careen to a Genesis-style splashdown and still be an otherwise well-designed spacecraft.

NASA understands that flight testing can (and probably will) expose problems that need to be corrected. If we thought we could completely verify the requirements on the ground, we wouldn't even bother with the demonstration flights—we'd proceed directly to cargo resupply.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Hauerg on 12/05/2010 04:43 pm
I guess, but that is not what Antares was talking about.  He suggested that failing to recover Dragon would affect payments for delivering cargo.  Which doesn't make a lot of sense to me.

Y'all are kidding, right?  You think NASA is going to happily continue on the schedule of the next two Demos and then the operational missions if there's a major anomaly on this one?  Dragon is the only downmass available after STS ends.  (shakes head)

You answer your own question: STS will be gone and NASA does not have a lot of options. And before COTS there was no option (to Soyuz) at all.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Avron on 12/05/2010 05:05 pm
I guess, but that is not what Antares was talking about.  He suggested that failing to recover Dragon would affect payments for delivering cargo.  Which doesn't make a lot of sense to me.

Y'all are kidding, right?  You think NASA is going to happily continue on the schedule of the next two Demos and then the operational missions if there's a major anomaly on this one?  Dragon is the only downmass available after STS ends.  (shakes head)

You answer your own question: STS will be gone and NASA does not have a lot of options. And before COTS there was no option (to Soyuz) at all.

I also don't see any other option that to continue, even on a Major malfunction.. the stats, say that there must be one.. if you try the risk is there.. if you are in this business or any other that takes on risks this level, then I cannot see why one would not continue to support the efforts.. its make in the USA and I can see that been the prime driver shortly..

Now ATK will need to be covered as well.. but that's another discussion...
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: SpacexULA on 12/05/2010 05:09 pm
Y'all are kidding, right?  You think NASA is going to happily continue on the schedule of the next two Demos and then the operational missions if there's a major anomaly on this one?  Dragon is the only downmass available after STS ends.  (shakes head)

I thought there was a basic sliding scale off success and outcomes possible for spacex on this launch.

Perfect Launch/Perfect inorbit performance/Perfect recovery: Very likely COTS2/3 combination
Perfect Launch/perfect inorbit perfornace/non recovery: possbile COTS2/3 combination
Pefect Launch/non perfect inorbit performance (but completes goals of COTS1): Cots 2 & 3 stay seperate fligths
Offnominal launch or falure to complete COTS1 goals, repeat of COTS1

Am I way off here?
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Rhyshaelkan on 12/05/2010 07:40 pm
Thought this was about COTS 1 not about lifting bodies. Anyone have any specifics yet on when launch window is scheduled for Tuesday?
9:03 a.m. to 12:22 p.m. EST
http://www.nasa.gov/home/hqnews/2010/nov/HQ_M10-168_SpaceX_Launch.html

I usually sleep in much later than that.  Looks like I'll be setting my alarm on Tuesday.  :) 

I don't care if it ends up being delayed.  I can't miss this launch!

Yupper I work third shift. But I wanted to know the window so that I did not miss the launch. Due to living through Challenger and Columbia, there is always a rush of anxiety and hope that accompanies a launch. Watching it recorded loses that feeling ;)

Go SpaceX!
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: tigerade on 12/05/2010 08:31 pm
Yupper I work third shift. But I wanted to know the window so that I did not miss the launch. Due to living through Challenger and Columbia, there is always a rush of anxiety and hope that accompanies a launch. Watching it recorded loses that feeling ;)

Go SpaceX!

Yeah I work 2nd shift here.  I usually get up bright and early at 2pm each day.   :P

However, I will be getting up much earlier on Tuesday!  It will be awesome to see the Falcon 9 fly again, however it will be even better if we get footage of Dragon's re-entry later on.  Does anyone know if the Dragon is equipped with a camera like in the drop test?  If so, it would be awesome to see it return to Earth.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Jim on 12/05/2010 10:35 pm
Y'all are kidding, right?  You think NASA is going to happily continue on the schedule of the next two Demos and then the operational missions if there's a major anomaly on this one?  Dragon is the only downmass available after STS ends.  (shakes head)

Only a single major anomaly? Yes, I think it's quite possible that NASA would happily continue with the next two demonstrations, as long as the anomaly is not too far out of scope of the sorts of issues that commonly occur in new spacecraft buses.

If the Falcon reaches orbit and the tests verify that Dragon's in-space capabilities meet the requirements for one-way resupply missions with few hiccups, I will personally be impressed and happy, even if it fails to return. I suspect the COTS office would be reasonably happy with such a result, too. (I'd obviously still expect jeers from those without an understanding of engineering or of aerospace flight testing, and I'd expect expressions of Schadenfreude from some with conflicting interests, but I don't think they'll have many more opportunities for much Freude.)

Now, if a postmortem indicates a constellation of major anomalies—an Apollo 1– or Soyuz 1–scale exposition of sloppy engineering—I will be concerned. The magnitude of the spectacle of the failure won't indicate that, however. It could tumble wildly out of control in orbit or careen to a Genesis-style splashdown and still be an otherwise well-designed spacecraft.

NASA understands that flight testing can (and probably will) expose problems that need to be corrected. If we thought we could completely verify the requirements on the ground, we wouldn't even bother with the demonstration flights—we'd proceed directly to cargo resupply.

You don't know where Antares works or has worked.  You don't understand NASA
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: beancounter on 12/06/2010 12:14 am
 I guess it will depend on what the anomoly is as to how critical it will be to future demo flights and NASA's response.
I'll go with an pretty much perfect flight but I know that the stat's are not on SpaceX's side.  However just 'cause they aren't, doesn't mean that SpaceX will fail.  They beat the stat's last time around, even with a couple of issues, so they could do it again.
All the best SpaceX.
BTW, launch window starts at 3.03am Wednesday morning where I am.  Early to bed for me,  :)
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: TOG on 12/06/2010 02:24 pm

It will be awesome to see the Falcon 9 fly again, however it will be even better if we get footage of Dragon's re-entry later on.  Does anyone know if the Dragon is equipped with a camera like in the drop test?  If so, it would be awesome to see it return to Earth.

Very much looking forward to seeing AS MUCH AS WE POSSIBLY CAN!!!  But I was wondering - will SpaceX be putting up any live cargo?  Perhaps some mice and bugs?  If not, how will they test the internal pressure integrity of the Dragon?

Oh, and Santa, I want LOTS AND LOTS of PICTURES!  And a Successful Falcon 9 launch!  And Live coverage of the Successful Splashdown of the Dragon Capsule!  Please?
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: kevin-rf on 12/06/2010 02:36 pm

Very much looking forward to seeing AS MUCH AS WE POSSIBLY CAN!!!  But I was wondering - will SpaceX be putting up any live cargo?  Perhaps some mice and bugs?  If not, how will they test the internal pressure integrity of the Dragon?


And risk the wrath of the PETA crowd for obtaining data that can be (and probably will be) recorded with a simple data logger?
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: kkattula on 12/06/2010 02:41 pm
IIRC, It doesn't matter whether Demo 1 succeeds or fails.  They move on to COTS Demo 2. The only difference might be in convincing NASA to combine 2 & 3. But I don't see why they would. The last milestone payment is incredibly cheap for the confidence of an extra test flight before CRS starts.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: ugordan on 12/06/2010 02:43 pm
IIRC, It doesn't matter whether Demo 1 succeeds or fails.

It doesn't matter for COTS, but it matters for ISS ultimately. Any significant anomaly and we're bound to lose a year or so of failure root cause analysis, etc. That pushes everything to the right even more.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: go4mars on 12/06/2010 02:45 pm

Very much looking forward to seeing AS MUCH AS WE POSSIBLY CAN!!!  But I was wondering - will SpaceX be putting up any live cargo?  Perhaps some mice and bugs?  If not, how will they test the internal pressure integrity of the Dragon?


And risk the wrath of the PETA crowd for obtaining data that can be (and probably will be) recorded with a simple data logger?

That's win-win.  If it goes right, it's more exciting.  If it goes wrong, some cute vegetarians do a nude protest just outside your office window with "Go Vegan" painted on their hindquarters for the cameras.  Not all bad...  btw, they can have the mice in my garage.  I'm planning to kill those anyways.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Kabloona on 12/06/2010 03:10 pm
SFN reporting only 40% chance of launch Tuesday due to wind. Anyone know what exactly is the wind speed threshold for F9 launch?
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: ugordan on 12/06/2010 03:23 pm
There will be a 45th Wing weather officer at the L-1 press conference today so we may find that out.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Avron on 12/06/2010 03:34 pm
There will be a 45th Wing weather officer at the L-1 press conference today so we may find that out.

What time is that L-1 press conf?
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Avron on 12/06/2010 03:36 pm
There will be a 45th Wing weather officer at the L-1 press conference today so we may find that out.

What time is that L-1 press conf?

"PRELAUNCH NEWS CONFERENCE
The prelaunch news conference for the COTS 1 Falcon 9 launch is planned for L-1, currently Monday, Dec. 6 at 1:30 p.m., at the press site at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. NASA Television will provide live coverage, and the briefing will be streamed at "
ref: www.nasa.gov
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: kevin-rf on 12/06/2010 03:42 pm

Very much looking forward to seeing AS MUCH AS WE POSSIBLY CAN!!!  But I was wondering - will SpaceX be putting up any live cargo?  Perhaps some mice and bugs?  If not, how will they test the internal pressure integrity of the Dragon?


And risk the wrath of the PETA crowd for obtaining data that can be (and probably will be) recorded with a simple data logger?

That's win-win.  If it goes right, it's more exciting.  If it goes wrong, some cute vegetarians do a nude protest just outside your office window with "Go Vegan" painted on their hindquarters for the cameras.  Not all bad...  btw, they can have the mice in my garage.  I'm planning to kill those anyways.

And if the cute little rabbit you sent up got out of it's cage and chewed through the wiring in the dragon causing an untraceable failure that leads to it becoming rabbit stew for what should rightly be calamari? What does that do for the ISS? It adds unnecessary complication to obtain info on events they will already have in the telemetry.

Besides, does SpaceX meet all the standards you need to meet for animal testing? If you want a crash test dummy, send Elon up ;)
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: kking on 12/06/2010 04:45 pm
I got a question. Unless I've missed it somewhere. Is there a press kit or something that has mission profile, duration, how much coverage. Reason I asked. NASA has said they will have a press confernce 1 hour after splashdown. Nothing on NASA or Spacex sites

Thanks Kyle King
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Space Pete on 12/06/2010 05:18 pm
Quote from: Robert Pearlman via Twitter
SpaceX lowered its Falcon 9 rocket this morning for reasons still unknown. Today's media photo opp with the rocket is reportedly canceled.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Gravity Ray on 12/06/2010 05:24 pm
Don’t have an official press kit, but the mission profile from what I read goes something like this:

Testing the fixes to the Falcon 9 rocket (for example the unplanned roll of the Falcon rocket during flight1) and get a cleaner launch.

For the Dragon I think they will get it separated and communicating. Then do some orbital maneuvering and then some reentry tests of the capsule. Then see about landing the capsule in one largish piece. Its not going to be complicated, they only have a few hours.


Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Jim on 12/06/2010 05:26 pm
Quote from: Robert Pearlman via Twitter
SpaceX lowered its Falcon 9 rocket this morning for reasons still unknown. Today's media photo opp with the rocket is reportedly canceled.

It is vertical at this time
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: stockman on 12/06/2010 05:37 pm
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: stockman on 12/06/2010 05:37 pm
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: jabe on 12/06/2010 05:40 pm
thursday is earliest launch date now...
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: stockman on 12/06/2010 05:40 pm
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: jongoff on 12/06/2010 05:40 pm
I didn't catch what she was saying about the 2nd stage nozzle?
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: stockman on 12/06/2010 05:41 pm
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: stockman on 12/06/2010 05:42 pm
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: ugordan on 12/06/2010 05:42 pm
I didn't catch what she was saying about the 2nd stage nozzle?

Something about detecting something in the clouseout photos. Want to investigate, if no new nozzle is needed launch is NET Thursday. If a new nozzle is needed I heard a NET Friday or Saturday.

If they did lower the vehicle to check this out, I don't understand why they'd erect it back up as Jim observed if there needs to be work done. For the post-conference photo-op only?
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: stockman on 12/06/2010 05:45 pm
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: stockman on 12/06/2010 05:48 pm
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: stockman on 12/06/2010 05:48 pm
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Robotbeat on 12/06/2010 05:59 pm
They see some porosity, perhaps some cracking, on a weld joint during final close-out.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: ugordan on 12/06/2010 06:00 pm
They see some porosity, perhaps some cracking, on a weld joint during final close-out.

...and the vehicle is now vertical because they're doing some TVC wiggle tests.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: KSC Engineer on 12/06/2010 06:00 pm
She said welding issues with the nozzle....if not Thursday then Friday or Saturday.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: joshcryer on 12/06/2010 06:01 pm
That's really really something you would have expected QC to catch, imho.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: baldusi on 12/06/2010 06:01 pm
Besides, does SpaceX meet all the standards you need to meet for animal testing? If you want a crash test dummy, send Elon up ;)
I was thinking. If they want to make a human rated emergency capsule, couldn't they send up a test dummy with a normal supply capsule when supplying the ISS? If I'm not mistaken, a capsule human rated for down mass would be quite simpler than having it go up human rated. And it could be an interesting middle development.
Of course, if the price is right, a true test of the LAS inflight would be cooler. Like activating the self destruct, and letting the LAS detect the catastrophic failure and having a couple of test dummies in the capsule survive that. Can you imagine that?
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: KSC Engineer on 12/06/2010 06:01 pm
anyone know what a "wiggle" test means?
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: joshcryer on 12/06/2010 06:02 pm
anyone know what a "wiggle" test means?

Testing the whole vector space of the control rods on the nozzle. Basically what STS does every time it flies. :)
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Jim on 12/06/2010 06:03 pm
anyone know what a "wiggle" test means?

TVC test
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: KSC Engineer on 12/06/2010 06:05 pm
anyone know what a "wiggle" test means?

TVC test

Thanks Jim.   Glad to hear that she said "SpaceX is very open, transparent and public about their missions.  We don't have a muzzle on our data."   Cool - I hope to see that going forward.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Avron on 12/06/2010 06:08 pm
Bill... How much insight does nasa have on any other launch vendor..

???

Come on now.. you have no future vision...  show me some vision or sit back and support Made in USA...
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Jim on 12/06/2010 06:12 pm
Bill... How much insight does nasa have on any other launch vendor..

???

Come on now.. you have no future vision...  show me some vision or sit back and support Made in USA...

I don't understand this.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: kevin-rf on 12/06/2010 06:15 pm
I was thinking. If they want to make a human rated emergency capsule, couldn't they send up a test dummy with a normal supply capsule when supplying the ISS? If I'm not mistaken, a capsule human rated for down mass would be quite simpler than having it go up human rated. And it could be an interesting middle development.

It boils down to thermal management, A capsule with a biological in it requires more robust thermal management than cargo.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: joshcryer on 12/06/2010 06:15 pm
Thanks Jim.   Glad to hear that she said "SpaceX is very open, transparent and public about their missions.  We don't have a muzzle on our data."   Cool - I hope to see that going forward.

Only difference is that you have to be on their FaceBook page if you want to find stuff out, rather than being an insider.  :D
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: KSC Engineer on 12/06/2010 06:15 pm
Is it common to get an inclination waiver from the FAA to fly over Europe on a test flight per an earlier discussion during the press conference?
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: kevin-rf on 12/06/2010 06:18 pm
That's really really something you would have expected QC to catch, imho.

By the same token, it was missed on Delta III flight two, and the RL-10 has more flight history than all of SpaceX.

I look at it as a positive, QC found something and they are taking the time to go back to it.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Robotbeat on 12/06/2010 06:20 pm
They're going to fly thousands of patches in the Dragon capsule for this flight.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: joshcryer on 12/06/2010 06:22 pm
kevin-rf, very true, they caught it during QC. Felt silly after writing that, but you of course know I meant in the manufacture stage. I just can't think of what could cause that issue during shipping or during the test fires, glad they caught it, and it does indicate that their QC is good so far.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: dsmillman on 12/06/2010 06:29 pm
It was mentioned during the briefing that there is a press kit available for this flight.  Does anyone have a URL for the press kit?
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: stockman on 12/06/2010 06:30 pm
press breifing now over
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Robotbeat on 12/06/2010 06:31 pm
SpaceX thanks NASA at the end.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: ugordan on 12/06/2010 06:31 pm
I'll second that. It looks like the press kit has the patch for this mission printed on the front page.

Edit: here's the patch: http://www.collectspace.com/ubb/Forum18/HTML/000601.html#spacex_f9cots1patch01

Obligatory four-leaf clover included, we'll see if it pays off.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: yg1968 on 12/06/2010 06:33 pm
There was a lot of tough questions from the reporters. Some good questions but not too many soft balls.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Robotbeat on 12/06/2010 06:34 pm
There was a lot of tough questions from the reporters. Some good questions but not too many soft balls.
I don't understand that. I mean, why does SpaceX get treated that way when NASA doesn't?
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: rdale on 12/06/2010 06:36 pm
There was a lot of tough questions from the reporters. Some good questions but not too many soft balls.
I don't understand that. I mean, why does SpaceX get treated that way when NASA doesn't?

Can you give an example of the type of question asked here that you don't hear asked at a shuttle presser?
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: ugordan on 12/06/2010 06:37 pm
Edit: here's the patch: http://www.collectspace.com/ubb/Forum18/HTML/000601.html#spacex_f9cots1patch01

Obligatory four-leaf clover included, we'll see if it pays off.

Would the 3 stars signify the 3 piggybacked payloads?
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: KSC Engineer on 12/06/2010 06:40 pm
Nice looking patch.   Does anyone know the derivation of the Dragon symbol and logo?
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Herb Schaltegger on 12/06/2010 06:42 pm
Nice looking patch.   Does anyone know the derivation of the Dragon symbol and logo?

Um . . . what? It's a dragon.  ???
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Robotbeat on 12/06/2010 06:42 pm
Edit: here's the patch: http://www.collectspace.com/ubb/Forum18/HTML/000601.html#spacex_f9cots1patch01

Obligatory four-leaf clover included, we'll see if it pays off.

Would the 3 stars signify the 3 piggybacked payloads?
Here's the previous Press Kit (for inaugural Falcon 9 flight):
http://www.nbbd.com/events/spacex/100604-Falcon9PressKit.pdf
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: kking on 12/06/2010 06:44 pm
Jay Barbree had tough questions. Somebody mentioned the press kit. Is it online anywhere. I just checked NASA and Spacex homepage neither had it listed.

Kyle
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: yg1968 on 12/06/2010 06:44 pm
There was a lot of tough questions from the reporters. Some good questions but not too many soft balls.
I don't understand that. I mean, why does SpaceX get treated that way when NASA doesn't?

Can you give an example of the type of question asked here that you don't hear asked at a shuttle presser?

A lot of questions were about the costs of the COTS program. You don't hear those kind of questions for Shuttle. But I think that the questions about costs are fair given the fact that commmercial companies are said to be cheaper. The criticism about SpaceX not being open enough with reporters was also fair. Gwynne Shotwell, President of SpaceX, said that they will try to improve on that.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: ugordan on 12/06/2010 06:47 pm
Jay Barbree had tough questions.

It's no secret he isn't exactly the greatest supporter of "commercial space". Since this wasn't about crewed launches, he did tone it down from his usual.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: RocketEconomist327 on 12/06/2010 06:50 pm
A lot of questions were about the costs of the COTS program? You don't hear those kind of questions for Shuttle. But I think that the questions about costs are fair given the fact that commmercial companies are said to be cheaper. The criticism about SpaceX not being open enough with reporters were also fair. Gwynne Shotwell, President of SpaceX, admitted that they will try to improve on that.
My Emphasis... Because we all know just how open, honest, and forthcoming the NASA PAO is, right?

Communication, whether in a business, a relationship, or marriage is the number one cause of failure.  We all want to communicate better.  I am sure SpaceX will.  That being said, NASA is not very good at all.  That other website does a great job of providing a historical record on the level of fail of the PAO at NASA.

This is not directed at you yg but me thinking out loud.  If it comes off looking like that, I am sorry.

VR
RE327
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: rdale on 12/06/2010 06:50 pm
A lot of questions were about the costs of the COTS program. You don't hear those kind of questions for Shuttle.

You may not but I do... Every time we have a delay somebody asks about the cost. Then the answerer says "it costs the same no matter what." Not a lot to talk about otherwise, I'm not sure that qualifies as a "tough question"?
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: joshcryer on 12/06/2010 06:51 pm
I uploaded the full conference here: http://www.megaupload.com/?d=R0XO807T

Don't feel like doing an edit and uploading to YouTube.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: John44 on 12/06/2010 06:52 pm
NASA’s Commercial Orbital Transportation Services 1, Falcon 9 L-1 Pre-launch News Briefing
http://www.space-multimedia.nl.eu.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=6323
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: yg1968 on 12/06/2010 06:57 pm
A lot of questions were about the costs of the COTS program. You don't hear those kind of questions for Shuttle.

You may not but I do... Every time we have a delay somebody asks about the cost. Then the answerer says "it costs the same no matter what." Not a lot to talk about otherwise, I'm not sure that qualifies as a "tough question"?

Maybe not that one. But the question about what would happen if Dragon failed and fell back on earth was a tough question. Jay Barbaree's question about flying over Europe was another tough question.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: yg1968 on 12/06/2010 07:12 pm
A lot of questions were about the costs of the COTS program? You don't hear those kind of questions for Shuttle. But I think that the questions about costs are fair given the fact that commmercial companies are said to be cheaper. The criticism about SpaceX not being open enough with reporters were also fair. Gwynne Shotwell, President of SpaceX, admitted that they will try to improve on that.
My Emphasis... Because we all know just how open, honest, and forthcoming the NASA PAO is, right?

Communication, whether in a business, a relationship, or marriage is the number one cause of failure.  We all want to communicate better.  I am sure SpaceX will.  That being said, NASA is not very good at all.  That other website does a great job of providing a historical record on the level of fail of the PAO at NASA.

This is not directed at you yg but me thinking out loud.  If it comes off looking like that, I am sorry.

VR
RE327

I agree with you and that's why there is a need for a forum like this one!
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: joshcryer on 12/06/2010 07:30 pm
Communication, whether in a business, a relationship, or marriage is the number one cause of failure.  We all want to communicate better.  I am sure SpaceX will.  That being said, NASA is not very good at all.  That other website does a great job of providing a historical record on the level of fail of the PAO at NASA.

