Author Topic: Astrobotic Technology Annouces Lunar Mission on SpaceX Falcon 9  (Read 108700 times)

Offline wjbarnett

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First Falcon 9 lunar mission contract announced. NET December 2013

http://astrobotic.net/2011/02/06/astrobotic-technology-announces-lunar-mission-on-spacex-falcon-9/

I assume SpaceX will put this PR on their site on Monday.

Mods: I put this into the existing General SpaceX thread too, so delete if appropriate, though I noticed that previous SpaceX contracts have their own thread.
Jack
Twitter: wjackbarnett

Offline mr. mark

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Fantastic news! I really can't wait for this launch. It has always been my hope that Spacex would demonstrate BEO capability and this seems to be a great start. Can't wait until the probe pulls up and gets a closeup of the Apollo 11 landing site. Just imagine the look on the moon hoaxers faces then. lol :)

Offline simonbp

They really shouldn't be going to 11; that's scared ground. Any of the other sites would okay, but 11 should be left as is...

Offline robertross

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That's cool
Remembering those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our rights & freedoms, and for those injured, visible or otherwise, in that fight.

Offline ugordan

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They really shouldn't be going to 11; that's scared ground. Any of the other sites would okay, but 11 should be left as is...

Any GLXP rover would IIRC be allowed to come within 500 meters of the Apollo 11 site, observe it with HD cameras etc from that distance, but not physically enter the site.

Offline Robotbeat

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They really shouldn't be going to 11; that's scared ground. Any of the other sites would okay, but 11 should be left as is...
Looking at it doesn't necessarily mean disturbing the footprints of Neil and Buzz, unless the probe is nearsighted.
Chris  Whoever loves correction loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid.

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

Offline arnezami

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« Last Edit: 02/06/2011 04:16 PM by arnezami »

Offline MikeAtkinson

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I second that they shouldn't be going to 11. Not just because it should be left pristine due its high historical value, but also that site was chosen because it was boring, 15,16 or 17 would seem to be better choices.

Offline mr. mark

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This is  a great video for the lunar probe.

Offline aquanaut99

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I second that they shouldn't be going to 11. Not just because it should be left pristine due its high historical value, but also that site was chosen because it was boring, 15,16 or 17 would seem to be better choices.

I agree. The most interesting Apollo landing sites were those chosen during the J missions. But I would prefer that they land in an unexplored area. Maybe the lunar poles?

Incidentally, even if they shot up-close photos of the Apollo lunar landers and astronauts footprints, I predict that will not be enough to silence the moon-hoaxers. I'm sure they will find some ludicrous way to continue denying it (and probably accusing SpaceX of being part of the conspiracy).

Offline swampcat

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They really shouldn't be going to 11; that's scared ground. Any of the other sites would okay, but 11 should be left as is...

So the ground is afraid of something?  ;D

My only concern would be how good their landing navigation turns out to be. They say they will be aiming for a 100m landing zone, but they are using untried hardware. Let's just hope they don't miss by too much.

Online Comga

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They really shouldn't be going to 11; that's sacred ground. Any of the other sites would okay, but 11 should be left as is...
Looking at it doesn't necessarily mean disturbing the footprints of Neil and Buzz, unless the probe is nearsighted.

Agreed. At 5 cm/sec they can cover ~4 km per Earth day and up to 60 km per lunar day.  They should be able to move the aim point well away from the Apollo 11 site.  They do say they will land several kilometers away.  The odds of accidentally coming down on the Apollo 11 footprints should be pretty remote.  It might help that they are planning an offset to the south, and should be landing east-to-west.

There are also good maps now from LRO so they can approach along a path that doesn't disturb any footprints.  Looks like coming "up-sun" from the West right past the ALSEP to the "big" crater would do it.
 
Overall, this is really exciting.  It is not beyond the realm of the possible, which is more than I have seen for a while concerning Moon landers.
« Last Edit: 02/06/2011 06:59 PM by Comga »
What kind of wastrels would dump a perfectly good booster in the ocean after just one use?

Offline ugordan

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It is not beyond the realm of the possible, which is more than I have seen for a while concerning Moon landers.

It's also carrying with it a very real likelihood of some failure preventing a safe landing, IMHO.

Still, it would be pretty cool to see this happen.

Offline tigerade

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Really cool news.  However, does the Falcon 9 second stage actually hold enough fuel to make it to lunar orbit, or will this require some kind of modification? 

Offline ugordan

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However, does the Falcon 9 second stage actually hold enough fuel to make it to lunar orbit, or will this require some kind of modification? 

To make it to lunar orbit? No.
To send about 2-2.5 metric tons through TLI, maybe, depends on how the actual performance of F9 so far is working out and then correct that for expected Block 2 numbers.
« Last Edit: 02/06/2011 07:09 PM by ugordan »

Offline Jason1701

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They really shouldn't be going to 11; that's scared ground. Any of the other sites would okay, but 11 should be left as is...

Any GLXP rover would IIRC be allowed to come within 500 meters of the Apollo 11 site, observe it with HD cameras etc from that distance, but not physically enter the site.

I'm sure they'll remain a respectful distance away. Maybe they'll circle the site. I imagine that in 50-100 years we'll have a visitor's center built around 11, but not intruding within the footprints.

@tigerade:
From Astrobiotic's website it looks like they have a pretty hefty descent stage. It looks similar to a Fregat. The F9 will probably perform only the TLI burn, and then the descent stage will do LOI and landing.

Online Comga

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Really cool news.  However, does the Falcon 9 second stage actually hold enough fuel to make it to lunar orbit, or will this require some kind of modification? 

The Falcon 9 second stage is not anticipated to go into lunar orbit.  (Besides fuel it doesn't have the lifetime even if one wanted to take that inefficient approach.) Watch the video.  The spacecraft will do LOI, deorbit, and landing burns.
What kind of wastrels would dump a perfectly good booster in the ocean after just one use?

Offline mr. mark

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In the classroom style lander video they are saying that they are using a shuttle engine for landing. What engine would that be?

Offline ugordan

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A Shuttle RCS thruster I'd guess, apparently 870 lbf thrust which sounds like the right size for this thing.

Offline rklaehn

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Well, this is certainly going to be interesting. They are planning to use a commercial off the shelf intel atom board. They did some tests indicating that it can survive cryogenic temperatures. But surely the radiation environment on the moon would be a problem.

http://astrobotic.net/2010/09/22/hibernation-recovery-for-computer-systems/
Try the ISS 3D visualization at http://www.heavens-above.com/ISS_3D.aspx

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