Author Topic: SpaceX fairing  (Read 37429 times)

Offline krytek

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SpaceX fairing
« on: 02/09/2012 05:38 pm »
There is some talk about the a SpaceX fairing which is needed to launch some commercial satellites, in connection with the asiasat contract.
I remember it was also discussed some time ago, can't find it now.


I would really appreciate a few details.

Offline dcporter

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Re: SpaceX fairing
« Reply #1 on: 02/09/2012 05:51 pm »
Here's corrodednut's original post on the asiasat thread:

I hope no one minds if I copy-and-paste this relevant tidbit, which has not been reported elsewhere:

"The commercial Falcon 9 missions require the development of the booster's 17-foot-diameter payload fairing... the company expects to fly the nose shroud on a Falcon 9 rocket later this year, according to Kirstin Brost, a SpaceX spokesperson."

http://spaceflightnow.com/news/n1202/08spacexasiasat/

The SpaceX website currently lists a 5.2 meter fairing for F9:

spacex.com/falcon9.php

Offline simonbp

Re: SpaceX fairing
« Reply #2 on: 02/09/2012 06:13 pm »
They do have at least one faring that they were going to use on the first flight (but opted for the Dragon STA instead).

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

Offline baldusi

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Re: SpaceX fairing
« Reply #3 on: 02/09/2012 06:51 pm »
They still have to actually launch it. Orbital has had its fair share of trouble with the fairing, and, as of today, SPX has zero experience.

Offline Robotbeat

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Re: SpaceX fairing
« Reply #4 on: 02/09/2012 06:58 pm »
They still have to actually launch it. Orbital has had its fair share of trouble with the fairing, and, as of today, SPX has zero experience.
Not true. Both of SpaceX's first two successful orbital flights had fairings which deployed successfully:

"The two halves of the fairing (nose cone) of the SpaceX Falcon 1 Flight 4 vehicle fall back towards Earth. As the vehicle now travels in the vacuum of space, it no longer requires the streamlining provided by the fairings."

"The fairing halves fall gracefully back towards Earth, to burn up as they reenter the atmosphere."

and for RAZAKSAT's successful launch to orbit:
"The fairing halves fall cleanly away from the vehicle."
« Last Edit: 02/09/2012 07:03 pm by Robotbeat »
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Offline baldusi

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Re: SpaceX fairing
« Reply #5 on: 02/09/2012 07:13 pm »
True, but those where 1.7m biconic metallic fairings and the 5.2m seems to be a von Kármán ogive composite.
« Last Edit: 02/09/2012 07:14 pm by baldusi »

Offline Robotbeat

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Re: SpaceX fairing
« Reply #6 on: 02/09/2012 07:40 pm »
True, but those where 1.7m biconic metallic fairings and the 5.2m seems to be a von Kármán ogive composite.
You said "zero experience." ;)
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Offline Comga

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Re: SpaceX fairing
« Reply #7 on: 02/09/2012 08:36 pm »
They still have to actually launch it. Orbital has had its fair share of trouble with the fairing, and, as of today, SPX has zero experience.
Not true. Both of SpaceX's first two successful orbital flights had fairings which deployed successfully:

The fairing was also deployed successfuly on the second Falcon 1 launch.  I believe that the fairing halves were successfully ejected on the third Falcon 1 launch as the damaged second stage tumbled.  The fairing even came off on the first Falcon 1 launch.  :-P
What kind of wastrels would dump a perfectly good booster in the ocean after just one use?

Offline baldusi

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Re: SpaceX fairing
« Reply #8 on: 02/09/2012 09:03 pm »
Clearly my words were not well chosen. I mean that it's a fairing with zero flight history. Even the flight environment of the Falcon isn't known (only simulated) with this fairing (which they could have know and demonstrated had they used it in the inaugural flight).
But, if I where them, I'd try to keep all six block 1 Falcon for CRS, and start the commercial service with block 2 (Merlin 1D), this way they would accumulate flight history for the same configuration.

Offline kevin-rf

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Re: SpaceX fairing
« Reply #9 on: 02/09/2012 11:10 pm »
The group opinion at the time was the fairing was not far enough along and would have delayed the falcon 9 flight, so the boiler plate dragon was used instead. It was also the low risk option.
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Offline majormajor42

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Re: SpaceX fairing
« Reply #10 on: 02/11/2012 07:49 pm »
They do have at least one faring that they were going to use on the first flight (but opted for the Dragon STA instead).

