Author Topic: SpaceX Vandenberg Updates and Discussion  (Read 304595 times)

Offline abaddon

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Re: SpaceX Vandenberg Updates and Discussion
« Reply #180 on: 02/12/2015 09:15 pm »
Iridium is (I believe) the biggest LEO constellation and SpaceX will want global coverage for their constellation.  So I'm not seeing why it isn't a possibly good model in this regard?

Since the SpaceX constellation is aiming to be backbone-centric it wouldn't hurt that those polar satellites would be more used for relaying traffic than servicing customers directly.

Online Herb Schaltegger

Re: SpaceX Vandenberg Updates and Discussion
« Reply #181 on: 02/14/2015 02:59 pm »
the latter are likely N2O4 scrubbers

As far as I'm aware the only use SpaceX has for nitrogen tetroxide is the Dragon capsule, and the only planned flight of Dragon at Vandenberg is the inflight abort test. For only one flight involving not a lot of N2O4, compared say the Titans that used to inhabit this pad, its interesting that SpaceX would install so much vapor scrubbing capacity.

Quite a few satellites use some form of hypers. I don't know of any of them that don't use N2O4 if it's a bi-prop system. There is some variability on the fuel.

If SpaceX starts payload processing at their facility in Vandy, they would need a scrubber.

But would they need three, maybe four, of them?  Seems like overkill to me, but I don't have the faintest clue what the capacity of one of those trailer units would be.

3 or 4 maybe for the FH; what if they just want to increase fuel load for a standard F9R?



Assuming they ARE scrubbers, whether the payload is launched on a regular F9 or FH shouldn't matter all that much, unless the payloads they are planning for include long-life, maneuvering payloads such as something from certain TLA (Three-Letter Agencies) and such. They might just be planning ahead.
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Online Herb Schaltegger

Re: SpaceX Vandenberg Updates and Discussion
« Reply #182 on: 02/14/2015 03:42 pm »

I'm looking at this from a different angle; the "R" is taking away performance.   SX could be looking for a low cost way to get some performance back.


Okay, sure. That's what the whole "F9 1.1" and "FH" business is all about in the first place, the upgraded thrust of the Merlin 1D, and possible propellant densification is all about.

What has that got to do with hypergolic fume scrubbers?
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Offline Jim

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Re: SpaceX Vandenberg Updates and Discussion
« Reply #183 on: 02/14/2015 06:45 pm »


I'm looking at this from a different angle; the "R" is taking away performance.   SX could be looking for a low cost way to get some performance back.


Wrong angle.  That would not be low cost.  There are cheaper and simpler ways.

Offline Helodriver

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Re: SpaceX Vandenberg Updates and Discussion
« Reply #184 on: 03/21/2015 04:27 am »
After a period of slow visible progress at SLC-4. Activity has once again picked up pace. Warm conditions prevailed, causing a fair amount of heat shimmer in the pics.

The first definitive earth moving in construction for the landing pad at SLC-4W has commenced with all old Titan era concrete removed in the former MST park site and grading, filling, and leveling earthworks taking place. The old Titan flame trench, exhaust duct, and low relief structures do not appear to be involved (as of yet) in the conversion to a landing facility, leaving open the (rumored) possibility of future launches from this site.

The Launch table has been connected to the transporter erector and the launch mount structure rotated from horizontal for the first time in over a year. This afforded a unique view of the bottom of the launch table. The top was also visible, from a significant distance from the north, showing the modular nature of the launch mount plugs installed for single stick Falcons, which will be removed for Heavy operations, leaving a larger opening for the three core exhaust stream.

With the launch table removed, an oblique view of updated pad plumbing is visible, showing a few changes over the last 6 weeks. The left most of the newly installed white tanks had been labelled as liquid nitrogen, and the other new tanks have been given identification letters in series from right to left.

The concrete work to the right of the flame duct is complete forming a smooth level concrete surface in this formerly sloping sunken space.

Offline cuddihy

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Re: SpaceX Vandenberg Updates and Discussion
« Reply #185 on: 03/24/2015 12:55 am »
Great pics Helodriver!

Offline Helodriver

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Re: SpaceX Vandenberg Updates and Discussion
« Reply #186 on: 03/28/2015 06:00 pm »
Some unusual multiple crane lifting activity going on with the launch table and T/E recently at SLC-4E. Not entirely sure what the purpose was, but it gives a good idea of how large and heavy the strongback and launcher structure is.

