Author Topic: SpaceX Falcon 9 - Iridium NEXT Flight 1 DISCUSSION (Jan. 14 2017)  (Read 339508 times)

Offline envy887

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http://www.pacbiztimes.com/2016/09/08/spacex-launch-at-vandenberg-afb-delayed/

Official (and very unsurprising) confirmation that this launch will not happen on the previously scheduled date of Sept 19th.

Offline Aerospace Dilettante

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Any possibility the Iridium folks will just say, "we're loosing too much time waiting for them to figure this out, just launch the first 10 using the built rocket and the old procedures and we'll take our chances!"

Offline GigaG

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^It'd be a ballsy move. I don't see it happening unless Iridium was really desperate.

Would SpaceX even allow it? If they had another pad explosion or other failure before finishing the AMOS-6 investigation, that's a boatload of terrible PR.

Offline 2megs

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As above, depending on the cost of delays, incremental cost of more satellites, and SpaceX's RTF timeline, there's an business case where it would make sense from Iridium's POV to launch now. They'd probably be renegotiating some very expensive insurance, but if that's cheaper than delays...

But it was just a hypothetical economic discussion. It won't happen in our reality:

* SpaceX wouldn't want another video of another fireball when they're working towards commerical crew.

* VAFB wouldn't want anything blowing up in the vicinity of other things that aren't meant to be blown up.

* The FAA may have a bit of say in here too. They may not technically have veto power, but in the long-term "How does this get us to Mars?" sense, you certainly want to play nice now.

Offline envy887

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As above, depending on the cost of delays, incremental cost of more satellites, and SpaceX's RTF timeline, there's an business case where it would make sense from Iridium's POV to launch now. They'd probably be renegotiating some very expensive insurance, but if that's cheaper than delays...

But it was just a hypothetical economic discussion. It won't happen in our reality:

* SpaceX wouldn't want another video of another fireball when they're working towards commerical crew.

* VAFB wouldn't want anything blowing up in the vicinity of other things that aren't meant to be blown up.

* The FAA may have a bit of say in here too. They may not technically have veto power, but in the long-term "How does this get us to Mars?" sense, you certainly want to play nice now.

The FAA would have to sign off on any launch. Can't launch without an FAA launch license.

Offline tleski

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SpaceNews_Inc: Iridium remains fully behind @SpaceX as Musk hints at difficult investigation  https://t.co/UoV3a2mD0m

https://twitter.com/spacenews_inc/status/774237945872121857

Offline deruch

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As above, depending on the cost of delays, incremental cost of more satellites, and SpaceX's RTF timeline, there's an business case where it would make sense from Iridium's POV to launch now. They'd probably be renegotiating some very expensive insurance, but if that's cheaper than delays...

But it was just a hypothetical economic discussion. It won't happen in our reality:

* SpaceX wouldn't want another video of another fireball when they're working towards commerical crew.

* VAFB wouldn't want anything blowing up in the vicinity of other things that aren't meant to be blown up.

* The FAA may have a bit of say in here too. They may not technically have veto power, but in the long-term "How does this get us to Mars?" sense, you certainly want to play nice now.

I can't imagine SpaceX going for it.  SpaceX just lost their main launch pad.  If they get to the root cause quickly and it turns out to have been GSE, there's a decent chance they can fix it at VAFB (if necessary) and return to flight there in relatively short order.  Maybe even before the end of the year--though this is a bit optimistic given recent comments by Elon.  i.e. They may have an opportunity to still make revenue before the end of the year with a launch from VAFB.  Given their down time last year and future delays to East coast launches, that's potentially a big deal.

Also, the FAA definitely has a say.  SpaceX needs a safety analysis acceptance from them to get a launch license.  Until they know what happened, they have no way of determining whether this same failure could happen during launch.

edit: added qualification to necessity of GSE change at VAFB
« Last Edit: 09/10/2016 11:55 PM by deruch »
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Offline Chris Bergin

Sensible customer:

Iridium Corporate
‏@IridiumComm
Encouraged by SpaceX's Nov. target, but all based on a successful root cause finding and resolution. Ready to launch when our rocket is!

Offline Steven Pietrobon

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According to this report in the AMOS-6 thread, launch appears to be scheduled for December 2016 and possibly the first reuse of a flown stage.

http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=41252.msg1598513#msg1598513

"The plan is to get back to launch in early December and that will be from pad 39A at the Cape and we will be launching around the same time from Vandenberg as well. ... We are going to re-fly the first returned core December or January.  We have test fired one of the returned cores 8 times and it looks good.  That is promising for testing re-flight."
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Online gongora

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According to this report in the AMOS-6 thread, launch appears to be scheduled for December 2016 and possibly the first reuse of a flown stage.

http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=41252.msg1598513#msg1598513

"The plan is to get back to launch in early December and that will be from pad 39A at the Cape and we will be launching around the same time from Vandenberg as well. ... We are going to re-fly the first returned core December or January.  We have test fired one of the returned cores 8 times and it looks good.  That is promising for testing re-flight."

You are combining two pieces of the statement that don't go together.  Iridium will fly on a new core.  Then SES-10 will fly on a used core.

Offline Comga

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According to this report in the AMOS-6 thread, launch appears to be scheduled for December 2016 and possibly the first reuse of a flown stage.

http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=41252.msg1598513#msg1598513

"The plan is to get back to launch in early December and that will be from pad 39A at the Cape and we will be launching around the same time from Vandenberg as well. ... We are going to re-fly the first returned core December or January.  We have test fired one of the returned cores 8 times and it looks good.  That is promising for testing re-flight."