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

So is that fairing in the picture available as flight hardware? Is it ready to go now?
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Online ugordan

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Re: SpaceX fairing
« Reply #11 on: 02/11/2012 07:54 pm »
One half of that fairing could be seen sitting outside at LC-40 pad for months. So probably not exactly flightworthy...

Edit: actually, scratch that, it looks like both halves ended up outside at one point.
« Last Edit: 02/11/2012 08:01 pm by ugordan »

Offline krytek

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Re: SpaceX fairing
« Reply #12 on: 02/11/2012 08:47 pm »
Thank you guys.
Somehow I initially thought it was supposed to be some sort of hammerhead fairing, probably mixed it up with something from the advanced section...

So what are the considerations and trouble spots when someone goes to design a payload fairing like that?

Offline Robotbeat

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Re: SpaceX fairing
« Reply #13 on: 02/11/2012 09:42 pm »
One half of that fairing could be seen sitting outside at LC-40 pad for months. So probably not exactly flightworthy...

Edit: actually, scratch that, it looks like both halves ended up outside at one point.
LOL, yeah. Probably was more of a mock-up anyway, though.
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Offline spectre9

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Re: SpaceX fairing
« Reply #14 on: 02/11/2012 10:32 pm »


First 35 seconds. Enjoy  8)

Offline Rhyshaelkan

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Re: SpaceX fairing
« Reply #15 on: 02/11/2012 10:36 pm »
I wonder what is the largest size one could conceivably make the fairing for a F9/FH without adding stupid aerodynamic loads. Do they increase at a 3:1 ratio? 4:1?

Heat shields for an aero-breaking OTV are large, even if you have a folding design concept. Bulky but not entirely heavy.
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Offline Zed_Noir

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Re: SpaceX fairing
« Reply #16 on: 02/11/2012 10:59 pm »
I wonder what is the largest size one could conceivably make the fairing for a F9/FH without adding stupid aerodynamic loads.

Probably about the same that you could fitted on the Atlas V. IIRC from the AV user guide about 7 meter diameter and lots of additional cost..

Offline Antares

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Re: SpaceX fairing
« Reply #17 on: 02/12/2012 12:38 am »
You could make a fairing so big you have no payload and/or are able to fly sideways. You need to specify more constraints.
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Offline baldusi

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Re: SpaceX fairing
« Reply #18 on: 02/12/2012 01:04 pm »
I'm intrigued with the FH GTO capacity. The 2011 FAA study on the commercial satellite market, stated that there would be a sort of stable demand for 20 GTO commercial satellite launches per year. Roughly 1/3 upto 3.5tonnes to GTO, between 3.5tonnes to 5.4tonnes, and 1/3 bigger (around 6.3tonnes max). There has also been an upward trend on weight.
The performance of the FH to GTO intrigues me. Maintly because they had stated a lot of times that it was 19.5tonnes to a 200x35,786km x 28.5 degrees. But now they have deleted that from the FH information page. Beside, I would say that even in the case of the biggest satellites, they could take about three!
That's too much for many reasons. First, there's the risk. What would be the insurance cost! From an insurance cost POV, three launches are safer than one. So up that goes. Second, what sort of dispenser system would they have to design, and at what weight. Third, even if they got 30% of the market, that's two FH launches per year, three at most. And we would be talking about taking 100% of the most heavy satellites, the most expensive one and the ones that pay quite a premium for reliability. What's more, at 80M to 120M, they can only compete with Ariane 5 if they dual manifest.
But, since this is the fairing thread. Currently, Soyuz-ST, Proton, Sea Launch and LM-3BE are restricted to 4.1 fairings. The available 5.2m fairings commercially are Ariane 5, Atlas V and H-IIA/B (might add Delta IV, if you really wanted). And the secondary satellite (the on in the SYLDA) with the Ariane 5 (and Delta IV, if ever), would be restricted to an equivalent 4m, anyways. So with doesn't seems to be a problem. In any case, Proton-M doesn't seems to have much problem competing with the Ariane 5, so I wouldn't say the fairing width is such a problem.
So, what FH needs is a dual manifest option. That would imply at least an extra 4m to 6m on the fairing length and some SYLDA's equivalent. I think that would be the truly interesting solutions.
Thus, if FH can do 13tonnes to GTO (1500m/s deficit)

Offline Zed_Noir

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Re: SpaceX fairing
« Reply #19 on: 02/12/2012 02:27 pm »
Anyone got any guesses to how many components the future Falcon fairing will have?

Recall from old you-tube video that Elon Musk said the F9 PLF will have 4 panels. Is that still the plan?

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