Meanwhile the excavation and leveling process at SLC-4W for the landing pad is proceeding visibly.

Offline russianhalo117

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Re: SpaceX Vandenberg Updates and Discussion
« Reply #187 on: 03/28/2015 06:20 pm »
Some unusual multiple crane lifting activity going on with the launch table and T/E recently at SLC-4E. Not entirely sure what the purpose was, but it gives a good idea of how large and heavy the strongback and launcher structure is.

Meanwhile the excavation and leveling process at SLC-4W for the landing pad is proceeding visibly.
My father who is currently at VAFB says that they are to rotate the launch mount 90 degrees onto construction supports so that maintenance work for the next launch and final outfitting of piping, electronics/data cabling installation for FH can be conducted. In order for the FH work to be completed it had to be disconnected and removed from the pad to an area further up the ramp. A TEL parking/maintenance area will be will be built later at all of the FH pads.

Offline deruch

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Re: SpaceX Vandenberg Updates and Discussion
« Reply #188 on: 03/29/2015 04:34 am »
Great pics as always Helodriver!  Can anyone give a reasonable estimation for the dimensions of the graded area at SLC-4W?  How closely does it correspond to the layout listed in the EA for the planned landing pad(s) at LC-13?
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Offline WmThomas

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Re: SpaceX Vandenberg Updates and Discussion
« Reply #189 on: 03/29/2015 06:47 pm »
Thanks for all pics Helodriver!

Offline AncientU

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Re: SpaceX Vandenberg Updates and Discussion
« Reply #190 on: 03/29/2015 08:55 pm »
Now, if you chose to send a fleet of LEO comm sats, I believe you would still want to launch from CCAF since 56deg is quite doable and covers a lot of the world population.

Iridium Next will be launched solely from VAFB (well, aside from the first two that are going up on Dnepr): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iridium_satellite_constellation#Next-generation_constellation
Well, I was thinking of SpaceX's 4000 satellite configuraiton. The business of Iridium is global coverage. So they are close to polar. But look at recent launches, like O3b, Orbcomm, etc., and they are rather launched on less inclined orbits. If you're going to put hundreds of satellites, you're not going to put them on the same inclination.  Else, you'd have an overpopulation of satellites closer to the poles, exactly where you have lower population density. Nothing precludes from having a few near polar planes, but those would be the exception rather than the rule. CCAF 56deg can get you a lot of coverage.

I believe that Vandy is the planned launch site for the 4,000 sat constellation.  Plans for 30 launches from there could only be for such constellations...

Here's a string and lead-in article (near the end) talking about lots, including plans for Vandy.

http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=35292.msg1235412#msg1235412
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Offline russianhalo117

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Re: SpaceX Vandenberg Updates and Discussion
« Reply #191 on: 03/30/2015 01:51 am »
Now, if you chose to send a fleet of LEO comm sats, I believe you would still want to launch from CCAF since 56deg is quite doable and covers a lot of the world population.

Iridium Next will be launched solely from VAFB (well, aside from the first two that are going up on Dnepr): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iridium_satellite_constellation#Next-generation_constellation
Well, I was thinking of SpaceX's 4000 satellite configuraiton. The business of Iridium is global coverage. So they are close to polar. But look at recent launches, like O3b, Orbcomm, etc., and they are rather launched on less inclined orbits. If you're going to put hundreds of satellites, you're not going to put them on the same inclination.  Else, you'd have an overpopulation of satellites closer to the poles, exactly where you have lower population density. Nothing precludes from having a few near polar planes, but those would be the exception rather than the rule. CCAF 56deg can get you a lot of coverage.

I believe that Vandy is the planned launch site for the 4,000 sat constellation.  Plans for 30 launches from there could only be for such constellations...

Here's a string and lead-in article (near the end) talking about lots, including plans for Vandy.

http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=35292.msg1235412#msg1235412
30 near back to back launches will make the 30th SW and VAFB units very happy if it happens. It will also test longevity and stress of that many launches.

Offline Baranquilla

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Re: SpaceX Vandenberg Updates and Discussion
« Reply #192 on: 03/30/2015 03:29 pm »

30 near back to back launches will make the 30th SW and VAFB units very happy if it happens. It will also test longevity and stress of that many launches.
I just wrote in my thesis that both Landsat 7, Terra (aster, modis) and Ikonos were launched in 1999 from VAFB. I hope spacex will entertain us with an equally active VAFB  for years to come! 