One thing that journalists are going to have to adapt to is that SpaceX appears to be taking a social networking approach with regards to getting info out. With the static test fire they updated FaceBook and Twitter within a few minutes of the information being available. Heck, I was posting the updates in the static fire thread before any of the major news outlets had any idea what was going on. In that respect SpaceX was being more open than NASA PAO would ever be. I do hope it continues this way in the future. We'll see. It would've been cool to have heard about the delay (due to second stage nozzle anomalies) before it hit the conference, but I think they decided to keep it under wraps until the conference.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: corrodedNut on 12/06/2010 07:31 pm
I just can't think of what could cause that issue [with the niobium nozzle extension] during shipping or during the test fires

But it isn't "test fired" at all, which may be part of the reason for inspecting it again.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Retired Downrange on 12/06/2010 07:39 pm
A lot of questions were about the costs of the COTS program. You don't hear those kind of questions for Shuttle.
a tough question. Jay Barbaree's question about flying over Europe was another tough question.

=============================================
Is it possible that someone here with orbital calculation resources could lay this question of "flying over Europe" to rest?

My first assumption is that the FAA would not issue "paperwork" without considering this possibility.

As I understand rocket trajectories, after launch there is a period where the rocket would have a calculable ballistic trajectory, then a point where (some sort of) orbit will be attained. If all thrust stops at any time prior to orbital speed, the the possible range of impact points can be calculated. ...or if some failures are occurring, one can affect the ballistic trajectory via destruction, not separating, or not firing stage two etc.

...I realize that I am already beyond my level of knowledge of (or perhaps ability to express) the possible scenarios, but my opinion is that Europe is a sufficient distance away that either the capsule or stages will impact in ocean or be in orbit.

Could someone with more knowledge than I take up this question, if it is possible to answer in "layman's" terminology?

Thank You.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: rdale on 12/06/2010 07:46 pm
My Emphasis... Because we all know just how open, honest, and forthcoming the NASA PAO is, right?

NASA PAO just tweeted that SpaceX may move the launch up to Wednesday, so they have a chance to make up for previous errors :)
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: joshcryer on 12/06/2010 07:47 pm
But it isn't "test fired" at all, which may be part of the reason for inspecting it again.

Yeah, I know. From my POV I can't think of any reason the anomaly shouldn't have been picked up at post-manufacture QC. Could it have been shipping? Could it have been vibration from the static test fire of the first stage? I'm not knowledgeable about it enough to make a good educated guess.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: rdale on 12/06/2010 07:47 pm
Maybe not that one. But the question about what would happen if Dragon failed and fell back on earth was a tough question. Jay Barbaree's question about flying over Europe was another tough question.

Every time a shuttle landing takes them over land instead of water, those questions are asked too. I guess I'm not getting the point?
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: ugordan on 12/06/2010 07:52 pm
I just can't think of what could cause that issue [with the niobium nozzle extension] during shipping or during the test fires

But it isn't "test fired" at all, which may be part of the reason for inspecting it again.

For those of you who aren't clear on this, the big niobium nozzle extension is only attached to the main engine nozzle during vehicle integration, most likely at the Cape hangar. There's no way to test fire the engine at sea level with that thing on (unless you pay for a high altitude chamber). The flow separation because of overexpansion at sea level would very likely destroy the nozzle extension. Instead, just the "basic" engine is fired, which includes some section of the nozzle that's regeneratively cooled like in the normal Merlin 1c. Beyond that, the niobium extension comes in.

The fact the nozzle extension could not be tested on the ground was actually one of the higher risks on the maiden flight of F9.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: corrodedNut on 12/06/2010 07:53 pm
But it isn't "test fired" at all, which may be part of the reason for inspecting it again.

Yeah, I know. From my POV I can't think of any reason the anomaly shouldn't have been picked up at post-manufacture QC. Could it have been shipping? Could it have been vibration from the static test fire of the first stage? I'm not knowledgeable about it enough to make a good educated guess.

From what I've read, just welding the stuff and forming it into the proper shape is a pain in the ol'incorrect.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: ugordan on 12/06/2010 07:55 pm
From my POV I can't think of any reason the anomaly shouldn't have been picked up at post-manufacture QC. Could it have been shipping?

Who said it had to be the nozzle itself and not the weld or whatever that holds it to the MVac and is only applied at the Cape?

Quote
Could it have been vibration from the static test fire of the first stage? I'm not knowledgeable about it enough to make a good educated guess.

The way I understood it, the problem was picked up in the photos taken during vehicle closeout, before any static fires or WDRs.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: joshcryer on 12/06/2010 07:55 pm
Sorry for not being clear guys, I am aware that second stage was not test fired.

edit: ugordan, thanks for clearing that up, so could shipping have been the issue? Or could it have cropped up just as some anomaly in the process as it sat for however long between when they made it and caught it during the inspection?
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Malderi on 12/06/2010 07:59 pm
Is it true that actually replacing the nozzle extension could still mean a flight this weekend? As in, bringing the rocket back down to the hangar, separating the stages, installing the new nozzle extension, re-stacking and re-integrating everything... and it just adds a couple days to the schedule?
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: ugordan on 12/06/2010 07:59 pm
SFN reports from NASA twitter: "NASA says launch could occur as soon as Wednesday now, but they expect more details this afternoon."

http://twitter.com/NASA/status/11884309283606528
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: rdale on 12/06/2010 08:01 pm
SFN reports from NASA twitter: "NASA says launch could occur as soon as Wednesday now, but they expect more details this afternoon."

That's not a SFN report -

My Emphasis... Because we all know just how open, honest, and forthcoming the NASA PAO is, right?

NASA PAO just tweeted that SpaceX may move the launch up to Wednesday, so they have a chance to make up for previous errors :)
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Antares on 12/06/2010 08:01 pm
That's really really something you would have expected QC to catch, imho.
By the same token, it was missed on Delta III flight two, and the RL-10 has more flight history than all of SpaceX.

I look at it as a positive, QC found something and they are taking the time to go back to it.

A little apples and oranges.  SpaceX does these things late in the flow.  IIRC, there was a very similar issue with the Kestrel nozzle a few years ago.  The RL10 issue was an erosion/misinterpretation of requirements.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: ugordan on 12/06/2010 08:03 pm
A little apples and oranges.  SpaceX does these things late in the flow.

Quite. I can understand reviewing just the static fire data this late in the game, but the vehicle has been sitting integrated for what - months?

http://twitpic.com/3dk7i2
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: JohnWT on 12/06/2010 08:15 pm
Maybe not that one. But the question about what would happen if Dragon failed and fell back on earth was a tough question. Jay Barbaree's question about flying over Europe was another tough question.

Every time a shuttle landing takes them over land instead of water, those questions are asked too. I guess I'm not getting the point?

Would the shuttle come down in a stable, heat shield first configuration if it went out of control?  My understanding is that Dragon would, hence I was a bit surprised at Gwynne Shotwell's answer that she thought it would probably break up.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Gary NASA on 12/06/2010 08:18 pm
First lesson might be not to compare Dragon with the Orbiters. The Orbiters are massive seven+ crew carrying vehicles with a massive payload upmass and downmass.........not a capsule.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Robotbeat on 12/06/2010 08:23 pm
Maybe not that one. But the question about what would happen if Dragon failed and fell back on earth was a tough question. Jay Barbaree's question about flying over Europe was another tough question.

Every time a shuttle landing takes them over land instead of water, those questions are asked too. I guess I'm not getting the point?

Would the shuttle come down in a stable, heat shield first configuration if it went out of control?  My understanding is that Dragon would, hence I was a bit surprised at Gwynne Shotwell's answer that she thought it would probably break up.
Hopefully break up. Funny that passive stability may now be a drawback in this little corner case?
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: ugordan on 12/06/2010 08:26 pm
Funny that passive stability may now be a drawback in this little corner case?

I was thinking the same thing. What's safer for those inside isn't necessarily safer for those on the ground...
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Lee Jay on 12/06/2010 08:37 pm
A small bit of math tells me that the probability of an out-of-control Dragon that makes it to the ground intact hitting one of the people on this planet is about 1 in 4000.  And that's if everyone is outside unprotected by any shelter.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: hop on 12/06/2010 08:40 pm
Would the shuttle come down in a stable, heat shield first configuration if it went out of control?
Seems unlikely, but I'm not sure an SSME powerhead would put much less of a dent in your day than an intact Dragon...
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: boaorm on 12/06/2010 08:45 pm
The list of arguments given by Spacex to FAA when asking for a waiver was (argument #1 kind of backs up Ms. Shotwells hope of an eventual break-up of the capsule n case of a non-controlled reentry:)

(as linked here: http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=22769.msg666957#msg666957 )

1. Dragon's thermal protection system has been modified so that if it enters facing down it will burn and demise.

2. Dragon can keep orbiting in order to increase the probability of initiating a safe reentry.

3. Dragon will automatically vent its propellants if it is not able to reenter as planned. Venting occurs autonomously, but SpaceX has the ability to issue a back-up command from the ground.

4. In the case of a failed or degraded deorbit burn, Dragon automatically drains propellants and subsequently deploys its parachutes.

5. A ground command received through one of three receivers and through multiple RF links, via TDRSS and multiple ground stations, can command the venting of any remaining fuel and the draining of battery power to reduce the possibility of explosion or toxic fumes when Dragon lands.

6. Dragon has the ability to autonomously guide itself to a predetermined site located more than 780 km from the coastline.

7. Dragon has the ability to monitor its safety-critical systems in real-time.

8. Dragon has over 100% margin on both power and propellant budgets.

9. Dragon has a space-grade Inertial Measurement Unit and space-grade flight computer, both of which have extensive flight heritage including use on the International Space Station.

10. Dragon has redundant drogue parachutes and dual redundant main parachutes.

11. The vehicle's thrusters are plumbed such that Dragon can deorbit and reenter with the loss of any two entire propulsion modules.

12. The vehicle has backup capabilities within all of its major subsystems.


Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Robotbeat on 12/06/2010 09:11 pm
The list of arguments given by Spacex to FAA when asking for a waiver was (argument #1 kind of backs up Ms. Shotwells hope of an eventual break-up of the capsule n case of a non-controlled reentry:)

(as linked here: http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=22769.msg666957#msg666957 )
...
Thank you very much!
Quote
6. Dragon has the ability to autonomously guide itself to a predetermined site located more than 780 km from the coastline.
...
That's an interesting one. So, under what circumstance would Dragon autonomously land in the ocean?
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: ugordan on 12/06/2010 09:15 pm
Press kit:
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: tobi453 on 12/06/2010 09:18 pm
Oh, look at the Isp Values! Second stage engine only 336s!!!
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Swatch on 12/06/2010 09:21 pm
A little apples and oranges.  SpaceX does these things late in the flow.

Quite. I can understand reviewing just the static fire data this late in the game, but the vehicle has been sitting integrated for what - months?

http://twitpic.com/3dk7i2

I would think it would be normal to give everything one last glance as you're closing everything up.  Also, they did static fire recently.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Robotbeat on 12/06/2010 09:33 pm
Oh, look at the Isp Values! Second stage engine only 336s!!!
That's compared to 342s for the predicted Isp. Not terribly different, IMHO... Overly-optimistic predicted performance for a rocket engine seems to be par for the course. You should never trust a quoted Isp at least until that engine has seen a mission or two.

In the case of Merlin Vacuum, it hadn't even been test-fired in a vacuum before Falcon 9 first launched.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: joshcryer on 12/06/2010 09:51 pm
SpaceX answering questions: http://www.facebook.com/SpaceX/posts/173436672676788

Nothing we haven't already seen in this thread, just thought it was noteworthy.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: ugordan on 12/06/2010 09:56 pm
SpaceX answering questions: http://www.facebook.com/SpaceX/posts/173436672676788

Nothing we haven't already seen in this thread, just thought it was noteworthy.

Including one individual who's not overly interested in the launch, rather she wants to know if Eric will come back home from sea (presumably crewing one of the recovery vessels) for her birthday.

You gotta love Facebook. Or not.

Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Retired Downrange on 12/06/2010 10:01 pm
The Merlin vacuum expansion nozzle used on the second stage measures nine feet tall.

There is a photo of this nozzle on page ten of the press kit.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: joshcryer on 12/06/2010 10:18 pm
Including one individual who's not overly interested in the launch, rather she wants to know if Eric will come back home from sea (presumably crewing one of the recovery vessels) for her birthday.

You gotta love Facebook. Or not.

Eh, grad student, I'll give her a pass. I just have been observing that the FB updates are more frequent than the Twitter updates. Maybe because the person doing them is using it as an excuse to check FB, who cares. :)

If you're really wanting to keep up, keep the SpaceX FB page open and the SpaceXer Twitter feed open (plus SpaceXMissions), you'll see them update in real time. It's really fun stuff.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: 2552 on 12/06/2010 10:27 pm
http://twitter.com/#!/NASAKennedy (http://twitter.com/#!/NASAKennedy)
Quote
SpaceX now says the Falcon 9 rocket launch for NASA's COTS program is no earlier than Wednesday. Earlier it was estimated to be Thursday.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Robotbeat on 12/06/2010 10:32 pm
http://twitter.com/#!/NASAKennedy (http://twitter.com/#!/NASAKennedy)
Quote
SpaceX now says the Falcon 9 rocket launch for NASA's COTS program is no earlier than Wednesday. Earlier it was estimated to be Thursday.
On Facebook, SpaceX still says Thursday:
"Now targeting launch no earlier than this Thursday, Dec. 9. Taking some time to look at 2nd stage nozzle, will keep you posted on schedule as able--thanks for the support!"
http://www.facebook.com/SpaceX/posts/173436672676788
3 hours ago
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Robotbeat on 12/06/2010 10:38 pm
http://twitter.com/#!/NASAKennedy (http://twitter.com/#!/NASAKennedy)
Quote
SpaceX now says the Falcon 9 rocket launch for NASA's COTS program is no earlier than Wednesday. Earlier it was estimated to be Thursday.
On Facebook, SpaceX still says Thursday:
"Now targeting launch no earlier than this Thursday, Dec. 9. Taking some time to look at 2nd stage nozzle, will keep you posted on schedule as able--thanks for the support!"
http://www.facebook.com/SpaceX/posts/173436672676788
3 hours ago
More recently on Facebook (in response to that post http://www.facebook.com/SpaceX/posts/173436672676788 ):
Quote from: SpaceX
‎@Ben, thanks for the help ;) @Muttley, Ben is correct, we take closeout photos as part of our final review process and the engineers want to take a look at the 2nd stage nozzle. @Gregg, you are also correct, NASA has said as early as Wednesday, but we need more details before we can really make a call. @Lars, not sure how long that takes or if its necessary here, but we'll keep you updated on the schedule as we hear--thansk everyone!
about an hour ago ·

And also, it looks like they're inspecting the nozzle while the rocket is still raised:
http://twitpic.com/3dk7i2
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: joshcryer on 12/06/2010 10:43 pm
I think it's still too early to say whether or not they can get it flown on Wednesday, I hope so, but I'm not holding my breath.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: rdale on 12/06/2010 10:55 pm
I think it's still too early to say whether or not they can get it flown on Wednesday

Josh - how is the analysis going so far? Is there a particular area you think could be the cause of a NET Thursday versus Wednesday?
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: KSC Engineer on 12/06/2010 11:17 pm
Nice looking patch.   Does anyone know the derivation of the Dragon symbol and logo?

Um . . . what? It's a dragon.  ???

Right above the word SpaceX on their patch is a dragon which is their nomenclature and name for their spacecraft.   I was wondering if anyone knew the derivation of the dragon name, why they selected that name etc?  Just curious.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: MP99 on 12/06/2010 11:21 pm
Press kit:

Quote
The result is the most advanced heat shield ever to fly, it can potentially be used hundreds of times for Earth orbit reentry with only minor degradation each time (like an extreme version of a Formula 1 car's carbon brakepads) and can even withstand the much higher heat of a moon or Mars velocity reentry.

"potentially be used hundreds of times for Earth orbit reentry" - I had not realised that!

cheers, Martin
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: corrodedNut on 12/06/2010 11:23 pm
Right above the word SpaceX on their patch is a dragon which is their nomenclature and name for their spacecraft.   I was wondering if anyone knew the derivation of the dragon name, why they selected that name etc?  Just curious.

Really, I'm not kidding.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: joshcryer on 12/06/2010 11:39 pm
Josh - how is the analysis going so far? Is there a particular area you think could be the cause of a NET Thursday versus Wednesday?

I have no particular justification for my belief, but I think Wednesday would be a best case scenario and I'd be genuinely surprised if it happens. NET Wednesday is official I guess, but that doesn't mean it'll launch Wednesday.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Robotbeat on 12/06/2010 11:44 pm
Press kit:

Quote
The result is the most advanced heat shield ever to fly, it can potentially be used hundreds of times for Earth orbit reentry with only minor degradation each time (like an extreme version of a Formula 1 car's carbon brakepads) and can even withstand the much higher heat of a moon or Mars velocity reentry.

"potentially be used hundreds of times for Earth orbit reentry" - I had not realised that!

cheers, Martin
Yes, quite interesting!
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: rdale on 12/07/2010 12:00 am
I have no particular justification for my belief

Thanks for clarifying, I thought you had some insight.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: joshcryer on 12/07/2010 12:02 am
rdale, sorry about that, I should add in my sig that I am not an insider, just following SpaceX really closely. Shouldn't state gut feelings as if they're fact. Apologies.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Lars_J on 12/07/2010 12:28 am
If  NASA says potentially Wednesday, but SpaceX themselves say Thursday at the earliest - I think Wednesday is reeeeaaaly unlikely. :)
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Kabloona on 12/07/2010 12:32 am
But it isn't "test fired" at all, which may be part of the reason for inspecting it again.

Yeah, I know. From my POV I can't think of any reason the anomaly shouldn't have been picked up at post-manufacture QC. Could it have been shipping? Could it have been vibration from the static test fire of the first stage? I'm not knowledgeable about it enough to make a good educated guess.

I'm not familiar with niobium nozzle extensions for liquid engines, but I do know that for solid upper stages like IUS and TOS that had large carbon-carbon one-piece nozzles, those things were extremely fragile, and damage during shipping, integration and stacking was always a concern. On the Mars Observer mission on Titan III, while stacked on the Titan, we did a final inspection of the TOS carbon-carbon nozzle just before closing out the Titan interstage, just to be sure that no damage had occurred during the final steps of vehicle integration. Apparently similar to what SpaceX did here. Point being, you can't be too careful with large, thin-walled, high expansion ratio nozzles, be they carbon-carbon or niobium, apparently. But it's not clear yet where/when the MVac nozzle defect occurred. "Porosity" in a weld suggests the manufacturing process, though.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: joshcryer on 12/07/2010 12:33 am
SpaceXer twitter: A decision on whether or not to attempt launch on Wednesday is not expected until tomorrow.

edit, source: http://twitter.com/#!/SpaceXer/status/11955210863771648

Kabloona, thanks for that answer, btw.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: robertross on 12/07/2010 12:36 am
But it's not clear yet where/when the MVac nozzle defect occurred. "Porosity" in a weld suggests the manufacturing process, though.

I would say 'clearly points to'.
The question becomes how it passed QA, as eluded to earlier in this thread. Depending on the QA procedures, one would 'think' that radiography of the welds would be in order, so this baffles me. Dye penetrant is another likely candidate, though I'm not sure if there would be any issues with contamination, but it's doubtful.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Kabloona on 12/07/2010 12:40 am
But it's not clear yet where/when the MVac nozzle defect occurred. "Porosity" in a weld suggests the manufacturing process, though.

I would say 'clearly points to'.
The question becomes how it passed QA, as eluded to earlier in this thread. Depending on the QA procedures, one would 'think' that radiography of the welds would be in order, so this baffles me. Dye penetrant is another likely candidate, though I'm not sure if there would be any issues with contamination, but it's doubtful.

It is puzzling...it suggests that they're taking fairly close-up hi-res photos in the interstage closeout process, and it's hard to imagine doing a more thorough inpection inside a dark, cramped interstage than they did in a brightly lit high bay back in Hawthorne...

Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: mmeijeri on 12/07/2010 12:42 am
Hmm. We've already had a summer of leaks, are we now in for a winter of cracks?
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: joshcryer on 12/07/2010 12:46 am
Yeah, if you follow the discussion backward I was one of the first to mention QC. I wanted to reach out for alternate explanations. I hope we get an official root cause explanation in the coming days. SpaceX so far has been fairly open with that sort of thing (F1 failures, F9 spin start issue, and now this).
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: KSC Engineer on 12/07/2010 12:52 am
Right above the word SpaceX on their patch is a dragon which is their nomenclature and name for their spacecraft.   I was wondering if anyone knew the derivation of the dragon name, why they selected that name etc?  Just curious.

Really, I'm not kidding.

OK well if true here is what Wikipedia says about the song Puff the Magic Dragon: 

"The authors of the song have repeatedly rejected this urban legend and have strongly and consistently denied that they intended any references to drug use.[8] Peter Yarrow has frequently explained that "Puff" is about the hardships of growing older and has no relationship to drug-taking.[9] He has also said of the song that it "never had any meaning other than the obvious one" and is about the "loss of innocence".[10]"

Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Jim on 12/07/2010 01:07 am
Why is everyone dancing around it.  A process broke down.  Similar to something on the first F1 flight.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Chris Bergin on 12/07/2010 01:07 am
The other sites are only reporting what the media releases are saying. There's no inside track going on via twitter and other sites. As Jim says, way too much dancing around on this thread, and it's becoming noisey.

UPDATE: COTS 1

SpaceX engineers are analyzing the two small cracks in the aft end of the 2nd stage engine nozzle expansion.  A decision on whether or not to attempt launch on Wednesday is not expected until tomorrow.  The Merlin Vacuum engine expansion nozzle is made of a niobium alloy, measures 2.7 meters (9 feet) tall, and most of it has a wall thickness of about 1/3 of a millimeter.  The niobium nozzle increases the efficiency of the Merlin engine in vacuum, but is not necessary to ensure success on this mission.  (first stage engines do not have the extension)

UPDATE 2: COTS 1, more detail

 

SpaceX engineers are analyzing two small cracks in the aft end of the 2nd stage engine nozzle extension.  These cracks are in a region near the end of the nozzle extension where there is very little stress and so they would not cause a flight failure by themselves.  However, further investigation is warranted to ensure that these cracks are not symptomatic of a more serious problem. 

 

A decision on whether or not to attempt launch on Wednesday will be provided tomorrow evening. 

