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SpaceX Launches Falcon 9/Dragon

spacex nasa dragon falcon iss

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#16    Waspie_Dwarf

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Posted 23 May 2012 - 02:17 PM

View PostMerc14, on 23 May 2012 - 01:31 PM, said:

I don't  think it is so much a celebration of technology as it is the first sucessful (so far) commercial venture into space with a man-capable ship.
This version of the Dragon isn't man capable. This flight comes under a NASA programme called COTS (Commercial Orbital Transportation Services) run by NASA's Commercial Crew and Cargo Program Office (C3PO).

The manned version of Dragon is being developed under a separate C3PO programme called CCDev ( Commercial Crew Development).

SpaceX is just one of four companies competing for funding as part of that programme (along with Blue Origin, Sierra Nevada Corporation and Boeing). There is no guarantee that Dragon will win through this process or that a manned Dragon spacecraft will ever visit the ISS.

"Space is big. Really big. You just won't believe how vastly, hugely, mind-boggingly big it is. I mean, you may think it's a long way down the street to the chemist, but that's just peanuts to space." - The Hitch-Hikers Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams 1952 - 2001

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#17    Merc14

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Posted 23 May 2012 - 02:33 PM

View PostWaspie_Dwarf, on 23 May 2012 - 02:17 PM, said:

This version of the Dragon isn't man capable. This flight comes under a NASA programme called COTS (Commercial Orbital Transportation Services) run by NASA's Commercial Crew and Cargo Program Office (C3PO).

The manned version of Dragon is being developed under a separate C3PO programme called CCDev ( Commercial Crew Development).

SpaceX is just one of four companies competing for funding as part of that programme (along with Blue Origin, Sierra Nevada Corporation and Boeing). There is no guarantee that Dragon will win through this process or that a manned Dragon spacecraft will ever visit the ISS.


I thought this Dragon capsule was to be modified for manned flight to the ISS at a future date as part of the crew development program?

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#18    IronGhost

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Posted 23 May 2012 - 04:57 PM

Sod the 1950s rockets, I say. Maglevs, rail guns or launch rings are doable with "existing technology". Space will be conquered with equal parts (more or less) government, capitalism and new technology -- not egregiously expensive and dangerous 1950s tech.  http://www.gizmag.co...v-to-leo/21700/

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#19    Waspie_Dwarf

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Posted 23 May 2012 - 11:01 PM

View PostMerc14, on 23 May 2012 - 02:33 PM, said:

I thought this Dragon capsule was to be modified for manned flight to the ISS at a future date as part of the crew development program?

Exactly. The key words are modified and future. As it stands the Dragon capsule us not ready to carry astronauts.

"Space is big. Really big. You just won't believe how vastly, hugely, mind-boggingly big it is. I mean, you may think it's a long way down the street to the chemist, but that's just peanuts to space." - The Hitch-Hikers Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams 1952 - 2001

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#20    Waspie_Dwarf

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Posted 24 May 2012 - 12:01 AM

View PostIronGhost, on 23 May 2012 - 04:57 PM, said:

Sod the 1950s rockets, I say. Maglevs, rail guns or launch rings are doable with "existing technology". Space will be conquered with equal parts (more or less) government, capitalism and new technology -- not egregiously expensive and dangerous 1950s tech.
First you claimed rockets were obsolete, when they aren't, now you are claiming them to be dangerous but providing the same amount of evidence to support your claims, ie none at all. To be honest, so far I can see no logic in your position, only an irrational dislike of rocket technology.

Your maglev article is interesting, but do you seriously think that it will be practical? Where are you going to be able to build a tube 1,000 miles long with the end suspended more than 12 miles high? Who is going to invest $60 billion in something that might work, especially when you consider that development costs of the Falcon rockets was only $390 million and that was technology that was known to work

The article contains an awful lot of ifs and maybes. Than there is an issue not even addressed in the article. Satellites need to be launched into a varity of different orbital inclinations, depending on their function. Rockets offer this flexibility by being able to launch on any trajectory. A thousand mile long tube will only offer one orbital inclination. If built it might supplement rockets but it certainly won't replace them.

When it comes to safety the Falcon 9 has an ability to reach orbit even with an engine failure at lift off, no other launcher since the Saturn V has this capability.

What evidence can you provide to show that any of these technologies will be more reliable, safer and cheaper to operate in the near term, than rocket technology?