PS: I'm sorry this is not an update.
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Offline Helodriver

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Re: SpaceX Vandenberg Updates and Discussion
« Reply #193 on: 04/01/2015 06:59 am »
A quick visit to SLC-4 to check progress on a nearly 90 degree day in the California Central Coast, that's really hot for the beginning of April here, or really anytime out on Vandenberg. As such strong heat shimmer made most pictures unusable, despite the visible breeze. I was able to get one semi clear close up shot of the plumbing around the new liquid nitrogen and LOX tanks that could be used for possible LOX densification.

Not much other visible changes since a few days ago. Landing pad excavation is still ongoing and the T/E and launch mount are still pulled away from the launch stand. The lifting cranes from last week have been removed.

Accurate measurement of the size of the landing pad and its configuration is still difficult to determine with the earthworks still ongoing.
« Last Edit: 04/01/2015 08:02 am by Helodriver »

Offline deruch

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Re: SpaceX Vandenberg Updates and Discussion
« Reply #194 on: 04/01/2015 07:25 am »
Accurate measurement of the size of the landing pad and its configuration is still difficult to determine with the earthworks still ongoing.

Thanks.  I know we're not necessarily seeing the final footprint yet.  I was just trying to get a ballpark on what's there so far.  Based on my prior attempts (failures) to do so, I'm terrible at trying to estimate distances from pictures.  I was hoping someone on the site might give it a go.
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Offline CJ

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Re: SpaceX Vandenberg Updates and Discussion
« Reply #195 on: 04/02/2015 01:20 am »
A quick visit to SLC-4 to check progress on a nearly 90 degree day in the California Central Coast, that's really hot for the beginning of April here, or really anytime out on Vandenberg. As such strong heat shimmer made most pictures unusable, despite the visible breeze. I was able to get one semi clear close up shot of the plumbing around the new liquid nitrogen and LOX tanks that could be used for possible LOX densification.

Not much other visible changes since a few days ago. Landing pad excavation is still ongoing and the T/E and launch mount are still pulled away from the launch stand. The lifting cranes from last week have been removed.

Accurate measurement of the size of the landing pad and its configuration is still difficult to determine with the earthworks still ongoing.

Thank you for braving the fierce heat of Vandenberg. Sorry to hear that the temps wrecked the other pics via heat shimmer. I can see the effects of it even in this pic, especially around the flag.

Would you happen to know offhand if Ocean Beach will be open to the public for the Jason-3 launch? It's been open for others, but I can't find any indication that it's open for all. 

Offline Kabloona

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Re: SpaceX Vandenberg Updates and Discussion
« Reply #196 on: 04/10/2015 02:39 pm »
New article with photos from Chris re tanking test of the in-flight abort stage at VAFB:

http://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2015/04/spacex-tanking-tests-in-flight-abort-falcon-9/
« Last Edit: 04/10/2015 02:42 pm by Kabloona »

Offline spacenut

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Re: SpaceX Vandenberg Updates and Discussion
« Reply #197 on: 04/10/2015 03:40 pm »
Is Vandenberg for polar orbits only, or can they launch east also?

Offline Newton_V

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Re: SpaceX Vandenberg Updates and Discussion
« Reply #198 on: 04/10/2015 03:48 pm »
Is Vandenberg for polar orbits only, or can they launch east also?

SSE only.  ~150 deg flight azimuth

Can go retrograde though.
« Last Edit: 04/10/2015 03:49 pm by Newton_V »

Offline Helodriver

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Re: SpaceX Vandenberg Updates and Discussion
« Reply #199 on: 04/10/2015 04:11 pm »
Based on the uptick in activity at SLC-4 lately I figured something interesting was about to happen out there sooner than later. Coming over the ridge from a few miles away it was immediately obvious that yesterday was the day, the TEL was vertical for the first time I'd seen in over a year. Even better, the TEL was carrying something!

Chris has used some of the pics for the great article, but many higher resolution closer view ones are available in L2.

Attached here are a few images showing the newly revealed In Flight Abort Vehicle from different angles.

Additionally yesterday's Amtrak passengers got an excellent view of the vehicle and the landing area as well.

The landing pad has a new berm built along its square perimeter. No paving has taken place, I'm not yet convinced the berm is a permanent feature.

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