 

The bell shaped Merlin Vacuum nozzle extension is made of niobium sheet alloy, measures 9 feet tall and 8 feet at the base diameter, and thins out to about twice the thickness of a soda can at the end.  Although made of an exotic refractory alloy metal with a melting temperature high enough to boil steel, this component is geometrically the simplest part of the engine.

 

It is important to note that the niobium nozzle extension increases the efficiency of the Merlin engine in vacuum and is installed by default on all upper stage Merlin engines, but that efficiency increase is not required for this mission.  The nozzle extension is most helpful when launching very heavy satellites or to maximize throw mass to distant destinations like Mars.  The most likely path forward is that we will trim off the thinnest portion of the nozzle extension, which is where the cracks are located, perform a thorough systems check and resume launch preparation.

Both from SpaceX.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: joshcryer on 12/07/2010 01:21 am
Thanks for the release Chris, first I've seen this anywhere. To be fair though we were discussing anomaly causes and QC, I was merely posting updates from SpaceX when I saw them, being clear that it was nothing new.

It'd be nice if the media would release these sort of releases as soon as they get them from SpaceX...
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: robertross on 12/07/2010 01:26 am
Anyone wishing to have a good read on Niobium's history & use in rocket nozzles:

http://www.cbmm.com.br/portug/sources/techlib/science_techno/table_content/sub_3/images/pdfs/016.pdf
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: iamlucky13 on 12/07/2010 01:31 am
The most likely path forward is that we will trim off the thinnest portion of the nozzle extension, which is where the cracks are located, perform a thorough systems check and resume launch preparation.

Both from SpaceX.

Aha...the old 5-axis hand mill solution.

(Also known as an intern with a Dremel)

So, if I understand the thinking right, trimming off the affected portions eliminates stress concentrations that can aid the cracks in propogating further up the nozzle.

I would assume an imperfect trim could result in some moment across the nozzle, but that should be effectively negligible given the low pressures at this portion of the nozzle.

Aside from the small performance hit, any other concerns people see?
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: robertross on 12/07/2010 01:38 am
The most likely path forward is that we will trim off the thinnest portion of the nozzle extension, which is where the cracks are located, perform a thorough systems check and resume launch preparation.

Both from SpaceX.

Aha...the old 5-axis hand mill solution.

(Also known as an intern with a Dremel)
(laughed so hard at that one...)

Quote
So, if I understand the thinking right, trimming off the affected portions eliminates stress concentrations that can aid the cracks in propogating further up the nozzle.

I would assume an imperfect trim could result in some moment across the nozzle, but that should be effectively negligible given the low pressures at this portion of the nozzle.

Aside from the small performance hit, any other concerns people see?
considering the size of the nozzle from the press kit, the performance hit wouldn't even be detectable. More of a cosmetic change than anything else.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Chris Bergin on 12/07/2010 01:38 am
Thanks for the release Chris, first I've seen this anywhere. To be fair though we were discussing anomaly causes and QC, I was merely posting updates from SpaceX when I saw them, being clear that it was nothing new.

It'd be nice if the media would release these sort of releases as soon as they get them from SpaceX...

Yeah, sorry - that was my fault. I would normally post them as soon as I get them (into this sort of thread, as opposed to writing it up into an article, to speed things up). Was out at the time and came back to a frenzy ;D
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: KSC Engineer on 12/07/2010 01:42 am
Why is everyone dancing around it.  A process broke down.  Similar to something on the first F1 flight.

Agreed Jim - fair amount of dancing going on here in several areas:   Political favoritism, low transparency on the part of SpaceX, pressure on the Range to make exceptions for SpaceX which are not granted to EELV or Shuttle, FAA waiver for Europe flyover, increased funding - during hard times in Washington - and I am sure there are other areas which you point out related to processing which you obviously have a lot of experience in.  This list is just a guess based on comments I've read here on L-2 so I could be wrong but I do see a lot of dancing going on.

Obviously SpaceX is getting a special deal out of WDC for now which is OK as we need them for ISS and I wish them the very best.  Poor planning on the part of congress over the years has caused a gap that has placed SpaceX in a challenging position to bail out part of the gap. 

Also I admire a man who puts up his own real cash to attempt to build a viable space program and he and his team has made very good progress in a short amount of time. 

So the reality is there is a lot of dancing going on and if I were in their shoes with the pressure WDC has placed on them maybe we all would be doing similar things.  All one has to do is watch the SpaceX team in their press conferences to realize how much pressure they are under. 

Whether folks like it or not the US needs SpaceX for now and thus the reason NASA was managing our expectations today by saying this is test program and they expect problems and they will continue to support SpaceX no matter what happens to the next two test flights. 
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: jabe on 12/07/2010 01:42 am
anyone check the hd vid from the link (https://send.spacex.com/bds/Login.do?id=A043517252&p1=naj20dpsbfegcidgdlgffcj20) given on the press kit?  really see the green flash from the engine start up..great sound too ;)
hope the "rip" in the nozzle isn't a deal breaker for a launch before saturday..
cheers
jb.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: joshcryer on 12/07/2010 01:47 am
Chris, I'll try to not post redundant stuff from now on (like Twitter updates, unless I'm sure they're new info, etc), but you did beat SFN by about ten minutes, even with you being out and all. Thanks again. Looks like they could make Wednesday after all.

/signs off to help reduce the noise, knows his contributions are minimal at best
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Kabloona on 12/07/2010 01:52 am
Chris, I'll try to not post redundant stuff from now on (like Twitter updates, unless I'm sure they're new info, etc), but you did beat SFN by about ten minutes, even with you being out and all. Thanks again. Looks like they could make Wednesday after all.

/signs off to help reduce the noise, knows his contributions are minimal at best

Make that two of us  ;)
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: jongoff on 12/07/2010 01:54 am
The most likely path forward is that we will trim off the thinnest portion of the nozzle extension, which is where the cracks are located, perform a thorough systems check and resume launch preparation.

Both from SpaceX.

Aha...the old 5-axis hand mill solution.

(Also known as an intern with a Dremel)
(laughed so hard at that one...)

Me too.  I'd hate to be the person who had to trim say an inch off of a 9ft thin-wall nozzle...without causing more damage...

~Jon
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: nblackwell on 12/07/2010 01:55 am
1. This flight doesn't overfly Europe.
2. You don't think Shuttle actually meets the FAA expected casualty requirements when they fly over Europe, do you?

Why is everyone dancing around it.  A process broke down.  Similar to something on the first F1 flight.

Agreed Jim - fair amount of dancing going on here in several areas:   Political favoritism, low transparency on the part of SpaceX, pressure on the Range to make exceptions for SpaceX which are not granted to EELV or Shuttle, FAA waiver for Europe flyover, increased funding - during hard times in Washington - and I am sure there are other areas which you point out related to processing which you obviously have a lot of experience in.  This list is just a guess based on comments I've read here on L-2 so I could be wrong but I do see a lot of dancing going on.

Obviously SpaceX is getting a special deal out of WDC for now which is OK as we need them for ISS and I wish them the very best.  Poor planning on the part of congress over the years has caused a gap that has placed SpaceX in a challenging position to bail out part of the gap. 

Also I admire a man who puts up his own real cash to attempt to build a viable space program and he and his team has made very good progress in a short amount of time. 

So the reality is there is a lot of dancing going on and if I were in their shoes with the pressure WDC has placed on them maybe we all would be doing similar things.  All one has to do is watch the SpaceX team in their press conferences to realize how much pressure they are under. 

Whether folks like it or not the US needs SpaceX for now and thus the reason NASA was managing our expectations today by saying this is test program and they expect problems and they will continue to support SpaceX no matter what happens to the next two test flights. 
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: robertross on 12/07/2010 01:55 am
anyone check the hd vid from the link (https://send.spacex.com/bds/Login.do?id=A043517252&p1=naj20dpsbfegcidgdlgffcj20) given on the press kit?  really see the green flash from the engine start up..great sound too ;)
hope the "rip" in the nozzle isn't a deal breaker for a launch before saturday..
cheers
jb.

Actually missed that!! Thanks for pointing it out.

Very cool!
That sound at the end...is that metal contraction from being so hot and now cooling down? Or is it some mechanical device?
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Lee Jay on 12/07/2010 02:00 am
Me too.  I'd hate to be the person who had to trim say an inch off of a 9ft thin-wall nozzle...without causing more damage...

~Jon

To your hand and arm too.  And a lot of wheels or drums will give their all for the cause too.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Kabloona on 12/07/2010 02:04 am
Anyone wishing to have a good read on Niobium's history & use in rocket nozzles:

http://www.cbmm.com.br/portug/sources/techlib/science_techno/table_content/sub_3/images/pdfs/016.pdf


Robert, interesting paper. Too bad it doesn't have a tutorial section on machining niobium nozzles with a Dremel.

Does anyone have a link to a description of the nozzle mfg process? I couldn't find a description on the SpaceX site.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: alexw on 12/07/2010 02:11 am
The most likely path forward is that we will trim off the thinnest portion of the nozzle extension, which is where the cracks are located, perform a thorough systems check and resume launch preparation.
Both from SpaceX.
Aha...the old 5-axis hand mill solution. (Also known as an intern with a Dremel)
(laughed so hard at that one...)
Me too.  I'd hate to be the person who had to trim say an inch off of a 9ft thin-wall nozzle...without causing more damage...
   ROFL. Roughing out niobium with a none-too-sharp blade was not my favorite time on the bandsaw. Hope they have plenty of dremel tips. And another intern with a good vacuum wand. (And, following Lee Jay's remark, a massage therapist!)
     -Alex

edit: typo name
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: KSC Engineer on 12/07/2010 02:13 am
1. This flight doesn't overfly Europe.
2. You don't think Shuttle actually meets the FAA expected casualty requirements when they fly over Europe, do you?

I was just going on what Jay Barbree and Ms Shotwell said today.  Jay asked if they had to get a special approval to fly at that inclination over Europe and she said basically the FAA approved their flight orbits.   So you are saying that they are not flying over Europe and Jay is wrong?
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: nblackwell on 12/07/2010 02:19 am
For ISS flights, F9/Dragon would go over Europe, but not for this one.  So yes, Jay was wrong.  And Gwynne was right, FAA did approve the orbit, although she didn't correct him on the spot.

1. This flight doesn't overfly Europe.
2. You don't think Shuttle actually meets the FAA expected casualty requirements when they fly over Europe, do you?

I was just going on what Jay Barbree and Ms Shotwell said today.  Jay asked if they had to get a special approval to fly at that inclination over Europe and she said basically the FAA approved their flight orbits.   So you are saying that they are not flying over Europe and Jay is wrong?
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Jim on 12/07/2010 02:27 am
low transparency on the part of SpaceX, pressure on the Range to make exceptions for SpaceX which are not granted to EELV or Shuttle, FAA waiver for Europe flyover

1.  They cant be transparent to LSP, they wont get a contract if they are
2.  Range gave them no special exceptions
3.  European flyover is not new.  Mars Odssey, STSS Demo did it
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: KSC Engineer on 12/07/2010 02:32 am
low transparency on the part of SpaceX, pressure on the Range to make exceptions for SpaceX which are not granted to EELV or Shuttle, FAA waiver for Europe flyover

1.  They cant be transparent to LSP, they wont get a contract if they are
2.  Range gave them no special exceptions
3.  European flyover is not new.  Mars Odssey, STSS Demo did it

Thanks Jim.  That is good to know.  So they are flying over Europe so Jay's question was not well formed but factual.  I take it since you didn't list "political favoritism" you accept that as a given?
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Jim on 12/07/2010 02:38 am
low transparency on the part of SpaceX, pressure on the Range to make exceptions for SpaceX which are not granted to EELV or Shuttle, FAA waiver for Europe flyover

1.  They cant be transparent to LSP, they wont get a contract if they are
2.  Range gave them no special exceptions
3.  European flyover is not new.  Mars Odssey, STSS Demo did it

Thanks Jim.  That is good to know.  So they are flying over Europe so Jay's question was not well formed but factual.  I take it since you didn't list "political favoritism" you accept that as a given?


I don't see any of that either

As for overflight, I don't know if this specific flight is doing it
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: KSC Engineer on 12/07/2010 02:43 am
low transparency on the part of SpaceX, pressure on the Range to make exceptions for SpaceX which are not granted to EELV or Shuttle, FAA waiver for Europe flyover

1.  They cant be transparent to LSP, they wont get a contract if they are
2.  Range gave them no special exceptions
3.  European flyover is not new.  Mars Odssey, STSS Demo did it

Thanks Jim.  That is good to know.  So they are flying over Europe so Jay's question was not well formed but factual.  I take it since you didn't list "political favoritism" you accept that as a given?


I don't see any of that either

As for overflight, I don't know if this specific flight is doing it

You should know...so that is good.  So processing in your view is the only area of concern?   Was that your point about dancing in your post?
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: nblackwell on 12/07/2010 02:49 am
Inclination as given in the press kit is 34.5 deg.  European overflight seems...unlikely.

low transparency on the part of SpaceX, pressure on the Range to make exceptions for SpaceX which are not granted to EELV or Shuttle, FAA waiver for Europe flyover

1.  They cant be transparent to LSP, they wont get a contract if they are
2.  Range gave them no special exceptions
3.  European flyover is not new.  Mars Odssey, STSS Demo did it

Thanks Jim.  That is good to know.  So they are flying over Europe so Jay's question was not well formed but factual.  I take it since you didn't list "political favoritism" you accept that as a given?
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: KSC Engineer on 12/07/2010 02:52 am
Inclination as given in the press kit is 34.5 deg.  European overflight seems...unlikely.

low transparency on the part of SpaceX, pressure on the Range to make exceptions for SpaceX which are not granted to EELV or Shuttle, FAA waiver for Europe flyover

1.  They cant be transparent to LSP, they wont get a contract if they are
2.  Range gave them no special exceptions
3.  European flyover is not new.  Mars Odssey, STSS Demo did it

Thanks Jim.  That is good to know.  So they are flying over Europe so Jay's question was not well formed but factual.  I take it since you didn't list "political favoritism" you accept that as a given?

Thanks for clearing that up.  Jay Barbree is usually pretty good with his research.  I guess he missed this one or knows something we don't.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Jim on 12/07/2010 03:15 am


You should know...so that is good.  So processing in your view is the only area of concern?   Was that your point about dancing in your post?

I was referring to people on this forum dancing around the point.    There processes (more than just ground ops) is my area of concern
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: rdale on 12/07/2010 03:20 am
Jay Barbree is usually pretty good with his research.

That may have been the case back in the 80's, but if you listen to his questions at any shuttle pressers you'll quickly realize he isn't as up to par on what's really happening in space anymore.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: FinalFrontier on 12/07/2010 05:20 am
Well this was too bad that they didn't launch on schedule. At the same time I am much more happy to learn that they stopped in order to correct a problem, though minor, found near the end of closeout operations. I think it shows a mark of quality that they caught it and stopped to fix it as close to launch as they were. I wish Spacex the best of luck in a launch tomorrow.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: iamlucky13 on 12/07/2010 05:51 am
The most likely path forward is that we will trim off the thinnest portion of the nozzle extension, which is where the cracks are located, perform a thorough systems check and resume launch preparation.
Both from SpaceX.
Aha...the old 5-axis hand mill solution. (Also known as an intern with a Dremel)
(laughed so hard at that one...)
Me too.  I'd hate to be the person who had to trim say an inch off of a 9ft thin-wall nozzle...without causing more damage...
   ROFL. Roughing out niobium with a none-too-sharp blade was not my favorite time on the bandsaw. Hope they have plenty of dremel tips. And another intern with a good vacuum wand. (And, following Lee Jay's remark, a massage therapist!)
     -Alex

edit: typo name

Actually, if it's really only 0.3mm thick (about 0.012" or 30 gauge or half a dozen sheets of paper worth), I bet it would cut reasonably easily with aviation shears. Never having worked on a rocket nozzle, however, I can only guess whether that would produce an acceptable cut.

I've also never had to do a...what...maybe 20 foot long cut if they have to do the whole circumference? Talk about a hand cramp. Might it be acceptable just to scallop the affected area, and maybe the opposite side if they want to balance it?

On the other hand, it doesn't sound conclusive quite yet they won't decide the issue is serious enough to warrant replacing the whole nozzle extension.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: JohnWT on 12/07/2010 06:08 am
Aviation shears?  Hand cramp?  Dremel?  Surely you jest.

They can rotate the vehicle on its horizontal stand.  I would expect that they would use a suitable non distorting cutter (laser?) to trim the end off as they rotate the vehicle.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: AS-503 on 12/07/2010 06:16 am
I think they are going to fly Chuck Norris in to cut it with a karate chop.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: iamlucky13 on 12/07/2010 06:21 am
Aviation shears?  Hand cramp?  Dremel?  Surely you jest.

They can rotate the vehicle on its horizontal stand.  I would expect that they would use a suitable non distorting cutter (laser?) to trim the end off as they rotate the vehicle.

Which goes back to the question of whether they can rollback, demate the stage, cut, remate, and rollout for a launch in the current NET (Wednesday or Thursday?).

So partially I was jesting, but partially I was thinking through ways to do this with minimal work. The question of whether or not those might yield acceptable cuts was serious.

SpaceX has previously stated (after the Falcon 1 nozzle impact during staging) that a niobium nozzle is pretty dent-tolerant. A wavy hand-cut seems like it should be acceptable, but on the other hand, if they crimp the metal a bit at every stroke as sometimes happens with shears, that could be more serious.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: ugordan on 12/07/2010 07:10 am
I guess he missed this one or knows something we don't.

Given what I've gathered so far, let's just say I'd trust nblackwell over Jay on this. You might consider there may be are other posters here involved with SpaceX one way or another, i.e. it's not Jim vs. everyone else.

If there's overly tolerant behavior for SpaceX' processes here, that doesn't mean "conspiracy" theories need to be made on the other side on how they get it easier at every step, compared to ULA or whatnot.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: joshcryer on 12/07/2010 07:51 am
Falcon 9 Flight 1 was also 34.5 degrees, which caused a lot of hub hub over AU with regards to a glowing UFO. I'm with nblackwell on this one.

edit: I just spent the last hour or two playing with Orbiter, if they take relatively the same trajectory as Falcon 9 Flight 1 then on the second or third orbits it is passing quite nicely over, you guessed it, the Gulf of Mexico.

If you want to try it yourself you can grab Orbiter and the Falcon 9 plugin. It includes the Flight 1 scenario (including the nasty second stage rotation), so without having to do much fiddling, you can see that this trajectory fits well SpaceX's flight plan. It also explains (to me) why they only have 2.5/3 orbits at most, because the Gulf is a dwindling target on that trajectory.

I'm not an orbital mechanics guy by any means, but the evidence points to a similar flight plan to Falcon 9 Flight 1.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: tigerade on 12/07/2010 10:06 am
Well, thankfully I have Wednesday and Thursday off.  I hope it will launch during one of those two days.  I am still not missing this thing!
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: cuddihy on 12/07/2010 10:56 am


You should know...so that is good.  So processing in your view is the only area of concern?   Was that your point about dancing in your post?

I was referring to people on this forum dancing around the point.    There processes (more than just ground ops) is my area of concern

Processes aren't everything, as shuttle has shown, the processes can be nailed down and you can still lose 7 astronauts.

For some managers "processes" and "CPI" replace good judgement and are a cover for lack of good leadership.

Not every problem is a process problem. And many process problems are just the wrong people in the job...

"Their processes," by the way, not "there".
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: robertross on 12/07/2010 11:11 am
Aviation shears?  Hand cramp?  Dremel?  Surely you jest.

They can rotate the vehicle on its horizontal stand.  I would expect that they would use a suitable non distorting cutter (laser?) to trim the end off as they rotate the vehicle.

Which goes back to the question of whether they can rollback, demate the stage, cut, remate, and rollout for a launch in the current NET (Wednesday or Thursday?).

So partially I was jesting, but partially I was thinking through ways to do this with minimal work. The question of whether or not those might yield acceptable cuts was serious.

SpaceX has previously stated (after the Falcon 1 nozzle impact during staging) that a niobium nozzle is pretty dent-tolerant. A wavy hand-cut seems like it should be acceptable, but on the other hand, if they crimp the metal a bit at every stroke as sometimes happens with shears, that could be more serious.

Yes, dent tolerant (as to performance and all that), but also very fragile. There are SpaceX pictures showing the nozzle with a note on the sidewall saying something to this effect.

We're talking pretty exotic stuff here. Heck, if you read the document I had posted earlier about Niobium, they had to use EB (electron beam) to melt this stuff adequately. It's also very susceptible to high temp oxidation, requiring a very good coating as a preventative. By using a dremel, or any machining process, they circumvent that coating (assuming the nozzle has said coating). Not saying it can't be done, but very tricky.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: ugordan on 12/07/2010 11:14 am
Yes, dent tolerant (as to performance and all that), but also very fragile. There are SpaceX pictures showing the nozzle with a note on the sidewall saying something to this effect.

I read that the note was probably to prevent greasy fingers touching it which could prevent the coating from being properly applied, not because of fear of damage.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Jim on 12/07/2010 11:27 am

1.  Processes aren't everything, as shuttle has shown, the processes can be nailed down and you can still lose 7 astronauts.

2.  For some managers "processes" and "CPI" replace good judgement and are a cover for lack of good leadership.

3.  Not every problem is a process problem. And many process problems are just the wrong people in the job...


1.  It was a process failures that lost 14 astronauts
2.   good judgment is part of a process
3.  It is a process to place the right people in the right job

"judgment" by the way, not "judgement ".
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: moose103 on 12/07/2010 12:18 pm
I was referring to people on this forum dancing around the point.    There processes (more than just ground ops) is my area of concern

A person with expertise got a lot more out of that news than I did.  I couldn't figure out how they were seeing a cracked nozzle inside an assembled rocket. 

So this is my guess: you think they have old pictures of the broken nozzle from days or weeks ago, and only now is somebody noticing.  Something went wrong to let them assemble it with the broken nozzle in the first place.  Thus the bad process, and a drop in confidence of competence, meaning they might make another error.  Is that right?


"judgment" by the way, not "judgement ".