You are combining two pieces of the statement that don't go together.  Iridium will fly on a new core.  Then SES-10 will fly on a used core.

This sounds logical.
Musk saying RTF in "early December" and first reflight in "December or January" seems to exclude first reflight from the RTF launch.
What kind of wastrels would dump a perfectly good booster in the ocean after just one use?

Offline Steven Pietrobon

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You are combining two pieces of the statement that don't go together.  Iridium will fly on a new core.  Then SES-10 will fly on a used core.

Thanks for the clarification. I wasn't sure, which is why I said "possibly". Here's a quote from Iridium saying they are flying on new cores.

https://www.reddit.com/r/spacex/comments/4o3fwv/peter_b_de_selding_on_twitter_iridium_ceo_desch/

Peter B. de Selding on Twitter: "Iridium CEO Desch: We've purchased 7 new Falcon 9s, no reusable stages in the mix. We think our Sept launch is next SpaceX launch from VAFB."
Akin's Laws of Spacecraft Design #1:  Engineering is done with numbers.  Analysis without numbers is only an opinion.

Offline Flying Beaver

With Worldview now set for a Nov 7th launch, Vandenburg seems to be back up and running. Bar and damage that was specific to SpX's pad from the wildfire, that has yet to be repaired. Could this bode well for a possibly November RTF from Vandy? Even though SpX has said early December for RTF, the Sat's are there. The rockets is (probably) there, and with no mechanical changes needed to Falcon, whats stopping them from launching? It'a be good press to actually meet September 2nd set - November RTF deadline.

EDIT: Also Iridium has just put up a new site dedicated to IridiumNEXT.

http://www.iridiumnext.com/
« Last Edit: 10/31/2016 06:33 PM by Chris Bergin »
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Offline Kabloona

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It'a be good press to actually meet September 2nd set - November RTF deadline.

And it'd be very, very bad press to fail again because they launched before they thoroughly understood the last failure. They need to take their time and understand this failure mode and mitigate against it very carefully. It's potentially catastrophic for F9's human rating. Rushing RTF could be a huge mistake. And let's remember there are still (reportedly) NASA people who don't believe the strut was the (sole) root cause of the previous failure,  and therefore still suspect a COPV root cause.

With COPV's possibly suspect in both failures, it's all the more reason to proceed with extreme caution.

Offline mfck

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Quote
It'a be good press to actually meet September 2nd set - November RTF deadline.

...

 And let's remember there are still (reportedly) NASA people who don't believe the strut was the (sole) root cause of the previous failure,  and therefore still suspect a COPV root cause.

This is an appeal to an unspecified authority, whose argument is a suspicion based on unbelief. Let's forget it.

Quote

With COPV's possibly suspect in both failures, it's all the more reason to proceed with extreme caution.

COPV is a murder weapon in CRS-7 case and a suspect victim of a procedural failure (subjecting it to out of spec conditions) in Amos-6. Not the perpetrator in either.

I would argue against any "extreme" procedural modes, COPV or not. Extreme is unsustainable by definition. SX wants sustainable, routine ops. To have and to show. 



Offline FutureSpaceTourist

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Peter B. de Selding ‏@pbdes 5m5 minutes ago

Self-evident dept: IRDM CEO says IRDM sats wont be on SpaceX Falcon 9 for static fire test. No info re launch date or if IRDM is RTF payload

https://twitter.com/pbdes/status/793011616396763136

Offline ZachS09

Quote
Peter B. de Selding ‏@pbdes 5m5 minutes ago

Self-evident dept: IRDM CEO says IRDM sats wont be on SpaceX Falcon 9 for static fire test. No info re launch date or if IRDM is RTF payload

https://twitter.com/pbdes/status/793011616396763136

That's an even better idea than placing it on top of the Falcon 9. If another static fire failure ever occurs, then the Iridium sats won't be lost.
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Offline TOG

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Quote
Peter B. de Selding ‏@pbdes 5m5 minutes ago

Self-evident dept: IRDM CEO says IRDM sats wont be on SpaceX Falcon 9 for static fire test. No info re launch date or if IRDM is RTF payload

https://twitter.com/pbdes/status/793011616396763136

That's an even better idea than placing it on top of the Falcon 9. If another static fire failure ever occurs, then the Iridium sats won't be lost.

One follow up question:

Will/is the second stage attached for the static fire?  The question goes to what doesn't go to the pad for the static fire:  just the payload or the payload and second stage (Recall the second stage failed the static fire, even though it obviously was not being fired)?  How does that affect the launch cadence?  Do they have to build in more time for integration? 

OK, that is more than one question...
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Offline Coastal Ron

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Will/is the second stage attached for the static fire?  The question goes to what doesn't go to the pad for the static fire:  just the payload or the payload and second stage (Recall the second stage failed the static fire, even though it obviously was not being fired)?  How does that affect the launch cadence?  Do they have to build in more time for integration?

What has been observed is that during 1st stage testing at McGregor they don't attach the 2nd stage, but when they do the pre-launch test fires at the launch site they do have the 2nd stage attached, and optionally the payload too (the customer has always had the option to not have the payload attached during test firings).
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Offline Chris Bergin

« Last Edit: 10/31/2016 06:58 PM by Chris Bergin »

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