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Sun Oct 7, 2012, 09:14 PM

SpaceX Dragon capsule launched to space station

Source: AP-Excite

By MARCIA DUNN

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) - A commercial cargo ship rocketed into orbit Sunday in pursuit of the International Space Station, the first of a dozen supply runs under a mega-contract with NASA.

It was the second launch of a Dragon capsule to the orbiting lab by the California-based SpaceX company. The first was last spring.

This time was no test flight, however, and the spacecraft carried 1,000 pounds of key science experiments and other precious gear. There was also a personal touch: chocolate-vanilla swirl ice cream tucked in a freezer for the three station residents.

The company's unmanned Falcon rocket roared into the night sky right on time, putting SpaceX on track to reach the space station Wednesday. The complex was soaring southwest of Tasmania when the Falcon took flight.

FULL story at link.


Read more: http://apnews.excite.com/article/20121008/DA1P2D880.html




In this image provided by NASA the Space Exploration Technologies Corp., or SpaceX, Falcon 9 rocket with it's Dragon capsule attached on top is seen at Space Launch Complex-40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida Oct. 2, 2012. The coming mission is the first under a $1.6 billion contract with NASA that calls for a dozen resupply flights by SpaceX, essential in the post-shuttle era. The liftoff is planned for Sunday morning, Oct. 7, at 8:35 p.m. EDT. (AP Photo/NASA)

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Response to Omaha Steve (Original post)

Sun Oct 7, 2012, 09:17 PM

1. This may be the future of space flight/missions

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Response to Omaha Steve (Original post)

Sun Oct 7, 2012, 09:30 PM

2. SpaceX was going 4 kilometers PER SECOND!!!

I love watching these launches!

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Response to Omaha Steve (Original post)

Sun Oct 7, 2012, 10:11 PM

3. 1.6 billion for 12 runs. Is that a good price compared to before?

Maybe someone in the know could say. This could become a favored example for those who argue for privatization of government.

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Response to Ash_F (Reply #3)

Mon Oct 8, 2012, 12:11 PM

4. It is hard to say - not a great savings so far.

At full capacity, it would work out to roughly $10k / pound into orbit. The shuttle (according to NASA info) cost roughly $450M per launch - but it could carry 53,600 lbs into LEO. That works out to about $8.4k / pound.

Of course, that doesn't cover the cost of the craft for the shuttle missions - so there is a lot more that goes into it than just this - but it isn't anything amazing.

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Response to Ash_F (Reply #3)

Mon Oct 8, 2012, 12:27 PM

5. I'd say it's a great price, because...

Especially exciting for NASA is the fact that the Dragon will return twice as much cargo as it took up, including a stockpile of astronauts' blood and urine samples. The samples - nearly 500 of them - have been stashed in freezers since Atlantis made the last shuttle flight in July 2011.

None of the Russian, European or Japanese cargo ships can bring anything back; they're destroyed during re-entry. The Russian Soyuz crew capsules have limited room for anything besides people. Especially exciting for NASA is the fact that the Dragon will return twice as much cargo as it took up, including a stockpile of astronauts' blood and urine samples. The samples - nearly 500 of them - have been stashed in freezers since Atlantis made the last shuttle flight in July 2011.


The ONLY other spacecraft that could very return large quantities of cargo was the Shuttle. And IMO, we shouldn't risk human life on cargo runs.

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Response to Ash_F (Reply #3)

Mon Oct 8, 2012, 12:28 PM

6. How incestuous is the relationship between NASA and these new private companies?

I see quite a few ex-NASA execs in their ranks, similar to the symbiotic setup between the Pentagon and defense contractors.

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Response to Omaha Steve (Original post)

Mon Oct 8, 2012, 12:45 PM

7. That smooth SpaceX launch? Turns out one of the engines exploded

http://arstechnica.com/science/2012/10/that-smooth-spacex-launch-turns-out-one-of-the-engines-exploded/

That smooth SpaceX launch? Turns out one of the engines exploded
Video shows craft continuing to orbit after burst of flame, falling debris.
by John Timmer - Oct 8 2012, 11:15am CDT

Those of us who watched the live feed of last night's Falcon 9 launch could be forgiven for assuming that everything went according to plan. All the reports that came through over the audio were heavy on the word "nominal," and the craft successfully entered an orbit that has it on schedule to dock with the International Space Station on Wednesday. But over night, SpaceX released a slow-motion video of what they're calling an "anomaly."

Watch the video embedded below (starting at about the 27-second mark), though, and the term anomaly will look like a serious understatement. The video clearly shows a larger burst of flame within the normal plume of rocket exhaust, followed shortly by debris falling from the rocket.

The Falcon 9, as its name implies, has nine engines, and is designed to go to orbit if one of them fails. On-board computers will detect engine failure, cut the fuel supply, and then distribute the unused propellant to the remaining engines, allowing them to burn longer. This seems to be the case where that was required, and the computers came through. The engines are also built with protection to limit the damage in cases where a neighboring engine explodes, which appears to be the case here.

SpaceX has indicated that it will provide a more detailed report on the event later today. We'll update the story when that becomes available.

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Response to jsr (Reply #7)

Mon Oct 8, 2012, 01:58 PM

8. Especially amazing that it adjusted for that on the fly; wow. (nt)

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Response to Omaha Steve (Original post)

Sun Oct 14, 2012, 09:31 PM

9. Update: Satellite Falls Out of Orbit Due To SpaceX Engine Failure

http://space.brevardtimes.com/2012/10/satellite-falls-out-of-orbit-due-to.html

Sunday, October 14, 2012
Satellite Falls Out of Orbit Due To SpaceX Engine Failure

CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida -- A satellite launched as a secondary mission payload aboard the October 7, 2012 SpaceX Cargo Re-Supply Services (CRS-1) mission fell out of its intended orbit due to one of the SpaceX Falcon 9 Merlin rocket engines failing during launch.

The satellite might have reached its intended orbit if SpaceX was able to re-fire the rocket engines. However, the safety protocols for the International Space Station did not permit a re-firing of the engines.

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