What is a their or a there between friends.  I think both get the message across :)
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Mike_1179 on 12/07/2010 12:55 pm
So SpaceX (again) shows that they have some work to do to move up the Systems Engineering learning curve.  No one is saying their technical skills aren’t there, but rocket science is more than rocket science.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: go4mars on 12/07/2010 01:00 pm
"judgment" by the way, not "judgement ".

http://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/british/judgment_1#judgment_1__3 

Just the American way vs. the U.K./Commonwealth way to spell it.  Neither is wrong. 
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: pippin on 12/07/2010 01:05 pm
Hey, Jim's a rocket scientist, not a linguist ;)
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: butters on 12/07/2010 01:06 pm
In the scheme of things, I'd rather have the process problem of discovering problems inconveniently late in the flow and consequently delaying the launch than the process problem of knowing it may be unsafe to proceed and doing so anyway. From the former the team can learn to do things better next time, but the arrogance of the latter can only be untaught by catastrophic failure.

I'm still unclear as to when the cracks occurred, when they should have discovered the cracks, and whether they were sitting on evidence of the cracks for some amount of time without realizing it or doing anything about. So I don't see how any outsider with any amount of industry experience can authoritatively declare that there are process problems, much less speak to the nature of those problems.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Jim on 12/07/2010 01:09 pm
I was referring to people on this forum dancing around the point.    There processes (more than just ground ops) is my area of concern

A person with expertise got a lot more out of that news than I did.  I couldn't figure out how they were seeing a cracked nozzle inside an assembled rocket. 

So this is my guess: you think they have old pictures of the broken nozzle from days or weeks ago, and only now is somebody noticing.  Something went wrong to let them assemble it with the broken nozzle in the first place.  Thus the bad process, and a drop in confidence of competence, meaning they might make another error.  Is that right?


Yes,  many process errors

1.  bad hardware was created and passed inspection

2.  Bad hardware was put into a flight vehicle.

3.  The review of closeout photos was not completed before the move to the next major phase in the ground flow
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Jim on 12/07/2010 01:15 pm
So I don't see how any outsider with any amount of industry experience can authoritatively declare that there are process problems,

Because they are blatantly obvious to the most casual of observers, unless one is drunk on koolade.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: gospacex on 12/07/2010 01:29 pm
According to SpaceX site, this is the photo of the first flight expansion nozzle for the Merlin Vacuum second stage engine:
(http://www.spacex.com/assets/img/20100104_6mvacnozzle.jpg)

and this is expansion nozzle for Falcon 9 Flight 2:
(http://www.spacex.com/assets/img/20100506_nozzle.jpg)
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: corrodedNut on 12/07/2010 01:33 pm
So what's the latest word? Is it two small cracks or one 3 inch crack?

PS. You guys with the dremel tool, don't forget about the stiffening ring, you can use it as a straight edge, and you'll need a hot glue gun to put it back on.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Swatch on 12/07/2010 01:37 pm
I was referring to people on this forum dancing around the point.    There processes (more than just ground ops) is my area of concern

A person with expertise got a lot more out of that news than I did.  I couldn't figure out how they were seeing a cracked nozzle inside an assembled rocket. 

So this is my guess: you think they have old pictures of the broken nozzle from days or weeks ago, and only now is somebody noticing.  Something went wrong to let them assemble it with the broken nozzle in the first place.  Thus the bad process, and a drop in confidence of competence, meaning they might make another error.  Is that right?


Yes,  many process errors

1.  bad hardware was created and passed inspection

2.  Bad hardware was put into a flight vehicle.

3.  The review of closeout photos was not completed before the move to the next major phase in the ground flow

It sounds like you're working under the assumption that the damage was a preexisting condition that simply wasn't caught.   What would your opinion on the matter be if the damage had developed after integration with the vehicle?  In that situation, it seems their process caught it at exactly the right time.  I don't believe they've released information that implies one situation over the other, so I'm just playing devil's advocate.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: pippin on 12/07/2010 01:44 pm
In that case something's probably seriously wrong with the integration process...
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: cuddihy on 12/07/2010 01:55 pm

"judgment" by the way, not "judgement ".


Touche.

I just can't help it on the "autocorrect, but wrong word," but it's no different than a typo, you're right.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Namechange User on 12/07/2010 02:08 pm
Fascinating thread from a social and psychological perspective. 

From a technical perspective, Jim is quite correct in his comments.  Process is vital in this business and it appears anyway that something escaped somewhere along the line.  While likely not the end of the world and they are investigating and seemingly doing due diligence, some of the comments thus far are intriguing by some posters. 
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Kabloona on 12/07/2010 02:10 pm
I was referring to people on this forum dancing around the point.    There processes (more than just ground ops) is my area of concern

A person with expertise got a lot more out of that news than I did.  I couldn't figure out how they were seeing a cracked nozzle inside an assembled rocket. 

So this is my guess: you think they have old pictures of the broken nozzle from days or weeks ago, and only now is somebody noticing.  Something went wrong to let them assemble it with the broken nozzle in the first place.  Thus the bad process, and a drop in confidence of competence, meaning they might make another error.  Is that right?

If you go back and read some of the previous posts and the "press" releases, what happened was that SpaceX took "closeout" photos inside the F9 interstage as a final inspection. A closeout inspection is routine and is the last thing you do before bolting the door closed, because it's the last chance you have to catch any hardware problems in the interstage before launch. So if I read the statement correctly, these are not "old pictures from weeks ago."

The closeout inspection did what it was supposed to do: it found a problem. And about this "process" thing. Hey, people, anyone who's been in this business knows that there's no such thing as perfection. The process of design, manufacturing, inspection, operation, and improvement is fundamentally a human process, of imperfect people using imperfect materials to try to do make a super-complex machine that's incredibly intolerant of imperfection, and thus incredibly difficult to do succesfully. That's true of Shuttle, F9, and every other large rocket that ever flew. The SpaceX closeout inspection process did what it was supposed to do: it found an imperfection. Now they'll fix it. How is this different from any other program? A potentially bad weld? QA maybe missed something? Wow, that's never happened on any other program...
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: FinalFrontier on 12/07/2010 02:22 pm
Not a peep from Spacex on today's supposed launch attempt. No idea if there will be an attempt today. 3 inch crack may be a rumor.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: ugordan on 12/07/2010 02:24 pm
Not a peep from Spacex on today's supposed launch attempt. No idea if there will be an attempt today.

There won't be any. Try to keep up instead of overlooking information available and repeated over the last few pages of the thread.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: HIPAR on 12/07/2010 02:31 pm
A revelation of the 'facts' should help us understand the 'width' of that line separating human imperfection from incompetence. 

---  CHAS
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: butters on 12/07/2010 02:44 pm
The nature of any "process problem" depends on the root cause of the cracks. Without knowing how the cracks happened, there's no way of knowing what, if anything, was wrong with the process. All we know right now is that there is an anomaly with the vehicle which was identified before launch and is being addressed.

In this context, as I see it, the "process" is a learning process, about assimilating new information and responding appropriately. SpaceX has an experience problem. They haven't built up a large knowledge base about their operations that helps them foresee any potential issues before they occur. That can only come with flight history.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Jim on 12/07/2010 02:51 pm

It sounds like you're working under the assumption that the damage was a preexisting condition that simply wasn't caught.   What would your opinion on the matter be if the damage had developed after integration with the vehicle?  In that situation, it seems their process caught it at exactly the right time.  I don't believe they've released information that implies one situation over the other, so I'm just playing devil's advocate.

Still a process failure. 
1.  The damage occurred
2.   the incident that caused the damage wasn't caught right away or still is unknown.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: robertross on 12/07/2010 02:56 pm
The nature of any "process problem" depends on the root cause of the cracks. Without knowing how the cracks happened, there's no way of knowing what, if anything, was wrong with the process. All we know right now is that there is an anomaly with the vehicle which was identified before launch and is being addressed.

In this context, as I see it, the "process" is a learning process, about assimilating new information and responding appropriately. SpaceX has an experience problem. They haven't built up a large knowledge base about their operations that helps them foresee any potential issues before they occur. That can only come with flight history.

huh??

I guess some people don't understand what porosity in a weld is.

If you have porosity, you have a weak spot. That weak spot can initiate or propogate a crack.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Kabloona on 12/07/2010 02:56 pm
The nature of any "process problem" depends on the root cause of the cracks. Without knowing how the cracks happened, there's no way of knowing what, if anything, was wrong with the process. All we know right now is that there is an anomaly with the vehicle which was identified before launch and is being addressed.

In this context, as I see it, the "process" is a learning process, about assimilating new information and responding appropriately. SpaceX has an experience problem. They haven't built up a large knowledge base about their operations that helps them foresee any potential issues before they occur. That can only come with flight history.

Agreed, and every vehicle program has had to climb the same learning curve. We all know that no orbital vehicle/team ever had all its processes ironed out after one launch.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Namechange User on 12/07/2010 03:05 pm
The nature of any "process problem" depends on the root cause of the cracks. Without knowing how the cracks happened, there's no way of knowing what, if anything, was wrong with the process. All we know right now is that there is an anomaly with the vehicle which was identified before launch and is being addressed.

In this context, as I see it, the "process" is a learning process, about assimilating new information and responding appropriately. SpaceX has an experience problem. They haven't built up a large knowledge base about their operations that helps them foresee any potential issues before they occur. That can only come with flight history.

Yes and no.  While I admit I have not scoured Facebook, Twitter and the rest of the internet to find out what SpaceX is saying, these cracks appear to be on a weld AFAIK.  There are really three possibilities to cause these cracks as I see it at this point:

1.  Impact damage from "something".  I consider this unlikely because if whatever hit it (a foot, tool, etc) would leave other witness marks.  To the best of my knowledge that has not been disclosed and it would have to be a hard hit to crack a weld, increasing the likelihood of additional witness marks.

2.  Low cycle fatigue.  Given this nozzle has been shipped to various facilities and rolled to the pad and back some number of times, I suppose it is possible.  This would be a design issue that should have likely been discovered during qualification and certification.  I also see this as a low likely hood since the area I believe this is in should be a low stress area, etc.

3.  A process escape.  When the weld is complete it should be reviewed by quality and/or materials and process (M&P or whatever they may call it) personnel.  This inspection generallly involves the use of X-rays or other NDE techniques to look for weld penetraion and no porosity, etc.  Perhaps upon further review of the data, this is what they discovered and are now investigating.  Based on what I have seen published here, this seems quite possible to me. 

So, in summary, it happens.  This business is hard and unforgiving.  Regardless of the reason for this, which I'm sure we will ultimately hear about one way or the other, that is why process is vital and important.  They found it and they are investigating.   

Like I said earlier, I have found some the comments fascinating on this thread for a variety of reasons beyond technical discussion. 
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: moose103 on 12/07/2010 03:08 pm
I read the statement correctly, these are not "old pictures from weeks ago."

So this is the other school of thought.  That they can and did just peer inside the assembled rocket on the pad.  So rather than old closeout pictures and a problem they missed earlier, you believe it might be new pictures and a new problem.  Meaning they didn't MISS a cracked nozzle.

In this case we can imagine: maybe it banged against something during the static fire, or a manufacturing issue caused it to be brittle, or...

Wow this really is speculating with ALMOST no information isn't it.  Even Shotwell didn't really know what was going on, so how do I!!!!
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Kabloona on 12/07/2010 03:22 pm
I read the statement correctly, these are not "old pictures from weeks ago."

So this is the other school of thought.  That they can and did just peer inside the assembled rocket on the pad.  So rather than old closeout pictures and a problem they missed earlier, you believe it might be new pictures and a new problem.  Meaning they didn't MISS a cracked nozzle.

In this case we can imagine: maybe it banged against something during the static fire, or a manufacturing issue caused it to be brittle, or...

Wow this really is speculating with ALMOST no information isn't it.  Even Shotwell didn't really know what was going on, so how do I!!!!

Look, this isn't that complicated:

1. You inspect and take closeout photos just before you "close" whatever compartment it is that you're "closing," whenever that happens in the process flow. So, by design, this is the last time you ever look inside the area before launch, and then you bolt the cover on, or whatever. Someone was looking at the closeout photos, maybe someone back in Hawthorne, and saw something they didn't like. They opened up the compartment on the pad and did another visual and confirmed that, yes, there were in fact cracks.

2. Obviously, the cracks occurred before the closeout photos were taken. Exactly when they occurred and how is under investigation.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: KSC Engineer on 12/07/2010 04:11 pm
Jay Barbree is usually pretty good with his research.

That may have been the case back in the 80's, but if you listen to his questions at any shuttle pressers you'll quickly realize he isn't as up to par on what's really happening in space anymore.

Interesting....good to know.   I have not followed things for a while so that makes sense.  Thanks
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: iamlucky13 on 12/07/2010 04:31 pm

PS. You guys with the dremel tool, don't forget about the stiffening ring, you can use it as a straight edge, and you'll need a hot glue gun to put it back on.

I forgot about the stiffening ring. Isn't there actually two of them?

Robertross - I'll have to read the paper you posted later today when I have time.

Small update from the Orlando Sentinel this morning. Looks like Wednesday is out:
http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/space/os-spacex-launch-advancer-20101206,0,1049791.story

Quote
SpaceX President Gwynne Shotwell said that If the nozzle had to be replaced, the launch could slip to Friday or Saturday.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Robotbeat on 12/07/2010 04:33 pm
Just received by email what Chris Bergin posted here:
http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=22041.msg667156#msg667156

(EDIT: Yes, Chris Bergin posted this previously.)
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Robotbeat on 12/07/2010 04:37 pm
Just received by email:
Quote
UPDATE:  COTS Demo 1 Launch Activities
 
SpaceX engineers are analyzing two small cracks in the aft end of the 2nd stage engine nozzle extension.  These cracks are in a region near the end of the nozzle extension where there is very little stress and so they would not cause a flight failure by themselves.  However, further investigation is warranted to ensure that these cracks are not symptomatic of a more serious problem.
A decision on whether or not to attempt launch on Wednesday will be provided this evening [Tuesday].

The bell shaped Merlin Vacuum nozzle extension is made of niobium sheet alloy, measures 9 feet tall and 8 feet at the base diameter, and thins out to about twice the thickness of a soda can at the end.  Although made of an exotic refractory alloy metal with a melting temperature high enough to boil steel, this component is geometrically the simplest part of the engine.

It is important to note that the niobium nozzle extension increases the efficiency of the Merlin engine in vacuum and is installed by default on all upper stage Merlin engines, but that efficiency increase is not required for this mission.  The nozzle extension is most helpful when launching very heavy satellites or to maximize throw mass to distant destinations like Mars.  The most likely path forward is that we will trim off the thinnest portion of the nozzle extension, which is where the cracks are located, perform a thorough systems check and resume launch preparation.

Chris posted this yesterday.
You are correct. I thought it was a little different, but it isn't.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: KSC Engineer on 12/07/2010 04:43 pm
I guess he missed this one or knows something we don't.

Given what I've gathered so far, let's just say I'd trust nblackwell over Jay on this. You might consider there may be are other posters here involved with SpaceX one way or another, i.e. it's not Jim vs. everyone else.

If there's overly tolerant behavior for SpaceX' processes here, that doesn't mean "conspiracy" theories need to be made on the other side on how they get it easier at every step, compared to ULA or whatnot.

I watched the presser again and based on the comments here - what she might have said was "we are not flying over Europe" versus a short "The FAA has approved our flight."   This would have been a more clear answer but it does sound like Jay was off the mark on this one.  As to conspiracy theories - anyone who doesn't believe political favorites do not receive easier processes than others is either new at this or very naive.  It is clear they are the political favorite at this time due to the desire of the WH and NASA to promote "commercialization of space".   Don't kid yourself.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: yg1968 on 12/07/2010 04:48 pm
Small update from the Orlando Sentinel this morning. Looks like Wednesday is out:
http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/space/os-spacex-launch-advancer-20101206,0,1049791.story

Quote
SpaceX President Gwynne Shotwell said that If the nozzle had to be replaced, the launch could slip to Friday or Saturday.

I don't think that the Sentinel article is an update. It's simply the information that was provided at the press conference, yesterday.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Retired Downrange on 12/07/2010 04:54 pm
...and then Discovery was heard to say to Falcon 9:

"My cracks are bigger than your cracks."
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: ugordan on 12/07/2010 04:54 pm
It is clear they are the political favorite at this time due to the desire of the WH and NASA to promote "commercialization of space".   Don't kid yourself.

Oh, please.

1) Political favoritism,
2) low transparency on the part of SpaceX,
3) pressure on the Range to make exceptions for SpaceX which are not granted to EELV or Shuttle,
4) FAA waiver for Europe flyover,
5) increased funding - during hard times in Washington

1) What favoritism? The fact Obama visited SLC-40 instead of SLC-41 where an Atlas was sitting with a military payload? I don't exactly see either LockMart, Boeing, ULA, Orbital being locked out of any "commercial" crew program.

2) Low transparency on what? Did you actually watch the press conference, specifically NASA managers' comments on this topic? Or do you expect they're obliged to tell outside people *everything*? Were they not forthcoming with telling us what the current issue is? You want actual images of the cracks?

3) What pressure? Are you talking about the 15 minute extension granted by the Range the other day? You think the Range guys wouldn't do the same for ULA or NASA, but would rather close up shop at 3 PM sharp because, hey, it's their end of day?

4) I think nblackwell already made the point here.

5) What increased funding?

Anyone can see things they want to see. The question is are they really there?
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Robotbeat on 12/07/2010 04:55 pm
...and then Discovery was heard to say to Falcon 9:

"My cracks are bigger than your cracks."
LOL!
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Kabloona on 12/07/2010 05:00 pm
 Quote: "It is clear they are the political favorite at this time due to the desire of the WH and NASA to promote "commercialization of space".   Don't kid yourself."


Is this a surprise/secret to anybody? Why would the WH/NASA not want F9 and Taurus II to succeed, after choosing to go this route? Because they'd rather keep flying to ISS on Aeroflot? They're putting they're money on SpaceX and Orbital, so of course they want them to succeed.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Swatch on 12/07/2010 05:01 pm
...and then Discovery was heard to say to Falcon 9:

"My cracks are bigger than your cracks."

"It's not the size that matters..."


... it's the delay it causes.  :D
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: mr. mark on 12/07/2010 05:36 pm
NASA now reporting that launch set for Wednesday (at earliest). I thought we would not get a definite until tonight.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: cuddihy on 12/07/2010 05:38 pm

It sounds like you're working under the assumption that the damage was a preexisting condition that simply wasn't caught.   What would your opinion on the matter be if the damage had developed after integration with the vehicle?  In that situation, it seems their process caught it at exactly the right time.  I don't believe they've released information that implies one situation over the other, so I'm just playing devil's advocate.

Still a process failure. 
1.  The damage occurred
2.   the incident that caused the damage wasn't caught right away or still is unknown.

This whole "SpaceX has bad processes" allegation sounds like unsupported government NASA-managese.

First, for a process to be "good," it has to be iterated and repeated over the long term. Because the second F9 flight is delayed, hardly qualifies as when you determine your processes are "broken," or bad.

Maybe you say that if the F9 Flight 2 crashes to the pad due to a repeateable process failure. But you don't add expensive steps along the way JUST IN CASE, unless you're sure they're actually necessary.

But there is cost to every added concrete assurance step in either time, money, or usually both. Only in a "prevent failure at any cost" environment is it reasonable to insist that every conceiveable assurance step has to be taken.

If this was the first manned COTS-D I'd say you might have a point. But it ain't. There's no call for nuclear-weapons level assurance procedures here. Failure does HAVE to be an option, albeit a very rare one.

If the entrepenurs in silicon valley had taken the "everything can be prevented by good processes" outlook towards semiconductors in the 70s, our desktops would still be on iron-core memory 16Kbyte computers like shuttle was until recently.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: nooneofconsequence on 12/07/2010 05:44 pm
Quote: "It is clear they are the political favorite at this time due to the desire of the WH and NASA to promote "commercialization of space".   Don't kid yourself."


Is this a surprise/secret to anybody? Why would the WH/NASA not want F9 and Taurus II to succeed, after choosing to go this route? Because they'd rather keep flying to ISS on Aeroflot? They're putting they're money on SpaceX and Orbital, so of course they want them to succeed.
Lets not get so tied up in agendas that we can't see the forest through the trees.

Shuttle is gracefully concluding its program - what do we fly with now? We are way overdue here.

Nothing has as much traction but SpaceX at the moment. Anyone who isn't crossing fingers (and toes) right now for these guys are anti HSF jerks.

You can wish many things well simultaneously - its not a "zero sum" game. I could care less who gets cut what slack, so long as we have players in this game that can do their best to fly safely.

If I notice a process failure, I'll quietly, appropriately, carefully let them know. Critique helps you get things right. They need every bit they can get. In a "helpful" way.

Because I want them to win. Because then we all win. What goes around comes around. That's why we are the "United" States. We unite around our joint strengths. As we should do with everyone who makes it onto the pad.

Thats assuming that ... we all want to win ... don't we? Much later further down the line ... you can take score on how things worked.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: yg1968 on 12/07/2010 05:45 pm
It is clear they are the political favorite at this time due to the desire of the WH and NASA to promote "commercialization of space".   Don't kid yourself.

Oh, please.

1) Political favoritism,
2) low transparency on the part of SpaceX,
3) pressure on the Range to make exceptions for SpaceX which are not granted to EELV or Shuttle,
4) FAA waiver for Europe flyover,
5) increased funding - during hard times in Washington

1) What favoritism? The fact Obama visited SLC-40 instead of SLC-41 where an Atlas was sitting with a military payload? I don't exactly see either LockMart, Boeing, ULA, Orbital being locked out of any "commercial" crew program.

2) Low transparency on what? Did you actually watch the press conference, specifically NASA managers' comments on this topic? Or do you expect they're obliged to tell outside people *everything*? Were they not forthcoming with telling us what the current issue is? You want actual images of the cracks?

3) What pressure? Are you talking about the 15 minute extension granted by the Range the other day? You think the Range guys wouldn't do the same for ULA or NASA, but would rather close up shop at 3 PM sharp because, hey, it's their end of day?

4) I think nblackwell already made the point here.

5) What increased funding?

Anyone can see things they want to see. The question is are they really there?

I agree with Ugordan on this. If you are going to make claims like those, you will need better arguments than a "don't be so naive" argument. Although I saw that you later back tracked on many of your arguments once Jim told you this was not the case.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: KSC Engineer on 12/07/2010 05:54 pm
You sound naïve. 
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: jimvela on 12/07/2010 05:55 pm
This whole "SpaceX has bad processes" allegation sounds like unsupported government NASA-managese.

I don't know any details first hand. 

That said, this is reported to be a defective weld which has cracked (high porosity weld which now has an identified defect).

IF That is the case, then this should have been caught early in production.  The weld would have been defective at fab, you don't get bad welds by shipping the product.  The production process for the nozzle extension (Fab AND QA) appear to have failed.  If so, shame on SpaceX for that process escape.

