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Falcon 9 progress, Events leading up to the first Falcon 9 Launch
djellison
post Feb 13 2010, 12:18 AM
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Ever seen the nozzle for the upper stage of a Delta IV. Seriously - i've seen smaller central-London apartments.
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Adzel
post Feb 13 2010, 12:37 AM
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djellison
post Feb 13 2010, 12:45 AM
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OCO is a long term monitoring spacecraft (for which new funds have been earmarked). DragonLab is a short term on orbit and then landed vehicle - totally different requirements, orbits, etc etc
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nprev
post Feb 13 2010, 01:04 AM
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IIRC, an OCO 2 is specifically called out in the FY11 executive branch budget proposal, and if approved will be a high-fidelity refly of the baseline mission (as much as that's ever possible to do; things change). The Dragon system is obviously still very much in the testing phases; I haven't heard of anyone at all proposing hardline operational missions of any sort for it just yet.


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ugordan
post Feb 13 2010, 05:20 PM
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Here's an image of the (uncoated ?) 2nd stage niobium nozzle extension. According to SpaceX, parts of it are only 1/3 mm thick, no wonder that hangar image shows what appear to be strengthening ribs. If this contraption works, it will make Merlin Vacuum the highest specific impulse kerosene engine ever made in the U.S.

Also, inside the interstage notice that silvery packaged stuff, it's speculated to be a parachute for the 1st stage recovery system. Seeing how F1 first stages always got cooked before parachute deploy, I wonder how this one will fare - assuming the flight goes through nominal staging.


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nprev
post Feb 13 2010, 06:28 PM
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Well, if they're lucky the (postulated) recovery system will work perfectly the first time. Engineering is iterative in nature, though, and prioritization is essential. I'll be deeply impressed if F9-1 delivers full performance & the Dragon flight qual model just barely reaches orbit on this first attempt, never mind the ancillary systems' performance.


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ugordan
post Feb 13 2010, 06:52 PM
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They have undoubtedly learned some hard lessons with F1, but F9 is a much more complex vehicle, especially the first stage. It's not unrealistic to expect the first flight to fail, but if it got as far as F1 #2 went, it wouldn't be that bad IMO. As long as they gather enough data to make #2 work. There are many unknowns, though - how will the 9 engines work and how will the avionics be able to control them? Will there be pogo? Will the 2nd stage engine light in vacuum and zero G? Will the nozzle extension work?

As they say: stay tuned...


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nprev
post Feb 13 2010, 07:10 PM
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We're clearly in violent agreement, G. smile.gif Gonna cut considerable slack for them; the laws of physics never will, and we gotta show some love.


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lyford
post Feb 13 2010, 09:09 PM
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QUOTE (ugordan @ Feb 13 2010, 09:20 AM) *
Here's an image of the (uncoated ?) 2nd stage niobium nozzle extension.


That image set has some nice stuff in it, and here's to hoping the launch goes better than this pic that was featured in the above sidebar. Would this person be classified as an "enthusiast?" smile.gif



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"Zis is not nuts, zis is super-nuts!" Mathematician Richard Courant on viewing an Orion test
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Adzel
post Feb 14 2010, 04:44 PM
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Greg Hullender
post Feb 14 2010, 05:48 PM
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Iin 2004 Musk told the US Senate he thought $500/pound (so roughly $1,000/kg) was achievable.

http://www.spacex.com/press.php?page=10

Looking at current Falcon 9 pricing http://www.spacex.com/falcon9.php one sees he's asking $44M to put 10,450 kg into LEO, which works out to a bit over $4,000 per kg.

--Greg
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djellison
post Feb 14 2010, 06:09 PM
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QUOTE (Adzel @ Feb 14 2010, 04:44 PM) *
Does anyone know what the SpaceX organization is planning to charge?


I do. I found out by reading their website.

http://spacex.com/falcon9.php

No offense, but why WOULDN'T you do the same?
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nprev
post Feb 14 2010, 07:50 PM
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It's all reasonable. You gotta recoup development costs to stay solvent. Their business model is clearly predicated on demand, which based on historical trends is definitely there. If they can make a product that captures a large enough segment of global demand they win, otherwise they're toast.

In the global marketplace, it's all high-stakes poker. Hope they got a good hand; certainly they're incentivized (to use the current buzzword) to do so.


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Adzel
post Feb 14 2010, 08:15 PM
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Greg: Thank you for the information. I was just curious. IIRC the $1000/kg figure came up (about 25+) years ago in the early stages of the STS development.

djellison: No offence intended.
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ugordan
post Feb 21 2010, 06:56 PM
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It's on the pad now: http://www.spaceflightnow.com/falcon9/001/100220rollout/

Crop and slight enhancement of an image taken today by Mike Robel of NSF.com forums:
Attached Image


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