Repeating the same false mantra over and over again does nor make it true. Your claim that the Falcon 9 is 50s technology is wrong on so many levels.
  • Liquid propulsion rockets were proposed as the best method for achieving earth orbit in 1903
  • The first liquid propulsion rocket flew in 1926
  • Modern liquid fuelled rocketry began not in rhe 50's but with the German V2 (A4) which first flew in 1942
  • The Falcon 9 is constructed using modern techniques and materials, far more advanced than those available in the 50s

Don't get me wrong, I would like to see this technology come to fruition in my life time as much as you, but I'm a realist. Rocket technology is more likely to be invested in because it is simple, efficient and it works. Just as it will take a long time for electric cars to replace the internal combustion engine, it will take along time to replace rockets with any alternative. My only caveat to that is if something comes along which is such an improvement that it truly renders rockets obsolete, in the same way that jets rendered props obsolete, but that technology has not yet been invented/perfected.

Rockets are here to stay for the foreseeable future, with or without your approval.

"Space is big. Really big. You just won't believe how vastly, hugely, mind-boggingly big it is. I mean, you may think it's a long way down the street to the chemist, but that's just peanuts to space." - The Hitch-Hikers Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams 1952 - 2001

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#21    Waspie_Dwarf

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Posted 24 May 2012 - 12:12 AM

To get back on topic...

www.nasa.gov said:

SpaceX Reports Dragon Ready for Station Flyby
Wed, 23 May 2012 05:44:54 AM GMT+0100

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk reported today that the company's Dragon cargo capsule is ready for a demanding set of tests and maneuvers Thursday morning. "All systems green," Musk tweeted. The maneuvers are slated to include a flyby of the International Space Station that will include communications and navigation system evaluations. The Dragon, which is carrying supplies for the station, lifted off Tuesday morning from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida to begin a demonstration mission to show it can take cargo to the orbiting laboratory.

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#22    Merc14

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Posted 24 May 2012 - 12:53 AM

View PostWaspie_Dwarf, on 23 May 2012 - 11:01 PM, said:

Exactly. The key words are modified and future. As it stands the Dragon capsule us not ready to carry astronauts.

Ok but this is the basic capsule design and rocket that will carry astronauts in a future mission.

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#23    Daveisback

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Posted 24 May 2012 - 01:32 AM

SpaceX has lit the candle, hope they can can keep it lit.

Ever read the non-fiction works of http://ricktumlinson.com/ and the Sci-Fi novels Ben Bova. Rick is passionate about private/commercial space efforts even leading a few of his own. Bova has written several novels about commercial space efforts and they are good and might predict what will happen next in this arena.

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#24    IronGhost

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Posted 24 May 2012 - 02:53 AM

View PostDaveisback, on 24 May 2012 - 01:32 AM, said:

SpaceX has lit the candle, hope they can can keep it lit.

Ever read the non-fiction works of http://ricktumlinson.com/ and the Sci-Fi novels Ben Bova. Rick is passionate about private/commercial space efforts even leading a few of his own. Bova has written several novels about commercial space efforts and they are good and might predict what will happen next in this arena.

I've read all of Ben Bova's novels. They're marvelous. He started out as working withing the aerospace industry way back in the 50s before he became a writer. He's very much an insider, knows a lot of astronauts, etc., and so his fiction is very well informed.

I once had a chance to meet him and chat with him at some length about space -- he's rather edgy and argumentative over small things; for example I asked him "What do you think will be the tobacco of space?" meaning, of course, what will it be that will enable business folks to make a profit on space, comparing it to the early English colonies of the Americas, which were failures until they were able to generate cash by growing tobacco and selling it back in Europe, thus driving the colonization process ...
and he immediately said, "it wasn't tobacco! It was sugar cane!" He sort of barked it at me .... I said, "yeah, yeah, whatever, but I think you understand the larger point I am making" and then he sort of softened a bit and discussed a variety of things, but also was rather more vague than I expected ... but he was very eager to see technologies move forward  ... he said even the shuttles were viewed by many within the industry to be "hangar queens" --although I am not sure whether Bova himself took that position or not ...

And just think -- the shuttle was a considerable leap forward over simple multi-stage rockets, such as the Falcon 9 -- so -- don't get me wrong  -- I know the Falcon 9 is better than nothing -- but no one should get overly excited over 1950 technology even though it is being provided by private industry -- it's all as much a leap backwards as a leap forward -- one should not underestimate the importance of private involvement -- but more so, not overestimate it -- for many complex reason, one of which is that private industry had been involved from the very beginning -- who do you think NASA contracts out to?  This is yet more of the same -- contracting out to a private industry like General Dynamics, McDonald Douglas, etc. not to mentions all the telecoms and satellite entities -- and so forth

Edited by IronGhost, 24 May 2012 - 02:54 AM.


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#25    Waspie_Dwarf

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Posted 24 May 2012 - 10:32 AM

www.nasa.gov said:

Burns Completed, Station Crew Activating Communications Link
Thu, 24 May 2012 10:01:25 AM GMT+0100

As of 4:43 a.m. EDT, SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft completed two critical rendezvous burns to place itself 2.4 km under the space station to begin its fly-under demonstration testing. These tests are designed to verify communications and navigation systems on the Dragon spacecraft before it re-approaches the station for its grapple and berthing on Friday.