The process that didn't fail apparently is that closeout photo analysis identified a defect.  If so, kudos to SpaceX for that process success.

Quote
First, for a process to be "good," it has to be iterated and repeated over the long term. Because the second F9 flight is delayed, hardly qualifies as when you determine your processes are "broken," or bad.

Wrong.  For a process to be good, it has to work, work repeatably, and do so with the minimal amount of process overhead on the enterprise.

Here, it appears that the nozzle fabrication and inspection process didn't work correctly.

I hope that SpaceX comment further- they've been pretty darned open, and it's a promising sign that they're willing to admit mistakes and learn from them.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Robotbeat on 12/07/2010 06:04 pm
You sound naïve. 
Is it naïveté or is it merely a different perspective than your own?

nooneofconsequence has it right. As does Jim, of course.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: KSC Engineer on 12/07/2010 06:05 pm
Depends on who has the most facts.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: ugordan on 12/07/2010 06:05 pm
You sound naïve. 

I appreciate you taking the time to address my questions. Your point has been taken, I apologize for the error of my ways.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Avron on 12/07/2010 06:21 pm
Question, can you be out of process, if you are still in demo stage, i.e non production?
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: yg1968 on 12/07/2010 06:23 pm
You sound naïve. 

Your post made me laugh which was likely the intent. :)

Anyways, you have back tracked on most of your points. So I don't see the point on harping on this. 

Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Jim on 12/07/2010 06:23 pm

This whole "SpaceX has bad processes" allegation sounds like unsupported government NASA-managese.


This whole post smacks of nuspace koolade. 

It is not an allegation but reality that has been proven over and over.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: iamlucky13 on 12/07/2010 06:36 pm
This whole "SpaceX has bad processes" allegation sounds like unsupported government NASA-managese.

I'll try to keep my comment short, then bow out, because we're going in marginally off-topic circles.

If I remember right, what was said was not, "SpaceX has bad processes," but rather that "SpaceX had a process failure." Generalization versus specific case.

And it's true. An apparent defect got through all the levels of quality control except the last. Yes, the last level succeeded, but that's definitely not ideal. It's inconvenient, and it's hypothetically the least reliable way to catch small details like this.

But don't get worked up about it. The fact that they failed to catch a defect is not the end of the world for them, nor is the fact that people on the internet noticed the mistake.

NASA's faced far worse than Jim pointing out they had a process failure. Congressmen questioning the value of NASA and major news outlets publishing syndicated editorials calling for the end to human spaceflight haven't killed off these programs. SpaceX are grownups. They'll survive a small QA process failure, too, as long as they recognize the need for improvement.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Space Pete on 12/07/2010 06:46 pm
Some hi-res photos of the Falcon 9 static firing are now up at the KSC Media Gallery!

http://mediaarchive.ksc.nasa.gov/search.cfm
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Antares on 12/07/2010 06:48 pm
Why would someone take photos of a nozzle aft-end weld while it was in the interstage, mated and maybe vertical?  That doesn't make sense.  IMEO, these photos have been around for months or weeks, and they're just now looking at them.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Namechange User on 12/07/2010 06:52 pm
Why would someone take photos of a nozzle aft-end weld while it was in the interstage, mated and maybe vertical?  That doesn't make sense.  IMEO, these photos have been around for months or weeks, and they're just now looking at them.

Agreed.  I think what may have been likely is that someone was reviewing the build package, the x-rays, etc I discussed earlier, for this nozzle, noted a possible discrepency, and while investigating that went into the interstage to document the current condition for data collection. 
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Kabloona on 12/07/2010 07:08 pm
Why would someone take photos of a nozzle aft-end weld while it was in the interstage, mated and maybe vertical?  That doesn't make sense.  IMEO, these photos have been around for months or weeks, and they're just now looking at them.

I'll just make 2 quick points:

1. The NASA press release clearly stated that the defect was spotted during a "routine review of close-out photos." Their phrase: close-out.

2. It's not unprecedented to do a nozzle inspection like this after mating and before closing out an interstage. I personally inspected the TOS/Orbus 21 carbon-carbon nozzle AFTER stacking on Titan III for the Mars Observer mission, as a final check to verify that the nozzle hadn't been damaged during stacking. Yes, a weld crack may have occurred much earlier in the process. But it's not terribly surprising to me that SpaceX would take one last look at the nozzle before closing out the interstage.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Robotbeat on 12/07/2010 07:09 pm
Why would someone take photos of a nozzle aft-end weld while it was in the interstage, mated and maybe vertical?  That doesn't make sense.  IMEO, these photos have been around for months or weeks, and they're just now looking at them.

Agreed.  I think what may have been likely is that someone was reviewing the build package, the x-rays, etc I discussed earlier, for this nozzle, noted a possible discrepency, and while investigating that went into the interstage to document the current condition for data collection. 
Sounds reasonable to me.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: KSC Engineer on 12/07/2010 07:13 pm
It is clear they are the political favorite at this time due to the desire of the WH and NASA to promote "commercialization of space".   Don't kid yourself.

Oh, please.

1) Political favoritism,
2) low transparency on the part of SpaceX,
3) pressure on the Range to make exceptions for SpaceX which are not granted to EELV or Shuttle,
4) FAA waiver for Europe flyover,
5) increased funding - during hard times in Washington

1) What favoritism? The fact Obama visited SLC-40 instead of SLC-41 where an Atlas was sitting with a military payload? I don't exactly see either LockMart, Boeing, ULA, Orbital being locked out of any "commercial" crew program.

2) Low transparency on what? Did you actually watch the press conference, specifically NASA managers' comments on this topic? Or do you expect they're obliged to tell outside people *everything*? Were they not forthcoming with telling us what the current issue is? You want actual images of the cracks?

3) What pressure? Are you talking about the 15 minute extension granted by the Range the other day? You think the Range guys wouldn't do the same for ULA or NASA, but would rather close up shop at 3 PM sharp because, hey, it's their end of day?

4) I think nblackwell already made the point here.

5) What increased funding?

Anyone can see things they want to see. The question is are they really there?

I agree with Ugordan on this. If you are going to make claims like those, you will need better arguments than a "don't be so naive" argument. Although I saw that you later back tracked on many of your arguments once Jim told you this was not the case.

Backdown? - I would call it being reasonable when better data is brought forward.  Jay Barbree is a veteran reporter and maybe he got the question all wrong about the European flyover and obviously the response to his question was not very good either.  I accept that based on some folks here like Jim who seem to know this topic. Jim has proven to have good data and I trust his judgment in areas he has expertise. So on that issue yes I concede that there is better data out there and this item may be non important and Jay should not have raise the question. 

The other topics I mentioned are clear to those who work near to these areas but if you are an outsider I can understand how it might be hard to believe this.  Naive is a strong word but I see it a lot from people who don't know how things work within our government.  Go work in WDC for five years and let me know what you think after that. 

Focused favoritism, relatively low transparency overall (did you not hear the questions in the presser over this - not just my opinion), Range streamlining in certain areas, increased/add on funding - its all there if you will allow yourself to be objective.   Shooting the messenger is not going to change reality. 
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: sdsds on 12/07/2010 07:32 pm
Quote from: SpaceX
The most likely path forward is that we will trim off the thinnest portion of the nozzle extension, which is where the cracks are located, perform a thorough systems check and resume launch preparation.

First thoughts:  "Incredible.  They must be insane."

But then, trying to interpret this in a way that doesn't seem surreal, maybe SpaceX knew long ago that this portion of the nozzle extension was going to be difficult to manufacture and might cause trouble.  Maybe they have already done a complete analysis of the vehicle flying in the "shortened extension" configuration, including performance effects, vibro-acoustic coupling effects, and kinematics.  Maybe they already have a process for removing this part from the nozzle extension, tested on other units that failed in this way during manufacturing.

Yes, with all that, the idea doesn't seem surreal at all.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Lee Jay on 12/07/2010 07:32 pm
Go work in WDC for five years and let me know what you think after that. 

Wouldn't a lobotomy be quicker and less painful?
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Antares on 12/07/2010 07:35 pm
1. The NASA press release clearly stated that the defect was spotted during a "routine review of close-out photos." Their phrase: close-out.

On another issue several years ago, I was corrected by public affairs officers even though they were technically inaccurate.  They had already gone public and didn't want to be seen as wrong.

(shrugs)
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: llo2015 on 12/07/2010 07:40 pm
Jay Barbree's question about launch azimuth and European flyover was exactly correct.  In the event of a second stage engine-out event during the last minute of powered flight, SpaceX's Falcon-9/Dragon has sufficient velocity and energy to make a sub-orbital European over flight and uncontrolled decent.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Kabloona on 12/07/2010 07:41 pm
1. The NASA press release clearly stated that the defect was spotted during a "routine review of close-out photos." Their phrase: close-out.

On another issue several years ago, I was corrected by public affairs officers even though they were technically inaccurate.  They had already gone public and didn't want to be seen as wrong.

(shrugs)

Granted, wouldn't be the first or last time PAO is wrong! Just sayin...that's how the whole "close-out" thing got started.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: ugordan on 12/07/2010 07:58 pm
Jay Barbree's question about launch azimuth and European flyover was exactly correct.  In the event of a second stage engine-out event during the last minute of powered flight, SpaceX's Falcon-9/Dragon has sufficient velocity and energy to make a sub-orbital European over flight and uncontrolled decent.

At 34.5 target inclination on this flight, that's going to be a stretch.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: wjbarnett on 12/07/2010 08:30 pm
Since I just checked, I thought I would share: Gibraltar is at 36N
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: yg1968 on 12/07/2010 08:33 pm
It is clear they are the political favorite at this time due to the desire of the WH and NASA to promote "commercialization of space".   Don't kid yourself.

Oh, please.

1) Political favoritism,
2) low transparency on the part of SpaceX,
3) pressure on the Range to make exceptions for SpaceX which are not granted to EELV or Shuttle,
4) FAA waiver for Europe flyover,
5) increased funding - during hard times in Washington

1) What favoritism? The fact Obama visited SLC-40 instead of SLC-41 where an Atlas was sitting with a military payload? I don't exactly see either LockMart, Boeing, ULA, Orbital being locked out of any "commercial" crew program.

2) Low transparency on what? Did you actually watch the press conference, specifically NASA managers' comments on this topic? Or do you expect they're obliged to tell outside people *everything*? Were they not forthcoming with telling us what the current issue is? You want actual images of the cracks?

3) What pressure? Are you talking about the 15 minute extension granted by the Range the other day? You think the Range guys wouldn't do the same for ULA or NASA, but would rather close up shop at 3 PM sharp because, hey, it's their end of day?

4) I think nblackwell already made the point here.

5) What increased funding?

Anyone can see things they want to see. The question is are they really there?

I agree with Ugordan on this. If you are going to make claims like those, you will need better arguments than a "don't be so naive" argument. Although I saw that you later back tracked on many of your arguments once Jim told you this was not the case.

Backdown? - I would call it being reasonable when better data is brought forward.  Jay Barbree is a veteran reporter and maybe he got the question all wrong about the European flyover and obviously the response to his question was not very good either.  I accept that based on some folks here like Jim who seem to know this topic. Jim has proven to have good data and I trust his judgment in areas he has expertise. So on that issue yes I concede that there is better data out there and this item may be non important and Jay should not have raise the question. 

The other topics I mentioned are clear to those who work near to these areas but if you are an outsider I can understand how it might be hard to believe this.  Naive is a strong word but I see it a lot from people who don't know how things work within our government.  Go work in WDC for five years and let me know what you think after that. 

Focused favoritism, relatively low transparency overall (did you not hear the questions in the presser over this - not just my opinion), Range streamlining in certain areas, increased/add on funding - its all there if you will allow yourself to be objective.   Shooting the messenger is not going to change reality. 

Jim said that the FAA did not grant any favours to SpaceX and you seem to have accepted that. So I was under the impression that you changed your mind on this issue.

As far as favoritism, SpaceX was granted money under COTS which was a program started under Griffin and Bush. This is a continuation of the same program. Let's wait and see what happens under commercial crew before saying that there is SpaceX favoratism. Remember that SpaceX did not win any awards under CCDev 1 despite this "alleged" favoratism.

I am not convinced that the additionnal COTS money will ever be appropriated by Congress and NASA has yet to even make a sollicitation for this new COTS round. Chances are by the time that it gets appropriated (if it ever is), Space X will no longer need it. Orbital has more chances of being awarded that money than SpaceX does.

SpaceX has to fly 3 COTS demo flights. Orbital only has to fly one test flight under COTS. Some of the COTS money could be awarded to Orbital in order for them to provide more test flights. Some additional money could also be provided for Orbital to develop down mass capacity (which they do not currently intend to provide). Most of this additionnal COTS money will likely be going to Orbital if you ask me. But if Spacex is awarded commercial crew development money and Orbital isn't, perhaps the results will even out.   

Incidentally, SpaceX also gets less money per flight (and per KG of cargo) than Orbital in their CRS contract. This also tends to discredit your SpaceX favoratism theory. Incidentally, I am not saying that there is a favoratism towards Orbital. Orbital negotiated a better deal. That's all there is to it.   

On your last point, I agree with the lack of transparency. But that is typical of private companies. They try to disclose as little information as possible. Partly because they don't want their competition to know what they are doing. Partly because the more information you give, the more your enemies can attempt to use it against you. 
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Kabloona on 12/07/2010 09:09 pm
Nice commentary in Space News:

http://www.spacenews.com/commentaries/101206-not-because-easy-because-hard.html
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: jabe on 12/07/2010 09:23 pm
if it is too believed..wednesday launch...Orlando Sentinel article (http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/space/os-spacex-advance-prep-120710-20101207,0,4267709.story)
jb
Quote
The long-awaited first launch, which was delayed a day by cracks in the nozzle of the upper-stage engine of the company's Falcon 9 rocket, was set after engineers decided that they could get rid of the cracks by trimming a few feet off the nozzle extension without significantly impacting the performance of the rocket, according to company sources.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Kabloona on 12/07/2010 09:26 pm
Quote:

"The long-awaited first launch, which was delayed a day by cracks in the nozzle of the upper-stage engine of the company's Falcon 9 rocket, was set after engineers decided that they could get rid of the cracks by trimming a few feet off the nozzle extension without significantly impacting the performance of the rocket, according to company sources."

A few feet? LOL. Try "inches."
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: llo2015 on 12/07/2010 09:34 pm
Since I just checked, I thought I would share: Gibraltar is at 36N

Thanks for your info -

Launch Azimuth of 69.7° from KSC/Cape Canaveral corresponds to an orbit of 34.5° inclination.  This launch azimuth takes the Falcon-9/Dragon in a direction north of Bermuda and a subsequent over-flight track over Gibraltar and the Mediterranean makes sense.

Concerning Jay Barbree's question, Europe or Gibraltar are basically the same concerning his main point which was over-flight due to an event of an engine-out late in powered flight and the potential consequences of an uncontrolled descent.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: XNASA on 12/07/2010 09:41 pm
Quote:

"The long-awaited first launch, which was delayed a day by cracks in the nozzle of the upper-stage engine of the company's Falcon 9 rocket, was set after engineers decided that they could get rid of the cracks by trimming a few feet off the nozzle extension without significantly impacting the performance of the rocket, according to company sources."

A few feet? LOL. Try "inches."

Nope, a few feet is correct.  That isn't a typo.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Johnny Rönnberg on 12/07/2010 09:43 pm
Nasa twitter
It's Go for launch. The launch of the SpaceX Falcon 9 is on for Weds.The window opens at 9am ET. Watch it on
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Kabloona on 12/07/2010 09:43 pm
Quote:

"The long-awaited first launch, which was delayed a day by cracks in the nozzle of the upper-stage engine of the company's Falcon 9 rocket, was set after engineers decided that they could get rid of the cracks by trimming a few feet off the nozzle extension without significantly impacting the performance of the rocket, according to company sources."

A few feet? LOL. Try "inches."

Nope, a few feet is correct.  That isn't a typo.

As in, a few feet of length???? Holy moly...please elaborate.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: docmordrid on 12/07/2010 09:47 pm
Nice to know there's enough margin that it can spare that much, isn't it ;)
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: PahTo on 12/07/2010 09:50 pm

I was thinking the same thing.  Now I wonder if the nozzle "repair" would be an issue if they were launching to a 51.6 inclination...

Nice to know there's enough margin that it can spare that much, isn't it ;)
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Kabloona on 12/07/2010 09:51 pm
Nice to know there's enough margin that it can spare that much, isn't it ;)

I guess they used more than a Dremel...sounds like this was a job for the SawzAll!
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: jabe on 12/07/2010 09:54 pm
curious to see how they did it?  stiffener ring i guess isn't needed since it really isn;t being moved much except straight up ;)
jb
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: robertross on 12/07/2010 09:55 pm
Quote:

"The long-awaited first launch, which was delayed a day by cracks in the nozzle of the upper-stage engine of the company's Falcon 9 rocket, was set after engineers decided that they could get rid of the cracks by trimming a few feet off the nozzle extension without significantly impacting the performance of the rocket, according to company sources."

A few feet? LOL. Try "inches."

Nope, a few feet is correct.  That isn't a typo.

As in, a few feet of length???? Holy moly...please elaborate.

To save bandwidth, from the picture on this post:
http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=22041.msg667323#msg667323

they must be lopping the bell off at the lowest weld joint (probably just below it).
Perfect line to follow ;)

I was shocked too at the 'few feet' comment, but at 9 feet tall, taking maybe 3 feet off probably isn't at any critical point on the curve. Closer to throat, absolutely, but out near the nozzle's end, probably a 5% hit (guesstimate).
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Chandonn on 12/07/2010 09:55 pm
Nice to know there's enough margin that it can spare that much, isn't it ;)

I guess they used more than a Dremel...sounds like this was a job for the SawzAll!

... available at your local Spaceport Depot Store, next to the glue gun and the Duct Tape!

;)
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Kabloona on 12/07/2010 10:01 pm
Quote:

"The long-awaited first launch, which was delayed a day by cracks in the nozzle of the upper-stage engine of the company's Falcon 9 rocket, was set after engineers decided that they could get rid of the cracks by trimming a few feet off the nozzle extension without significantly impacting the performance of the rocket, according to company sources."

A few feet? LOL. Try "inches."

Nope, a few feet is correct.  That isn't a typo.

As in, a few feet of length???? Holy moly...please elaborate.

To save bandwidth, from the picture on this post:
http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=22041.msg667323#msg667323

they must be lopping the bell off at the lowest weld joint (probably just below it).
Perfect line to follow ;)

I was shocked too at the 'few feet' comment, but at 9 feet tall, taking maybe 3 feet off probably isn't at any critical point on the curve. Closer to throat, absolutely, but out near the nozzle's end, probably a 5% hit (guesstimate).


Well, and it's also a thermal issue because now you have a plume expanding "feet" closer than to the aft end of the stage than designed...hope they have plenty of insulation there! And there was that thermal issue last time on S2...
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Mapperuo on 12/07/2010 10:02 pm
Quite shocked they have chosen to lop the end off rather than wait to get a new one which I thought they could get easily for Thursday?
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Chris Bergin on 12/07/2010 10:03 pm
Not cleared for launch just yet....

SpaceX to media: "SpaceX engineers are currently performing their final inspections before launch.  So far everything looks good, but we won't have the final all-clear until around 9PM EST.

Watch for updates."
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: SpaceX_MS on 12/07/2010 10:06 pm
That had to be put out as we've no idea why NASA would say we're already a go. We're close to it, but not yet.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Kabloona on 12/07/2010 10:08 pm
That had to be put out as we've no idea why NASA would say we're already a go. We're close to it, but not yet.

SpaceX, can you provide any further details on the nozzle mod process?
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Chris Bergin on 12/07/2010 10:09 pm
That had to be put out as we've no idea why NASA would say we're already a go. We're close to it, but not yet.

NASA seem convinced :)

Dec. 7, 2010

Michael Braukus
Headquarters, Washington
202-358-1979
[email protected]

George H. Diller
Kennedy Space Center, Fla.
321-867-2468
[email protected]

Josh Byerly
Johnson Space Center, Houston
281-483-5111
[email protected]

MEDIA ADVISORY: M10-170

DEMONSTRATION FLIGHT OF FALCON 9 ROCKET SET FOR WEDNESDAY

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -- The first demonstration flight of SpaceX's
Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon capsule for NASA's Commercial Orbital
Transportation Services program has been scheduled for Wednesday,
Dec. 8, from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. The launch
window extends from 9 a.m. to 12:22 p.m. EST.

During a routine inspection this week, SpaceX engineers observed two
small cracks in the rocket's second stage engine nozzle. SpaceX
completed repairs to the cracked nozzle Tuesday.

Live coverage of the launch will air on NASA Television and the
agency's website. For streaming information, visit:



http://www.nasa.gov/ntv


For more information about the launch, visit:



http://www.nasa.gov/cots

Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: ugordan on 12/07/2010 10:30 pm
Well, and it's also a thermal issue because now you have a plume expanding "feet" closer than to the aft end of the stage than designed...hope they have plenty of insulation there! And there was that thermal issue last time on S2...

Yes, even the smallest change can come back and bite you when it comes to rockets. I hope they thought this over well, they already have experience with "small" changes.

Apparently it's a 4-foot section of the nozzle.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: HOTTOL on 12/07/2010 10:33 pm
Quoting SPACEFLIGHT NOW -Falcon 9 launch timeline
"T+09:35 Dragon Separation
The Dragon capsule separates from the second stage, leaving behind its unpressurized trunk section, which contains secondary CubeSat payloads."

1- Do they mean the trunk will split from Dragon capsule right at Stage 2 sep. ?
In this case the rest of the in-space operations would be made without the trunk attached to Dragon !
2- If yes, how will they separate the trunk from the second stage once Dragon has gone away ?
3- How will they release the Cube Sats which are said to be in the trunk ?
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Kabloona on 12/07/2010 10:35 pm
Well, and it's also a thermal issue because now you have a plume expanding "feet" closer than to the aft end of the stage than designed...hope they have plenty of insulation there! And there was that thermal issue last time on S2...

Yes, even the smallest change can come back and bite you when it comes to rockets. I hope they thought this over well, they already have experience with "small" changes.

Apparently it's a 4-foot section of the nozzle.

Wow, that is non-trivial. These guys are smarter than I am, but I sure hope they did their homework...with a very sharp pencil.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: jimvela on 12/07/2010 10:36 pm
Nice to know there's enough margin that it can spare that much, isn't it ;)

Now we get to learn a bit more about SpaceX.

For example, is the vehicle and (most importantly) FSW ready to deal with a few percent underperformance of the second stage?

Do they just update tables, or spin a whole new FSW build?  IF a new build, how do they QA the new build.  For that matter, how do they handle QA of the overall system configuration of the now-modified integrated vehicle?

Images of Ariane 5 501 pop into mind...

Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: robertross on 12/07/2010 10:38 pm

Well, and it's also a thermal issue because now you have a plume expanding "feet" closer than to the aft end of the stage than designed...hope they have plenty of insulation there! And there was that thermal issue last time on S2...

Very true. Although the radiant heat from the nozzle is also always there.

There will probably be some charring. But it is a 'test flight' after all, and very short.

Rough sketch attached.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: ugordan on 12/07/2010 10:40 pm
For example, is the vehicle and (most importantly) FSW ready to deal with a few percent underperformance of the second stage?

One would think the first flight was just as uncertain performance-wise. The devil is in the details, though.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Kabloona on 12/07/2010 10:45 pm

Well, and it's also a thermal issue because now you have a plume expanding "feet" closer than to the aft end of the stage than designed...hope they have plenty of insulation there! And there was that thermal issue last time on S2...

Very true. Although the radiant heat from the nozzle is also always there.

There will probably be some charring. But it is a 'test flight' after all, and very short.

Rough sketch attached.

Correct, and maybe the heating delta is negligible, but remember that in vacuum the plume expands essentially to infinity, so the plume angle in your sketch will increase to basically vertical...
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: PahTo on 12/07/2010 10:53 pm

It occurs to me that this repair has the added benefit of reducing the chances of nozzle contact at staging...
Still more than a meter gone--almost 50% of the length--whew.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: corrodedNut on 12/07/2010 10:57 pm
Quoting SPACEFLIGHT NOW -Falcon 9 launch timeline
"T+09:35 Dragon Separation
The Dragon capsule separates from the second stage, leaving behind its unpressurized trunk section, which contains secondary CubeSat payloads."

1- Do they mean the trunk will split from Dragon capsule right at Stage 2 sep. ?
In this case the rest of the in-space operations would be made without the trunk attached to Dragon !
2- If yes, how will they separate the trunk from the second stage once Dragon has gone away ?
3- How will they release the Cube Sats which are said to be in the trunk ?

AIUI:

1- Dragon will separate from the stack after 2nd stage shutdown.
2- The trunk will not separate from the 2nd stage.
3- Out of the open end of the trunk, apparently.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: robertross on 12/07/2010 10:58 pm

Correct, and maybe the heating delta is negligible, but remember that in vacuum the plume expands essentially to infinity, so the plume angle in your sketch will increase to basically vertical...

Good point. Darn vacuums...

Just wrap it in duct tape, should work fine  :)

The experts obviously know their thermal model well enough that if they say it's good to go, it's good to go.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: dbhyslop on 12/07/2010 11:03 pm
Quote
SpaceX said the nozzle extension improves the efficiency of its upper-stage Merlin vacuum engine but is not needed to execute the upcoming test flight. Launch time is scheduled between 9:03 a.m. and 12:22 p.m.

The wording of this paragraph in the Sentinal article implies to me that the nozzle is modular and the "extension" is meant to be removable.  If this is the case it is likely that Spacex had already done performance analyses and might have whatever software changes prepared ahead of time as a contingency, even before the discovery of the cracks.

Either way, I'd love to see how they get the thing out!
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Comga on 12/07/2010 11:03 pm
To my knowledge we have no evidence that SpaceX has done ANYTHING to the Niobium bell.  The statement was that from a performance standpoint they could meet mission requirements with a bell shorter than designed by many feet.   It didn't say that they HAD shortened it or even removed a small piece.

Frankly, I will be extremely surprised if they have done anything mechanical, even drilling a stress relief hole at the end of a crack.  The idea that they would take off the stiffening ring, modify the bell, modify the stiffening ring and reattach it or just discard it, and fly, even if they were to pull the rocket apart to expose the engine, is inconceivable.   

Jim excorciates them for not adhering to procedures, and with good reason, but this would be beyond improper. 
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: billh on 12/07/2010 11:06 pm
Well, that would make more sense. I'm just astonished that they would make such a large, unplanned modification to the vehicle so quickly and then attempt a launch the next day. I'd be equally astonished that NASA would be comfortable with it.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: billh on 12/07/2010 11:11 pm
Well, Aviation Week reports they really are cutting off the bottom four feet:

http://www.aviationweek.com/aw/generic/story_channel.jsp?channel=space&id=news/awx/2010/12/07/awx_12_07_2010_p0-274994.xml&headline=Falcon%209%20Readies%20For%20Wednesday%20Launch
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Kabloona on 12/07/2010 11:20 pm
Quote
SpaceX said the nozzle extension improves the efficiency of its upper-stage Merlin vacuum engine but is not needed to execute the upcoming test flight. Launch time is scheduled between 9:03 a.m. and 12:22 p.m.

The wording of this paragraph in the Sentinal article implies to me that the nozzle is modular and the "extension" is meant to be removable.  If this is the case it is likely that Spacex had already done performance analyses and might have whatever software changes prepared ahead of time as a contingency, even before the discovery of the cracks.

Either way, I'd love to see how they get the thing out!

That sounds like the best explanation...that they've done the thermal analysis, etc, without the extension, and thus have already designed and analyzed for the limiting case in which the nozzle extension length goes to zero...But that statement does beg the question, if the extension is "not needed", why not just take it off, and problem solved?

Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: jongoff on 12/07/2010 11:39 pm
Since I just checked, I thought I would share: Gibraltar is at 36N

Thanks for your info -

Launch Azimuth of 69.7° from KSC/Cape Canaveral corresponds to an orbit of 34.5° inclination.  This launch azimuth takes the Falcon-9/Dragon in a direction north of Bermuda and a subsequent over-flight track over Gibraltar and the Mediterranean makes sense.

Concerning Jay Barbree's question, Europe or Gibraltar are basically the same concerning his main point which was over-flight due to an event of an engine-out late in powered flight and the potential consequences of an uncontrolled descent.

It's still pretty weak sauce.  By the time in F9's flight where it's IIP (Instantaneous Impact Point--the point you would hit if you lost power at any given second) is crossing over any populate area, the IIP is going to be moving so fast that the actual odds of it hurting anyone are ridiculously low.  This isn't having your IIP passing over a densely populated are right as you're doing stage separation or something like that.  This is well into the 2nd stage of flight. 

Part of the launch license that SpaceX filed involves calculating E-sub-c (expected casualties).  That's the expected number of people to be hurt from a given flight.  FAA will not let you fly if your E-sub-c is greater than .00003 (30x10^-6). 

The odds of SpaceX's F9 failing at the exact instant it would take to actually hurt someone in Gibraltar or Northern Africa is vanishingly small, even if you assume a 100% probability of launch failure.  Let's do the math.  Say your IIP is going at say 5km/s (IIP typically moves faster than your actual ground track--at the split second before your perigee gets above ground, your IIP actually is effectively going infinitely fast), and your flight is say 600s long, and the populated area is 50km long with people standing hand in hand along the flight path that whole way so there's a 100% chance of fatalities if the thing fails during that timeframe, you're only looking at 1.6% chance (50km/5km/s=10s, 10s/600s =.016).

Yawn.

~Jon

[Note: the specific numbers like flight duration and IIP velocity and 50km populated area were all total guesstimates pulled out of certain nether regions]
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Antares on 12/07/2010 11:47 pm
SpaceX also gets less money per flight (and per KG of cargo) than Orbital in their CRS contract. This also tends to discredit your SpaceX favoratism theory. Incidentally, I am not saying that there is a favoratism towards Orbital. Orbital negotiated a better deal. That's all there is to it.

Not if their costs are higher.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: R.Simko on 12/07/2010 11:48 pm
This removing 4 ft. from the bell makes me feel like I'm reading a sci-fi novel and if the crew, that is stranded on Mars doesn't make an unorthodox emergency repair in a matter of hours, they will miss their launch window and never make it back home.


 I'll say one thing, SpaceX sure makes it exciting.   I can't wait for SpaceX the movie to come out.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: TheFallen on 12/07/2010 11:50 pm
Glad to see that this launch will be broadcast on NASA TV tomorrow.  No poor-quality streaming this time around... (Presumably)
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: mr. mark on 12/07/2010 11:55 pm
Responding to reporters today about changes to the engine bell, Elon Musk had this to say about Falcon:
"She'll make point five past lightspeed. She may not look like much, but she's got it where it counts, kid. I've made a lot of special modifications myself".
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Antares on 12/07/2010 11:58 pm
Y'all take a lot of things on faith, assuming SpaceX has analyzed this case.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Malderi on 12/08/2010 12:01 am
Responding to reporters today about changes to the engine bell, Elon Musk had this to say about Falcon:
"She'll make point five past lightspeed. She may not look like much, but she's got it where it counts, kid. I've made a lot of special modifications myself".

The funny part is, I can actually imagine him saying something like that.

Of course, everyone thought they were crazy when they launched an hour after a pad abort. For everyone that thinks what they're doing is crazy, hold your opinions until after it (maybe) blows up. Let's just call it waiting for experimental data.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: joshcryer on 12/08/2010 12:05 am
Glad to see that this launch will be broadcast on NASA TV tomorrow.  No poor-quality streaming this time around... (Presumably)

Probably point their range cameras down to the SpaceX pad like last time. Hopefully they'll bring some equipment down there and get some good close up footage.

I think they have fixed the web stream though, the test firing on the second day was very good.

I don't think they're crazy for cutting an unnecessary nozzle extension, I don't think they're crazy for launching after pad aborts, I don't think they're crazy for continuing to play with their system until they get a test fire.

I think they're just that good.

The whole system is designed to recover from aborts. The nozzle extension is there for efficiency boosting purposes. If they don't need it for completion of this Demo, why would they go and replace it? Cutting it just is a logical engineering choice when you have time considerations.

Go SpaceX. :D
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: jimvela on 12/08/2010 12:06 am
Let's just call it waiting for experimental data.

Experimenting with taxpayer dollars on a system that will be crucially needed for the future sustaining of the ISS...
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Kabloona on 12/08/2010 12:06 am
Y'all take a lot of things on faith, assuming SpaceX has analyzed this case.

Well, we're all kind of hampered by lack of firsthand (or even much secondhand) information. All we know is what we're told:

Quote from Av Week: "To fix the problem, engineers cut off the bottom four feet of the nozzle, then ran analysis to assure the engine would perform as expected."

If they say they ran the analysis, I guess I have to choose whether to believe that, or not. Them being a lot smarter than me, I'm kinda believing they did.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Jim_LAX on 12/08/2010 12:08 am
Does anyone know if the Dragon will splashdown off the coast of Morro Bay California?  That is where the parachute drop test was done last month.  That would be a pleasant drive up the coast from Los Angeles to see the Dragon being towed back to shore.
Thanks in advance.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Jim on 12/08/2010 12:09 am

I think they're just that good.


Some serious koolade guzzling going on.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: robertross on 12/08/2010 12:11 am
Does anyone know if the Dragon will splashdown off the coast of Morro Bay California?  That is where the parachute drop test was done last month.  That would be a pleasant drive up the coast from Los Angeles to see the Dragon being towed back to shore.
Thanks in advance.

From the press kit:
"After travelling approximately 50,000 miles, the
Dragon spacecraft is expected to land in the Pacific
Ocean about 500 miles off of the coast of Mexico
approximately three and a half hours after launch."
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Jim on 12/08/2010 12:15 am

If they say they ran the analysis, I guess I have to choose whether to believe that, or not. Them being a lot smarter than me, I'm kinda believing they did.

The issue isn't "an" analysis, it is which ones?

Good system engineering says there is more than one.

Engine performance analysis which inputs into a trajectory analysis.
Control analysis update and maybe a gain adjustment.
Then there are plume and thermo analysis. 

there may be others
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Jim_LAX on 12/08/2010 12:16 am
500 miles off the coast of Mexico.  And my propeller car is in the shop!
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: joshcryer on 12/08/2010 12:16 am
Some serious koolade guzzling going on.

Eggnog thank you very much. I'll be drinking the tears of the naysayers when they do a completely nominal launch and recovery. :D
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Jim on 12/08/2010 12:17 am
Some serious koolade guzzling going on.

Eggnog thank you very much. I'll be drinking the tears of the naysayers when they do a completely nominal launch and recovery. :D

A blind squirrel gets the nut sometimes.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: joshcryer on 12/08/2010 12:24 am
A blind squirrel gets the nut sometimes.

How many flights will it take before you don't consider SpaceX a "blind squirrel"?
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: mr. mark on 12/08/2010 12:25 am
Jim, all this joking aside, What's really going on here. Could you put yourself into the minds of Spacex engineers and tell us why they are just not waiting for the new bell to arrive. To me, it seems extremely risky. How do we know that guidance will not be affected? I'd like to know from you what you think.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Cinder on 12/08/2010 12:29 am
A blind squirrel gets the nut sometimes.

How many flights will it take before you don't consider SpaceX a "blind squirrel"?
Proverbial squirrel might've been you, not SpaceX. 
Incorrectness of this guess is all my responsibility.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: corrodedNut on 12/08/2010 12:30 am
What's going here? Not all of the pictures (different days, different times of day?) show this umbilical like this, but what gives?
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: jimvela on 12/08/2010 12:30 am
Some serious koolade guzzling going on.

Eggnog thank you very much. I'll be drinking the tears of the naysayers when they do a completely nominal launch and recovery. :D

A blind squirrel gets the nut sometimes.

Not only that, the trick isn't "just" (!!) getting flight 2 to be successful (with the undivided attention of the entire enterprise, excited and willing to bust butt)

It is in making flights way down the road successful (when the flight rate is high,  there are waves of flight stages going through processing flow, and the once-eager-to-work-unlimited-OT crews are now burnt out and exhausted)
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Jim on 12/08/2010 12:31 am
A blind squirrel gets the nut sometimes.

How many flights will it take before you don't consider SpaceX a "blind squirrel"?

When their success rate is above 90%
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Kabloona on 12/08/2010 12:34 am

If they say they ran the analysis, I guess I have to choose whether to believe that, or not. Them being a lot smarter than me, I'm kinda believing they did.

The issue isn't "an" analysis, it is which ones?

Good system engineering says there is more than one.

Engine performance analysis which inputs into a trajectory analysis.
Control analysis update and maybe a gain adjustment.
Then there are plume and thermo analysis. 

there may be others


Yes, I think we all understand that there is more than one "analysis" to be done. The singular of the word "analysis" was from one sentence in Av Week for consumption of the general public. Pretty sure SpaceX doesn't need me to tell them which analyses (plural) to do.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: robertross on 12/08/2010 12:34 am
What's going here? Not all of the pictures (different days, different times of day?) show this umbilical like this, but what gives?

Looks like wind shear to me ...lol

(wind blowing a duct around)
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Jim on 12/08/2010 12:35 am
What's going here? Not all of the pictures (different days, different times of day?) show this umbilical like this, but what gives?

I would look for the other half on the erector

And it is connected here

http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=22041.msg667114#msg667114

edit

and it is hanging on the erector on the third pic.

This would have be a big deal for a regular spacecraft to be without ECS.  Especially considering the high winds of the last few days.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: joshcryer on 12/08/2010 12:38 am
When their success rate is above 90%

Falcon 9 success rate is 100%.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: jimvela on 12/08/2010 12:39 am
When their success rate is above 90%

Falcon 9 success rate is 100%.

I would add "and the sample size is > 5".  E.g. five straight or 9 of 10.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Jim on 12/08/2010 12:41 am
When their success rate is above 90%

Falcon 9 success rate is 100%.

Spacex rate is not 100%
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Lee Jay on 12/08/2010 12:42 am
A blind squirrel gets the nut sometimes.

How many flights will it take before you don't consider SpaceX a "blind squirrel"?

When their success rate is above 90%

Are you including all the failures up to now?  Do you consider Falcon 9 flight one a failure or a success?
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: jimvela on 12/08/2010 12:44 am
Are you including all the failures up to now?  Do you consider Falcon 9 flight one a failure or a success?

He is correctly counting Falcon 1 flights as SpaceX launch attempts.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Chandonn on 12/08/2010 12:46 am
A blind squirrel gets the nut sometimes.

How many flights will it take before you don't consider SpaceX a "blind squirrel"?

Now, now.  Jim's right.  They're just a bunch of kids playing with their backyard rockets...  They don't have a clue what they're doing.  Put the Kool-Aid away...  I seem to remember him saying they wouldn't get to orbit... after Falcon 1 flight 4, in fact...

Even a rocket expert is sometimes proven wrong.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: tigerade on 12/08/2010 12:48 am
A blind squirrel gets the nut sometimes.

How many flights will it take before you don't consider SpaceX a "blind squirrel"?

When their success rate is above 90%

Logically, I agree with you.  Above 90% would be reason to be confident technically, which would be 20-30+ successful launches to make up for the first 3 F1 flights (according to my non-mathematical guess work).  There is nothing wrong with your thinking on a logical and technical level.  However, do you really want to wait years until you are willing to cheer for this team of people of SpaceX, who are clearly working their butts off to be successful?  It's more of an emotional issue.  People love the underdog.  I enjoy seeing them try and accomplish these enormous challenges, and they seem to have the will and heart to do it.  You have to remember to make sense of things on an emotional level.  If they were complacent, lazy, or incompetent, then I would be on the same boat with you.  However, I see no evidence of any.  They are giving it their best.  Regardless of the results of this next launch, I think SpaceX is going places.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Jim on 12/08/2010 12:50 am
I am just trying to counter balance the unwarranted and blind worship of all things Spacex.  I call a spade a spade.  I support Spacex but with tempered enthusiasm.

I was in the same boat at one time, supporting the first real commercial space company, Spacehab. 
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Chris Bergin on 12/08/2010 12:52 am
Still waiting for SpaceX to confirm tomorrow is on (should be).

Very long thread, remember people are looking for information so post if it's useful, not because it's fun to. And to the new people, Jim is probably the most qualified person you could ever wish to speak with on these things.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: jimvela on 12/08/2010 12:52 am
Now, now.  Jim's right.  They're just a bunch of kids playing with their backyard rockets...  They don't have a clue what they're doing.  Put the Kool-Aid away...  I seem to remember him saying they wouldn't get to orbit... after Falcon 1 flight 4, in fact...

Even a rocket expert is sometimes proven wrong.

He's right.

F1 Flight 1 > Failure
F1 Flight 2 > Failure
F1 Flight 3 > Failure
F1 Flight 4 > Success*  (Dummy payload)
F1 Flight 5 > Success

F9 Flight 1 > Success * (Couldn't re-start 2nd stage, steering failure on 2nd stage engine).

By my count they're no better than 50% launch success rate at present.

What is racking up is flight heritage on the Merlin 1 series engine.  F9 Flight 1 more than doubled the runtime on the engine, and F9 flight 2 will again nearly double the runtime on the engine.

If there is no problem with the Merlins on F9 Flight 2, there will be a significant amount of runtime on the design- and that is at least very promising.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: llo2015 on 12/08/2010 12:55 am
Since I just checked, I thought I would share: Gibraltar is at 36N

Thanks for your info -

Launch Azimuth of 69.7° from KSC/Cape Canaveral corresponds to an orbit of 34.5° inclination.  This launch azimuth takes the Falcon-9/Dragon in a direction north of Bermuda and a subsequent over-flight track over Gibraltar and the Mediterranean makes sense.

Concerning Jay Barbree's question, Europe or Gibraltar are basically the same concerning his main point which was over-flight due to an event of an engine-out late in powered flight and the potential consequences of an uncontrolled descent.

It's still pretty weak sauce.  By the time in F9's flight where it's IIP (Instantaneous Impact Point--the point you would hit if you lost power at any given second) is crossing over any populate area, the IIP is going to be moving so fast that the actual odds of it hurting anyone are ridiculously low.  This isn't having your IIP passing over a densely populated are right as you're doing stage separation or something like that.  This is well into the 2nd stage of flight. 

Part of the launch license that SpaceX filed involves calculating E-sub-c (expected casualties).  That's the expected number of people to be hurt from a given flight.  FAA will not let you fly if your E-sub-c is greater than .00003 (30x10^-6). 

The odds of SpaceX's F9 failing at the exact instant it would take to actually hurt someone in Gibraltar or Northern Africa is vanishingly small, even if you assume a 100% probability of launch failure.  Let's do the math.  Say your IIP is going at say 5km/s (IIP typically moves faster than your actual ground track--at the split second before your perigee gets above ground, your IIP actually is effectively going infinitely fast), and your flight is say 600s long, and the populated area is 50km long with people standing hand in hand along the flight path that whole way so there's a 100% chance of fatalities if the thing fails during that timeframe, you're only looking at 1.6% chance (50km/5km/s=10s, 10s/600s =.016).

Yawn.

~Jon

[Note: the specific numbers like flight duration and IIP velocity and 50km populated area were all total guesstimates pulled out of certain nether regions]

The nominal launch track and orbital insertion for a Falcon-9/Dragon launch occurs over the open Atlantic about 900 nautical miles from Cape Canaveral.  The over-flight issues only involves the case of a late in powered flight second stage engine-out event. 

In my view, the SpaceX representative should have told Jay that if that Falcon-9 missed orbital velocity, both the second stage and Dragon capsule could be maneuvered to a safe disposal in the Atlantic
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: joshcryer on 12/08/2010 12:56 am
I never disagreed with Jim about process. I explicitly asked my questions because I wanted to know from the guys who know things just where the process could've broken down (with regards to extension nozzle QC). Unfortunately I didn't get any solid answers in that respect.

See you guys in the live thread (and sorry for the button pushing about 100% Falcon 9 success, I'm not stupid, I know that's not a relevant sample size, heh). :)
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Kabloona on 12/08/2010 12:59 am
I am just trying to counter balance the unwarranted and blind worship of all things Spacex.  I call a spade a spade.  I support Spacex but with tempered enthusiasm.

I was in the same boat at one time, supporting the first real commercial space company, Spacehab. 

It seems to me that the only "blind worship" I've seen on this forum is from people who haven't been in the business and don't have firsthand knowledge of how hard it is.

It seems that the people on this forum who have been in the business are, in fact, the ones with "tempered enthusiasm." They know it's not easy, there are going to be growing pains and some failures, but they respect and admire what SpaceX has been able to do, and what they may be poised to accomplish.

Can't speak for everyone, but that's how it looks to me.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: beancounter on 12/08/2010 01:09 am
I'm not in the business but was wondering whether 'test flights' are counted when considering a company's launch success/failure statistics.  Seems to me that flights specifically identified as test flights shouldn't be considered part of the launch statistics or at least a disclaimer acknowledging the basis behind the statistic.
By that measure:
F1 has a 50% success rate based on 1 failed satellite launch and 1 successful.
F9 has no record at this point since flight 1 was clearly a test, and the COTS flights are demo's or tests to prove up the system by any other name.
Cheers.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Kabloona on 12/08/2010 01:13 am
I'm not in the business but was wondering whether 'test flights' are counted when considering a company's launch success/failure statistics.  Seems to me that flights specifically identified as test flights shouldn't be considered part of the launch statistics or at least a disclaimer acknowledging the basis behind the statistic.
By that measure:
F1 has a 50% success rate based on 1 failed satellite launch and 1 successful.
F9 has no record at this point since flight 1 was clearly a test, and the COTS flights are demo's or tests to prove up the system by any other name.
Cheers.

Depends on whether you're a "blind worshiper" or a "tempered enthusiast."  ;)
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: beancounter on 12/08/2010 01:21 am
I'm not in the business but was wondering whether 'test flights' are counted when considering a company's launch success/failure statistics.  Seems to me that flights specifically identified as test flights shouldn't be considered part of the launch statistics or at least a disclaimer acknowledging the basis behind the statistic.
By that measure:
F1 has a 50% success rate based on 1 failed satellite launch and 1 successful.
F9 has no record at this point since flight 1 was clearly a test, and the COTS flights are demo's or tests to prove up the system by any other name.
Cheers.

Depends on whether you're a "blind worshiper" or a "tempered enthusiast."  ;)

Originally blind enthusiast turned to tempered enthusiast due to some considered study and also info' on this site.
That said, have to admire Musk for putting his money where his mouth is (along with others including NASA whom he has credited on several occasions), when he could have taken his earnings and retired to the Bahama's or wherever.

That said, 12 months should prove one way or another.  He's either got a system that works or can be made to work or he hasn't.  In the meantime, it's makes for interesting viewing.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: tigerade on 12/08/2010 01:22 am
I am just trying to counter balance the unwarranted and blind worship of all things Spacex.  I call a spade a spade.  I support Spacex but with tempered enthusiasm.

I was in the same boat at one time, supporting the first real commercial space company, Spacehab. 

Yeah, there's nothing wrong with a healthy dose of skepticism.  However I think your view pushes towards being a bit scrooge-ish.  I mean, yeah you are right on a technical level.  But the people at SpaceX are human beings, and so are we.  It's not like they are sitting around a camp fire saying "Hey let's launch a space rocket someday".  They got a rocket, they got a space capsule, they got the systems to make it happen.  They've put millions of dollars into their investment, putting their money where their mouth is.  I've heard about employees there staying for long overtime after dark.  They are working hard.  That's what's warranted... the idea that hard work and dedication can accomplish something.  I would not be so quick to splash a bucket of cold water on their faces.  I would need to see a few more failures to give them a grim reality check.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Jim on 12/08/2010 01:23 am

In my view, the SpaceX representative should have told Jay that if that Falcon-9 missed orbital velocity, both the second stage and Dragon capsule could be maneuvered to a safe disposal in the Atlantic


There is no "maneuvering".  Launch vehicle are autonomous, they are not controlled from the ground, except for one command. And "command" may not affect the capsule, which would continue in its ballistic trajectory.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Jim on 12/08/2010 01:26 am
My main point is not that they will or not have successful flights but that they won't be any different than others in the same field. Their costs/prices will be similar.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Robotbeat on 12/08/2010 01:29 am
I'm not in the business but was wondering whether 'test flights' are counted when considering a company's launch success/failure statistics.  Seems to me that flights specifically identified as test flights shouldn't be considered part of the launch statistics or at least a disclaimer acknowledging the basis behind the statistic.
By that measure:
F1 has a 50% success rate based on 1 failed satellite launch and 1 successful.
F9 has no record at this point since flight 1 was clearly a test, and the COTS flights are demo's or tests to prove up the system by any other name.
Cheers.
I've been in conversations regarding this, but... a conservative approach is to include ALL launches.

Another approach might be to just count the last "n" flights, where "n" is a large number such that "one more failure" won't make a big deal in your overall failure rate (or basically assume that the next flight will fail). So, by that metric, SpaceX would need to hit AT LEAST the next 7 launches with no failure in order to hit Jim's 90% success rate. But that isn't a very large sample size. I would say a sample size of 20 is probably better, and then we're not too far away from the conservative metric, which says SpaceX needs to hit the next 24 launches successfully to be considered 90% successful.

*shrug* SpaceX will need many more successful launches for us to call them anything resembling reliable (of course, 90% reliability... "one nine"... would be unacceptable in almost any other industry, and won't be terribly acceptable even in this industry, especially for crew and strategic payloads).

Of course, if SRBs are considered 100% reliable, then so is SpaceX!
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Herb Schaltegger on 12/08/2010 01:31 am
It seems to me that the only "blind worship" I've seen on this forum is from people who haven't been in the business and don't have firsthand knowledge of how hard it is.

It seems that the people on this forum who have been in the business are, in fact, the ones with "tempered enthusiasm." They know it's not easy, there are going to be growing pains and some failures, but they respect and admire what SpaceX has been able to do, and what they may be poised to accomplish.

Can't speak for everyone, but that's how it looks to me.

That's a pretty good description of how I view SpaceX, personally.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: joshcryer on 12/08/2010 01:36 am
My main point is not that they will or not have successful flights but that they won't be any different than others in the same field. Their costs/prices will be similar.

There are already 30 launches on their manifest that are not "similar costs/prices."  ::)

What you are suggesting is that SpaceX is going to go bankrupt.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: telomerase99 on 12/08/2010 01:46 am
Yahoo news quotes Gwynne Shotwell as saying that the launch is no earlier than Thursday as of a few hours ago.

If that is the case, why is everyone saying that the launch is tommorrow? Is it just out of date information?
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Bubbinski on 12/08/2010 01:48 am
I sure hope it's tomorrow!  I have the day off. 
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: robertross on 12/08/2010 01:49 am
Yahoo news quotes Gwynne Shotwell as saying that the launch is no earlier than Thursday as of a few hours ago.

If that is the case, why is everyone saying that the launch is tommorrow? Is it just out of date information?

Read back a bit. NASA was apparently jumping the gun a bit, but a SpaceX rep tried to set things straight(er). But if that (your news) was a few hours ago, then in may be stale.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: joshcryer on 12/08/2010 01:49 am
telomerase99, no early than launch is Wednesday, which NASA has been repeating. SpaceX announced that things looked good but that they wouldn't know until 9:00 PM EST, which was about 50 minutes ago. We're just waiting for SpaceX to make the official statement. Could be any minute now.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Jim on 12/08/2010 01:56 am

There are already 30 launches on their manifest that are not "similar costs/prices." 


Not all real launches.  Wait until they launch a real spacecraft and not Tang, tee shirts and toilet paper or multiple spacecraft
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: telomerase99 on 12/08/2010 02:00 am
Thanks! I can't wait for verification from Chris that it is tomorrow. Arizona is two hours behind EST right?

I hope it launches before I have to go to work!
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: llo2015 on 12/08/2010 02:01 am

In my view, the SpaceX representative should have told Jay that if that Falcon-9 missed orbital velocity, both the second stage and Dragon capsule could be maneuvered to a safe disposal in the Atlantic


There is no "maneuvering".  Launch vehicle are autonomous, they are not controlled from the ground, except for one command. And "command" may not affect the capsule, which would continue in its ballistic trajectory.

The Dragon capsule will have a propellant load capable of 300 Delta-V at a minimum.  The flight control of the Dragon capsule's trajectory after engine-out (last minute of powered flight about 900 nm downrange) should adjust the reentry angle such that Dragon will finish in the Atlantic. 
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Malderi on 12/08/2010 02:02 am
Jim, I'm pretty sure that Dragon, whatever is actually inside, counts as a real spacecraft.

Quote
Experimenting with taxpayer dollars on a system that will be crucially needed for the future sustaining of the ISS...

True. The extreme alternative - months of exhaustive analysis - could be done as well. I tend to think that the "right" place to be is somewhere in the middle, when it comes to overly heavy processes. I consider NASA and SpaceX to be bounding the problem, and will hopefully converge on a solution. :)
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: ChefPat on 12/08/2010 02:06 am
Thanks! I can't wait for verification from Chris that it is tomorrow. Arizona is two hours behind EST right?

I hope it launches before I have to go to work!
3 hours, launch window opens at 6:03 am Phoenix time.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: tigerade on 12/08/2010 02:08 am
Spaceflightnow is saying we are go for launch!!!!

Quote
GO FOR LAUNCH. Officials have approved plans to launch the Falcon 9 rocket tomorrow morning. The launch window opens at 9 a.m. EST and closes at 12:22 p.m. EST (1400-1722 GMT).
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: kevin-rf on 12/08/2010 02:16 am
So what are the chances that like all previous flights, SpaceX will have a camera pointing down at the nozzle and we will get to see the handy work (I remain skeptical) and how many feet of nozzle are actually removed first hand?

I think it is pretty good. That has been SpaceX's typical flight profile, live video of staging and the second stage nozzle (Except Falcon 1 flight One that never made it to staging and Falcon 1 flight three had the transmission cut faster than you can stage a Falcon).

Also, different environment but, SpaceX lacks an altitude chamber, so all test firings of Vac Merlin have been without the full nozzle. That could be the thermal rational for saying a truncated nozzle is ok.

Time for some cool-aid and off to bed. Go SpaceX...
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: DaveS on 12/08/2010 02:18 am
Spaceflightnow is saying we are go for launch!!!!

Quote
GO FOR LAUNCH. Officials have approved plans to launch the Falcon 9 rocket tomorrow morning. The launch window opens at 9 a.m. EST and closes at 12:22 p.m. EST (1400-1722 GMT).
That's based on a single NASA press release earlier this afternoon. There's no official SpaceX word yet from the 9 pm EST status point. I also refer you to SpaceX_MS post eariler today: http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=22041.msg667600#msg667600
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Bubbinski on 12/08/2010 02:19 am

3 hours, launch window opens at 6:03 am Phoenix time.

Actually it would be 7:03 am Phoenix time as Arizona is now on Mountain Standard Time (same time as Salt Lake from Nov to Mar) and the rest of the country is off daylight savings.  I remember having to adjust to this when I lived in Arizona and daylight savings ended every year and mentally calculating when I could watch shuttle launches on CNN in the pre-Net era.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: rdale on 12/08/2010 02:29 am
Keeping this thread active just to say you are watching twitter doesn't really help the situation...
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: ChefPat on 12/08/2010 02:32 am

Actually it would be 7:03 am Phoenix time as Arizona is now on Mountain Standard Time (same time as Salt Lake from Nov to Mar) and the rest of the country is off daylight savings.
You're quite right, I wasn't taking DST into account. 2 hours differance not 3.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: cro-magnon gramps on 12/08/2010 02:33 am
Keeping this thread active just to say you are watching twitter doesn't really help the situation...

relevant question: do you have any info on the weather outlook for the Launch Window and the Splash Down area ?

Cheers

Gramps,

drinking the SpaceX Wassail ;-)
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: rdale on 12/08/2010 02:35 am
COLD. Well, by Florida standards, it's 19 where I am! Anyways 30's in the morning with wind chills in the 20's. Light wind, partly cloudy skies, warming to near 50 by lunchtime. I'm not aware of their rules regarding the chill.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Kabloona on 12/08/2010 02:42 am
Spaceflightnow is saying we are go for launch!!!!

Quote
GO FOR LAUNCH. Officials have approved plans to launch the Falcon 9 rocket tomorrow morning. The launch window opens at 9 a.m. EST and closes at 12:22 p.m. EST (1400-1722 GMT).
That's based on a single NASA press release earlier this afternoon. There's no official SpaceX word yet from the 9 pm EST status point. I also refer you to SpaceX_MS post eariler today: http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=22041.msg667600#msg667600

DaveS appears to be correct, that there's been no word from SpaceX at the 9 pm status point. Looks like those guys/gals are in for a long night...
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: AdamH on 12/08/2010 02:44 am
At this point I am going make the guess that they may have meant 9am EST instead of pm.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: tigerade on 12/08/2010 02:46 am
At this point I am going make the guess that they may have meant 9am EST instead of pm.

I was thinking the same thing, however it seems strange that they would decide on launching at 9AM. 

"Hey everybody!  We're launching in 15 mins!  Just wanted to let you know ahead of time".   ;)
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: telomerase99 on 12/08/2010 02:48 am

Actually it would be 7:03 am Phoenix time as Arizona is now on Mountain Standard Time (same time as Salt Lake from Nov to Mar) and the rest of the country is off daylight savings.
You're quite right, I wasn't taking DST into account. 2 hours differance not 3.

Thats what I was confused about, thanks to you two for figuring it out!
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Kabloona on 12/08/2010 02:49 am
At this point I am going make the guess that they may have meant 9am EST instead of pm.

No, the launch window opens at 9 am and they need to be fueling, etc, before then. I think they did intend to confirm by 9 pm tonight, but sometimes the problem doesn't cooperate with your schedule.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: AdamH on 12/08/2010 02:54 am
No, the launch window opens at 9 am and they need to be fueling, etc, before then. I think they did intend to confirm by 9 pm tonight, but sometimes the problem doesn't cooperate with your schedule.
True. Well either way I sure won't be missing it ;)
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: AdamH on 12/08/2010 03:04 am
SpaceXer Tweet: "Still looks good for tomorrow. Get some sleep, it's going to be an early morning!!"

Looks like tomorrow is a go!
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: sdsds on 12/08/2010 03:07 am
I'm betting SpaceX has prior analysis of exactly this case, i.e. flying mvac without the aft section of the nozzle extension.  They would have done this as a "trade study" to assess the cost/benefit of that section of the nozzle.  Indeed, they might choose to fly Falcon 9 in the "short extension" configuration simply as a cost savings measure on flights (like this one) that don't need the extra efficiency that section of the nozzle provides.

Has someone already calculated the expected reduction in Isp?  The expected reduction in mass?
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Antares on 12/08/2010 03:08 am
It's processes and systems engineering that guarantee success. Read The Secret of Apollo. Elon has given speeches on his belief that systems engineering is an artifact of the DoD. Until they adopt that or tell me they have some other "secret" I won't risk my DNA or my irreplaceable payload with them.

I'm enjoying this debate, though.  As they say, where you stand depends on where you sit.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Jim on 12/08/2010 03:19 am

The Dragon capsule will have a propellant load capable of 300 Delta-V at a minimum.  The flight control of the Dragon capsule's trajectory after engine-out (last minute of powered flight about 900 nm downrange) should adjust the reentry angle such that Dragon will finish in the Atlantic. 

What says the Dragon is active during ascent, most spacecraft aren't.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Jim on 12/08/2010 03:20 am
1.   If the Demo's go as well as us "enthused SpaceX fans" their manifest is expected to explode.

2.  The costs will likely go up a bit but they will not be "similar" to other launch providers.

You have no proof of the #1 and you are wrong about #2, their costs are getting close
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Jim on 12/08/2010 03:22 am
Jim, I'm pretty sure that Dragon, whatever is actually inside, counts as a real spacecraft.

No, it is not the paying customer
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Robotbeat on 12/08/2010 03:24 am
It's processes and systems engineering that guarantee success. Read The Secret of Apollo. Elon has given speeches on his belief that systems engineering is an artifact of the DoD. Until they adopt that or tell me they have some other "secret" I won't risk my DNA or my irreplaceable payload with them.

I'm enjoying this debate, though.  As they say, where you stand depends on where you sit.
Very interesting topic to me, actually. Would you bother explaining more your thoughts on this, perhaps on another thread?
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: jongoff on 12/08/2010 03:26 am
It's processes and systems engineering that guarantee success. Read The Secret of Apollo. Elon has given speeches on his belief that systems engineering is an artifact of the DoD. Until they adopt that or tell me they have some other "secret" I won't risk my DNA or my irreplaceable payload with them.

I'm enjoying this debate, though.  As they say, where you stand depends on where you sit.

While I actually agree with you that appropriately applied System Engineering can make a huge difference...I think that far too often Systems Engineering is just buzzword engineering in many aerospace circles.  I've seen it used well, but in spite of probably having more systems engineers per square inch at NASA than anywhere else in the planet, what else could you call the CxP debacles (and HEFT, and ESAS, etc) than total System Engineering snafus of the first degree.

I think that's part of the unfortunate aversion to appropriate systems engineering in the commercial space world.  When you see wunderkinden like Mike Griffin giving lectures on "How to Fix Systems Engineering" at JSC, with no sense of the irony involved, it tends to initiate baby-bathwater-tossing-reflexes on many peoples' parts.

Once again, not opposed to Systems Engineering, just tend to cringe whenever I hear that some NASA or DoD contractor lists "Systems Engineering" as their key area of core competence...

~Jon
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: jongoff on 12/08/2010 03:28 am

The Dragon capsule will have a propellant load capable of 300 Delta-V at a minimum.  The flight control of the Dragon capsule's trajectory after engine-out (last minute of powered flight about 900 nm downrange) should adjust the reentry angle such that Dragon will finish in the Atlantic. 

What says the Dragon is active during ascent, most spacecraft aren't.

Yeah, while it could be possible to do something like that, doing it 100% autonomously, and being able to handle all necessary aborts would take a *lot* of mission specific engineering...I'm with Jim, I just don't think it's realistic.

Now, if you have a pilot on board, it's quite a bit easier to have some real-time retargetting for safety purposes.  But trying to predict every single possible abort mode for every flight trajectory you use in advance?  Very non-trivial.  And in some ways likely to make things less reliable--the more complex your GN&C system gets, the more likely you'll end up needing that abort capability.

~Jon
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Jim on 12/08/2010 03:34 am
What's going here? Not all of the pictures (different days, different times of day?) show this umbilical like this, but what gives?

Nobody is running with this?  Something is disconnected.

http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=22041.msg667684#msg667684
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Mapperuo on 12/08/2010 03:46 am
What's going here? Not all of the pictures (different days, different times of day?) show this umbilical like this, but what gives?

Nobody is running with this?  Something is disconnected.

http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=22041.msg667684#msg667684

Had to go seaching through the NASA gallery, seems the photos when its disconnected are from the 3rd Dec (Abort day) but on the 4th Dec photos it's connected just fine. (Successful 2sec test day)
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: mr. mark on 12/08/2010 03:46 am
Jim, if I'm reading right you are saying that Dragon is not a spacecraft because it's not a paid for payload. That's crazy. Sorry
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Malderi on 12/08/2010 03:48 am
Jim, I'm pretty sure that Dragon, whatever is actually inside, counts as a real spacecraft.

No, it is not the paying customer

Ah, if that was your rationale, you should've said so. I agree that interfacing with an external organization and interfaces will be a real test. Almost all of their Falcon 1 launches had those, though, whether TacSATs or RazakSATs or whatever, so they've had at least some experience with doing that.

It's probably not the level of engineering/analysis that goes into billion-dollar NRO recon birds, but I don't think SpaceX is going for that market anyways.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Pedantic Twit on 12/08/2010 03:49 am
What's going here? Not all of the pictures (different days, different times of day?) show this umbilical like this, but what gives?

Nobody is running with this?  Something is disconnected.

http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=22041.msg667684#msg667684

Had to go seaching through the NASA gallery, seems the photos when its disconnected are from the 3rd Dec (Abort day) but on the 4th Dec photos it's connected just fine. (Successful 2sec test day)

Here's the links for the curious.

Disconnected (3rd Dec):
http://mediaarchive.ksc.nasa.gov/detail.cfm?mediaid=49712
http://mediaarchive.ksc.nasa.gov/detail.cfm?mediaid=49713
http://mediaarchive.ksc.nasa.gov/detail.cfm?mediaid=49715
Connected (4th Dec):
http://mediaarchive.ksc.nasa.gov/detail.cfm?mediaid=49707
http://mediaarchive.ksc.nasa.gov/detail.cfm?mediaid=49708
http://mediaarchive.ksc.nasa.gov/detail.cfm?mediaid=49709
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: jimvela on 12/08/2010 03:52 am
Once again, not opposed to Systems Engineering, just tend to cringe whenever I hear that some NASA or DoD contractor lists "Systems Engineering" as their key area of core competence...

I think, though, that you'd have to agree that the only thing worse than having too many systems engineers is... not having enough. ??

Lets hope that the launch goes well, although I'm not drinking any kool-aid, I am hoping to see SpaceX succeed.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: iamlucky13 on 12/08/2010 03:53 am
Going back to the nozzle...

Since thermal concerns were mentioned, remember that radiative heating was implicated in the failure of the roll control actuator on flight one. SpaceX says they've fixed the issue, but increased radiative heating could affect the fix.

However, the heat transfer analysis is not simple. The nozzle extension clearly (from past launch videos) gets very hot. It gains heat from the plume via both radiation and convection. It then radiates all of that heat with a high emissivity.

The unconstrained plume has only radiation to heat the rocket by, and while the angle of view effectively subtends infinity, it does not maintain its temperature that far. It also, as a diffuse gas rather than a sheet of metal, does not have the same emissivity.

So between the plume being exposed closer or there being less nozzle to radiate, I don't know where the total heating of the 2nd stage ends up.

And as for SpaceX's analysis - I suspect they analyzed resulting ISP and delta-V, but didn't go as far as heat transfer.


Anyways - shortened nozzle should be noticeable in the 2nd stage firing video.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Kabloona on 12/08/2010 04:00 am
And speaking of the nozzle again, this bit from the SpaceX Facebook page confirms that it was in fact the photos taken at "closeout" that showed the cracks, not photos from earlier build/inspection at the factory:

Quote: "@Muttley, Ben is correct, we take closeout photos as part of our final review process and the engineers want to take a look at the 2nd stage nozzle."
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: butters on 12/08/2010 04:10 am
Going back to the nozzle...

Since thermal concerns were mentioned, remember that radiative heating was implicated in the failure of the roll control actuator on flight one. SpaceX says they've fixed the issue, but increased radiative heating could affect the fix.

However, the heat transfer analysis is not simple. The nozzle extension clearly (from past launch videos) gets very hot. It gains heat from the plume via both radiation and convection. It then radiates all of that heat with a high emissivity.

The unconstrained plume has only radiation to heat the rocket by, and while the angle of view effectively subtends infinity, it does not maintain its temperature that far. It also, as a diffuse gas rather than a sheet of metal, does not have the same emissivity.

So between the plume being exposed closer or there being less nozzle to radiate, I don't know where the total heating of the 2nd stage ends up.

And as for SpaceX's analysis - I suspect they analyzed resulting ISP and delta-V, but didn't go as far as heat transfer.

AIUI, the S2 roll actuator anomaly on F9 flight 1 was caused by the opposite problem: a cold GOX vent impinging on the actuator and chilling by convection the RP-1 hydraulic fluid in the actuator until it froze or gelled stuck. SpaceX has responded to the problem by relocating the vent away from the actuator. They may also have added some insulation around the actuator (not sure).

As for the thermal environment: if we're talking about it here, then SpaceX has surely also thought about it come up with some sort of answer. It's inconceivable that they would just shrug their shoulders and hope for the best. Note that MVac is ground-tested without the nozzle extension, so they must already have the thermal data on that configuration.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: joshcryer on 12/08/2010 04:10 am
You have no proof of the #1 and you are wrong about #2, their costs are getting close

#1 is what they say.

#2 is fact for anyone capable of 3rd grade math.

Arianespace and ESA CRS is $62k / kg.

Orbital with Tarus II and Cygnus is $88k / kg.

SpaceX with Falcon 9 and Dragon is $22k / kg.

The costs are substantially lower and that is still including an ISS resupply premium. In reality SpaceX is pricing, on their site, $11k / kg for GTO, you can do the math on the other options, but no one comes close.

Name one company that is "priced similarly."

SpaceX already is the lowest cost supplier with 30 launches on their manifest. If this wasn't viable, if they wrongly priced 5 years worth of launches, then clearly they will go bankrupt. Arguing for their pricing being wrong is effectively arguing that.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Kabloona on 12/08/2010 04:14 am
Going back to the nozzle...

Since thermal concerns were mentioned, remember that radiative heating was implicated in the failure of the roll control actuator on flight one. SpaceX says they've fixed the issue, but increased radiative heating could affect the fix.

However, the heat transfer analysis is not simple. The nozzle extension clearly (from past launch videos) gets very hot. It gains heat from the plume via both radiation and convection. It then radiates all of that heat with a high emissivity.

The unconstrained plume has only radiation to heat the rocket by, and while the angle of view effectively subtends infinity, it does not maintain its temperature that far. It also, as a diffuse gas rather than a sheet of metal, does not have the same emissivity.

So between the plume being exposed closer or there being less nozzle to radiate, I don't know where the total heating of the 2nd stage ends up.

And as for SpaceX's analysis - I suspect they analyzed resulting ISP and delta-V, but didn't go as far as heat transfer.


Anyways - shortened nozzle should be noticeable in the 2nd stage firing video.

Yes, the thermal effect was my first concern as well, but I can't imagine that their analysis did NOT go as far as heat transfer, as you say. THAT would definitely be "systems engineering" failure, IMO. A previous post speculated that they've already done the analysis for vacuum without the extension (which they've said they don't "need"), which would represent a more severe heating case, and therefore they've already bounded the problem. That would seem to make sense, and would explain why they're apparently comfortable going this route.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: sdsds on 12/08/2010 04:16 am
Going back to the nozzle...
[...]
I suspect they analyzed resulting ISP and delta-V, but didn't go as far as heat transfer.

It's processes and systems engineering that guarantee success. [...] Until they adopt that or tell me they have some other "secret" I won't risk my DNA or my irreplaceable payload with them.

I suspect SpaceX has computer models and sufficient computational resources to run -- as many times as they like with as many variations as they can imagine -- complete simulations of an entire flight.  For the first stage that includes atmospheric, mechanical, thermal, and vibro-acoustic dynamics.  For the second stage, it includes all of those that still apply outside the atmosphere, plus solar effects and anything else known to be of importance in that flight regime. 

If they had that, then they could try out design variations (in the simulator) whenever they thought of them and quickly determine if they're broken.  Do you believe heavy reliance on simulation like that could be the "secret" that lets them avoid endless up-front systems engineering cycles?  Would it make their current behavior as regards the "short extension" mvac appear rational?
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Kabloona on 12/08/2010 04:24 am

I suspect SpaceX has computer models and sufficient computational resources to run -- as many times as they like with as many variations as they can imagine -- complete simulations of an entire flight.  For the first stage that includes atmospheric, mechanical, thermal, and vibro-acoustic dynamics.  For the second stage, it includes all of those that still apply outside the atmosphere, plus solar effects and anything else known to be of importance in that flight regime. 

If they had that, then they could try out design variations (in the simulator) whenever they thought of them and quickly determine if they're broken.  Do you believe heavy reliance on simulation like that could be the "secret" that lets them avoid endless up-front systems engineering cycles?  Would it make their current behavior as regards the "short extension" mvac appear rational?

No, I think butters has it correct:

Quote: "Note that MVac is ground-tested without the nozzle extension, so they must already have the thermal data on that configuration. "
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: blazotron on 12/08/2010 04:39 am
It's surprising how many people here seem to think SpaceX wouldn't have done analyses on performance, trajectory, stability and control, thermal issues, structural issues, etc.  Much of the computation and analysis infrastructure (models, meshes, etc) is presumably already in place or easily modified from analyses that were certainly performed for the nominal nozzle configuration.  Based on these results, either new computations could be performed or where large margins exist perhaps scaling or estimates are enough to show that the new configuration is well within safe limits.  No doubt a substantial amount of thermal analysis was done for the second stage roll anomaly investigation.

People seem to forget that while the company has a substantial fraction of (talented) young employees, it also a significant number of experts from Boeing, NGC, TRW, Rocketdyne, Aerojet, NASA, etc, very much like NASA 50 years ago.  It's not like these people just forgot how "things are done" when they left their respective positions to go to SpaceX.  It's likely that they decided that wanted to do some things differently, but you can't get a Falcon 9 to orbit without a great deal of analysis and test.  None of this means they won't get things wrong in the future (they can and have in the past), perhaps even this very issue, but it would make very little sense to delay the launch for weeks to perform additional testing on Dragon and then blindly cut off the end of the nozzle extension unless they were very confident of the root cause and the high probability of success in the new configuration. 
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Antares on 12/08/2010 04:52 am
Blazo, I will be rightly impressed if SpaceX can put intuition back in its deserved place in space (systems?) engineering.  I'm just saying there are lots of forces (or maybe just inertia) who think it doesn't work.  I hope (since I lack the evidence to claim) that SpaceX knows its system well enough that its intuition is infallible.

Edit: and still, people are claiming hopes and beliefs on things for which they lack evidence.  I shiver at that.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: jongoff on 12/08/2010 04:59 am
I think, though, that you'd have to agree that the only thing worse than having too many systems engineers is... not having enough. ??

I think so...not sure.  If you take small enough steps, and keep the cost of failure or rework low enough though you can compensate a lot more for the latter.  So long as you have other engineers who are good in their technical areas.  To a poin.....yeah I don't really know.

~Jon
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: jimvela on 12/08/2010 04:59 am
What's going here? Not all of the pictures (different days, different times of day?) show this umbilical like this, but what gives?
Nobody is running with this?  Something is disconnected.
http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=22041.msg667684#msg667684

The picture looks to me like that item is ducting for conditioned air being fed to the dragon.  It seems really odd that the air supply would be designed to separate in the middle like that instead of pulling off at the dragon.

I can't imagine that the dragon side of that connection is designed to come off early in flight like a thruster cover... 

It also wouldn't make sense to have it as just an unused mock up as I'd assume that the dragon would actually need conditioned air...

Almost reminds me of the beat up spiral air ducting that is sometimes seen at an [unnamed all-solid launch vehicle] facility...
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: butters on 12/08/2010 05:10 am
A bit of on-orbit mission summary from SFN:

Quote
Engineers have programmed portions of the Dragon's rendezvous sequence with the space station into the craft's computer for this mission. The flight testing will verify the capsule's ability to accomplish tightly-choreographed maneuvers.

So the mission profile is basically to run through the CRS rendezvous sequence, skipping the initial phase angle "chase" for time/power considerations. Except they'll be practicing these maneuvers without the trunk they'll have on the real CRS missions.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: iamlucky13 on 12/08/2010 05:59 am

Yes, the thermal effect was my first concern as well, but I can't imagine that their analysis did NOT go as far as heat transfer, as you say. THAT would definitely be "systems engineering" failure, IMO. A previous post speculated that they've already done the analysis for vacuum without the extension (which they've said they don't "need"), which would represent a more severe heating case, and therefore they've already bounded the problem. That would seem to make sense, and would explain why they're apparently comfortable going this route.

Ok, I should have given a little more thought to my last comment - they may have a computer model ready to run that allows them to easily adjust the nozzle dimensions.

Typically such up such an analysis is more work at the start, and less work if you have to reiterate.

But my initial instinct, given that the primary design criteria for the nozzle is expansion of the flow, not thermal factors is not to assume that a ready model exists to run. Perhaps it does, perhaps it doesn't, but given an apparent defect made it through QA and integration and how fast things seem to be happening right now, I'm not sure what to think about how much initiative their engineers take in identifying and following up on potential failure scenarios.

By the way, I'm not saying I think it's a problem. I don't, although I also can't entirely dismiss it.

7 hours...
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Skyrocket on 12/08/2010 06:10 am
Does anyone know, which Cubesats will be launched on this mission?
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Ben the Space Brit on 12/08/2010 07:52 am
I suppose my concern is that SpaceX is feeling a 'pressure to launch', given the imminence of shuttle retirement and the increasingly critical role CRS seems likely to play in this post-Constellation era.

I'm sure that NASA would not have authorised them to go if they weren't sure that the vehicle wouldn't fly safely.  That said, what SpaceX needs, and thus far has had very little of, is a nominal flight where everything works acceptably.  Until that happens, NewSpace commercial is going to continue to be perceived by the politicians as a bunch of enthusiastic, well-funded amateurs who cannot be trusted with America's space program.

The other day, I was watching some early Atlas flights on YouTube (both ICBM tests and Atlas/Agena launches).  Even the big guys have had some hard times, split nozzles and pretty pyrotechnic aborts at T+1 minute.  However, it's been a long time since then and the modern American public has forgotten that getting rocket designs, manufacturing and quality control right is a slow, error-strewn process.  My concern is that if SpaceX does not get up to speed quickly, political and public willingness to give them the needed time might run out.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: joshcryer on 12/08/2010 08:20 am
I hope they're feeling the pressure. Once STS retires for good, they will be largest carrier of logistics to and from the ISS. Without them the whole ISS project may be in jeopardy. As a taxpayer I want them to know that if they screw this up they screw up America's astronaut program for years.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Mapperuo on 12/08/2010 09:35 am
NASA TV has live shot of the rocket on the Media Channel beginning in an hour, Then at 1:55pm GMT live coverage of the launch on all channels for those interested.

Should be a bit better than the Space X page.  ;)
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: docmordrid on 12/08/2010 09:36 am
http://www.spaceflightnow.com/falcon9/002/status.html

Quote
0930 GMT (4:30 a.m. EST)

After trimming away a cracked portion of an engine nozzle, SpaceX is readying its Falcon 9 rocket for a launch opportunity this morning.

The launch window opens at 9 a.m. EST (1400 GMT), but SpaceX will likely target liftoff three minutes later at 9:03 a.m. EST (1403 GMT).
>
>
If SpaceX is on track for the 9:03 a.m. launch opportunity, fueling operations are expected to begin after 7 a.m. EST (1200 GMT) today.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: FinalFrontier on 12/08/2010 10:05 am
http://www.spaceflightnow.com/falcon9/002/status.html

Quote
0930 GMT (4:30 a.m. EST)

After trimming away a cracked portion of an engine nozzle, SpaceX is readying its Falcon 9 rocket for a launch opportunity this morning.

The launch window opens at 9 a.m. EST (1400 GMT), but SpaceX will likely target liftoff three minutes later at 9:03 a.m. EST (1403 GMT).
>
>
If SpaceX is on track for the 9:03 a.m. launch opportunity, fueling operations are expected to begin after 7 a.m. EST (1200 GMT) today.
will return at 8 then :)
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Kabloona on 12/08/2010 10:10 am
the modern American public has forgotten that getting rocket designs, manufacturing and quality control right is a slow, error-strewn process. 

...and Elon is trying to remind them:

http://spaceflightnow.com/falcon9/002/101208risk/
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: MP99 on 12/08/2010 10:26 am
I'm finding myself pretty worried that this issue has escaped until this late in the process. What's to say there isn't another issue that's escaped QA, but where it's not subject to a final visual check? This seems comparable to the intertank issue on STS-133, and ISTM that's not going to fly until we understand what caused it sufficiently to be sure that it will fly safely. (But I guess the alternative is to tear the whole Falcon apart and check it over. [**] )

If SpaceX could replace the nozzle and still fly on Friday, why would you not do that rather than take an unnecessary risk? Imagine if the nozzle fails! I also wonder if there are any failure modes where they could be left wondering if a nozzle issue contributed.



I did wonder whether lopping 4' off the Mvac nozzle would make it the same size as the first stage nozzle, as there would then be some analysis that might be relevant (though not sure if this nozzle would have the same profile as 1st stage?). But I think the first stage nozzle looks smaller than 5'?

cheers, Martin

[**] Has anyone ever done that - built a rocket, put if through WDR and/or static fire, then tear it down and see how the structure coped?
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: jabe on 12/08/2010 10:37 am
good find..thanks for link..lets hope no one watches it so server doesn't get swamped ;)
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: MP99 on 12/08/2010 10:38 am
Y'all take a lot of things on faith, assuming SpaceX has analyzed this case.

It's hard to conceive that they would fly without analysing, but surprising that they could undertake a comprehensive analysis in such a short time. Jeez, that's a scary thought.

cheers, Martin
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Skyrocket on 12/08/2010 10:39 am
Concerning the cubesats in the trunk:

Apparently there are 5 cubesat on this mission:

* 2 cubesats (3U) of NRO's Colony-1 program
* 2 cubesats of the Los Alamos National Laboratory
* 1 cubesat of the US Army - this one is likely the first of eight SMDC-ONE satellites.

http://www.spacenews.com/military/100408-nro-taps-boeing-next-cubesats.html

Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: docmordrid on 12/08/2010 10:39 am
NASA TV (cable) just flashed a promo for its COTS-1 coverage, listing it as "next." The current programming block ends at 7:00 AM EST, so perhaps the're going to cover the fueling on.  We'll see.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Chris Bergin on 12/08/2010 10:53 am
Not sure how people missed it, but the live coverage thread is here:
http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=23516.0

Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: joshcryer on 12/08/2010 11:02 am
Chris, I am pretty sure we're respecting the "updates only" request. There were a lot of random discussions in this thread, and I personally am going to try to reduce the noise for people who are trying to get real, substantiative updates. I know I always come to NSF for live play-by-plays, and I think you got a good thing going there. (I bet traffic spikes like crazy during these events.)
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Jim on 12/08/2010 11:05 am
Arguing for their pricing being wrong is effectively arguing that.

You don't know the price of a launch and not talking ISS cargo
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: joshcryer on 12/08/2010 11:06 am
You don't know the price of a launch and not talking ISS cargo

I know the price of most of their contracts. So there's that.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Jim on 12/08/2010 11:06 am
It's surprising how many people here seem to think SpaceX wouldn't have done analyses on performance, trajectory, stability and control, thermal issues, structural issues, etc. 

The issue is doing all of those over night
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Jim on 12/08/2010 11:08 am


I'm sure that NASA would not have authorised them to go if they weren't sure that the vehicle wouldn't fly safely. 

NASA has no say in it.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Jim on 12/08/2010 11:10 am
You don't know the price of a launch and not talking ISS cargo

I know the price of most of their contracts. So there's that.

No, you don't.  Were you on team that reviewed a Spacex proposal to NASA?
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: joshcryer on 12/08/2010 11:28 am
SpaceX CRS contract cost is public knowledge (as is Orbital). Are you saying that there are hidden costs? If so do you have evidence as such?
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Jim on 12/08/2010 11:35 am
SpaceX CRS contract cost is public knowledge (as is Orbital). Are you saying that there are hidden costs? If so do you have evidence as such?

I am not talking ISS cargo.  There is little risk in each individual launch, when the cargo is made up of Tang, tee shirt and toilet paper.   I am talking about launching a several hundred million dollar spacecraft.

Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: joshcryer on 12/08/2010 11:56 am
Oh, I thought comparing current providers at current pricing for similar services was a legitimate way to see if they had "similar prices" or not. How about commercial crew then? SpaceX President Gwynne Shotwell guaranteed launches cheaper than the Russians. How about them apples? Are people not worth as much as several hundred million dollar spacecraft?

I really thought it was wiser to compare current scenarios rather than future, speculative scenarios which one cannot actually provide evidence for. ::)
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: joshcryer on 12/08/2010 12:11 pm
"SpaceX has discovered the root cause of the two small cracks in the aft end of the 2nd stage engine nozzle extension," the statement said. "A GN2 vent line caused fluttering of the the thinnest portion of the nozzle extension, creating the cracks. SpaceX engineers repaired the extension by trimming off the end where the cracks are located and corrected the root cause by diffusing the vent."

From SFN. Glad to know a root cause!
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Jim on 12/08/2010 12:21 pm
Oh, I thought comparing current providers at current pricing for similar services was a legitimate way to see if they had "similar prices" or not. How about commercial crew then? SpaceX President Gwynne Shotwell guaranteed launches cheaper than the Russians. How about them apples? Are people not worth as much as several hundred million dollar spacecraft?

I really thought it was wiser to compare current scenarios rather than future, speculative scenarios which one cannot actually provide evidence for. ::)

Commercial crew is a "future, speculative scenario". 

And I am talking current scenarios, the cost/price to contract one F9.

Give it up, you don't know what you are talking about.  Just keep guzzling the koolade.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: corrodedNut on 12/08/2010 12:22 pm
Let me get this straight, yesterday evening, SpaceX technicians on a crane, working  through a man-hole sized access hatch in the interstage, removed the bottom 4 feet of the nozzle extension while the vehicle was in the vertical position at the pad? They were able to remove this piece, it's not still in there, is it?

With the recent shuttle repairs as evidence, maybe this kind of pad work is common, I don't know. Frankly, I'm a little astounded (and a little worried too).
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: racshot65 on 12/08/2010 12:27 pm
Will they be filming the capsule returning / splashing down ?
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Mapperuo on 12/08/2010 12:32 pm
Has to be said.. Very impressive moustache on the right.

Webcast is much better this time.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Kabloona on 12/08/2010 12:38 pm
Let me get this straight, yesterday evening, SpaceX technicians on a crane, working  through a man-hole sized access hatch in the interstage, removed the bottom 4 feet of the nozzle extension while the vehicle was in the vertical position at the pad? They were able to remove this piece, it's not still in there, is it?

With the recent shuttle repairs as evidence, maybe this kind of pad work is common, I don't know. Frankly, I'm a little astounded (and a little worried too).

If they were able to cut it off, they were able to cut it into small enough pieces to get it out of the interstage. And no, cutting off 4 feet of a nozzle extension on the pad is not common! Let's remember, though, that SpaceX has said this extension is not "needed" for performance on this flight...though, as I've said before, that statement begs the question why they didn't just remove it entirely. Maybe they didn't want to have to destack, which would have been more of a schedule hit.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: joncz on 12/08/2010 01:06 pm
In homage to Jim's commentary on SpaceX processes...

Coming into autosequence start, the abort process was read over the net, including the directive that the phrase, "Hold, hold, hold" would be announced over the countdown net.

So when the autosequence aborts at T- 2:50, what is announced over the countdown net?  "Abort, abort abort."

Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Kabloona on 12/08/2010 01:09 pm
In homage to Jim's commentary on SpaceX processes...

Coming into autosequence start, the abort process was read over the net, including the directive that the phrase, "Hold, hold, hold" would be announced over the countdown net.

So when the autosequence aborts at T- 2:50, what is announced over the countdown net?  "Abort, abort abort."



Yeah, well, at least he didn't call "bailout, bailout, bailout!"
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: go4mars on 12/08/2010 01:16 pm
Responding to reporters today about changes to the engine bell, Elon Musk had this to say about Falcon:
"She'll make point five past lightspeed. She may not look like much, but she's got it where it counts, kid. I've made a lot of special modifications myself".

Did anyone ask if she can do the kessel run in less than 5 parsecs as a follow-on question?  :)
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Jim on 12/08/2010 01:26 pm
In homage to Jim's commentary on SpaceX processes...

Coming into autosequence start, the abort process was read over the net, including the directive that the phrase, "Hold, hold, hold" would be announced over the countdown net.

So when the autosequence aborts at T- 2:50, what is announced over the countdown net?  "Abort, abort abort.


And what do you say when crew is onboard?
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Robotbeat on 12/08/2010 01:32 pm
In homage to Jim's commentary on SpaceX processes...

Coming into autosequence start, the abort process was read over the net, including the directive that the phrase, "Hold, hold, hold" would be announced over the countdown net.

So when the autosequence aborts at T- 2:50, what is announced over the countdown net?  "Abort, abort abort.


And what do you say when crew is onboard?
"Can you hold it for another hour?"
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: corrodedNut on 12/08/2010 01:35 pm
I think his point is "ABORT, ABORT, ABORT...no wait guys, don't pull the big handle that says....oops, too late"
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Kabloona on 12/08/2010 01:38 pm
I think his point is "ABORT, ABORT, ABORT...no wait guys, don't pull the big handle that says....oops, too late"

With 3+ years until crewed flight, I think he has sufficient time to learn...
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: TimL on 12/08/2010 01:39 pm
"Let me put it this way, Mr. Amor. The 9000 series is the most reliable computer ever made. No 9000 computer has ever made a mistake or distorted information. We are all, by any practical definition of the words, foolproof and incapable of error."
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: joncz on 12/08/2010 01:40 pm
And what do you say when crew is onboard?

Aboard, aboard, aboard.

?  ::)
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: hernick on 12/08/2010 01:42 pm
Jump out! Jump out! Jump out!
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Robotbeat on 12/08/2010 01:42 pm
And what do you say when crew is onboard?

Aboard, aboard, aboard.

?  ::)
What do you say when the Swedish Chef is aboard and that happens?
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: TimL on 12/08/2010 01:48 pm
I thought the whole point of this automated process was to ensure "the passengers" don't have a big handle to pull...and inadvertently abort a multi-million dollar launch because they're just passengers and not pilots?
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: Halidon on 12/08/2010 02:37 pm
I really appreciated the little live mini-interview SpaceX did just before the countdown resumed for attempt #2. Good information presented in an open and friendly manner.
Title: Re: COTS Demo 1
Post by: KSC Engineer on 12/08/2010 02:41 pm