The station crew is activating the communications link between the ISS and Dragon. The link will be tested as the Dragon passes directly below the station prior to its departure from the vicinity of the complex. It is expected to fly directly beneath the station at approx. 6:30 a.m. It will then complete an engine firing to leave the station to begin a racetrack trajectory over the next 24 hours to set up for its final rendezvous Friday.

NASA TV coverage is underway. A post-fly-under briefing is scheduled for 10 a.m. and will be carried on NASA TV.

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"Space is big. Really big. You just won't believe how vastly, hugely, mind-boggingly big it is. I mean, you may think it's a long way down the street to the chemist, but that's just peanuts to space." - The Hitch-Hikers Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams 1952 - 2001

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#26    Waspie_Dwarf

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Posted 24 May 2012 - 11:40 AM

www.nasa.gov said:

Dragon Completes Today's Demonstration Objectivest
Thu, 24 May 2012 12:34:45 AM GMT+0100

The SpaceX Dragon capsule, visible through International Space Station’s cameras, passed directly below the orbiting complex at a distance of 2.5 km at 7:24 a.m. EDT, fulfilling all demonstration objectives for the day. A final height adjustment burn to depart the vicinity of the space station will occur at 7:57 a.m., at which point Dragon begins its “racetrack” trajectory to re-approach the station for grapple and berthing attempts on Friday.

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"Space is big. Really big. You just won't believe how vastly, hugely, mind-boggingly big it is. I mean, you may think it's a long way down the street to the chemist, but that's just peanuts to space." - The Hitch-Hikers Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams 1952 - 2001

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#27    Waspie_Dwarf

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Posted 24 May 2012 - 12:03 PM

View PostMerc14, on 24 May 2012 - 12:53 AM, said:

Ok but this is the basic capsule design and rocket that will carry astronauts in a future mission.
Yes, but the capsule will need a lot of modifications.

The current Dragon is designed for a 30 day stay at the ISS. The manned version (known as the DragonRider) will be designed for 180 day stays, with a requirement that it should be able to stay docked for 210 days in case of emergencies.

Dragon currently has no life support system or launch escape system (LES) both of which will be needed by DragonRider.

DragonRider will employ a novel LES. Instead of a launch escape tower as currently used by Soyuz and Shenzhou (and previously by Mercury and Apollo) which use rockets in a tower above the capsule to pull it free in a launch abort, DragonRider will use rockets mounted at the base of the capsule to push it free. DragonRider's system, using 8 "SuperDraco" engines has several advantages over a tower system. The  tower has to separated several minutes into the flight. This in itself presents a potential problem. Once the tower has been ejected that particular option for escape is no longer available. The SuperDracos are not ejected and thus that LES option remains all the way to orbit. As the SuperDracos are returned to Earth it is a reusable system.

Later versions of the DragonRider will use the SuperDracos as landing engines, the capsule will be able to make a precision touch down on dry land, doing away with the costly sea recovery. Parachutes will only be used in an emergency.

There is also a third version of the Dragon. This is a free flying, unmanned version which will not make visits to the ISS. It is called DragonLab and will be able to stay in orbit for upto two years. Currently there are 2 missions booked for this version, in 2013 and 2014.

"Space is big. Really big. You just won't believe how vastly, hugely, mind-boggingly big it is. I mean, you may think it's a long way down the street to the chemist, but that's just peanuts to space." - The Hitch-Hikers Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams 1952 - 2001

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#28    Waspie_Dwarf

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Posted 24 May 2012 - 12:32 PM

www.nasa.gov said:

Dragon Begins Trajectory to Re-Approach Station Friday
Thu, 24 May 2012 01:22:26 PM GMT+0100

SpaceX completed a final height adjustment burn of the Dragon capsule at 8:09 a.m. EDT to depart the vicinity of the International Space Station. Dragon now begins its “racetrack” trajectory to re-approach the station for grapple and berthing attempts on Friday. A news briefing on today’s successful demonstration mission milestones will air live on NASA TV from the Johnson Space Center at 10 a.m.: www.nasa.gov/ntv

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"Space is big. Really big. You just won't believe how vastly, hugely, mind-boggingly big it is. I mean, you may think it's a long way down the street to the chemist, but that's just peanuts to space." - The Hitch-Hikers Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams 1952 - 2001

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#29    Waspie_Dwarf

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Posted 24 May 2012 - 10:50 PM

NASA has now released some photos of the Dragon taken from the ISS during today's fly past. I have posted them on UMs image gallery. They can be found HERE, HERE, HERE and HERE

"Space is big. Really big. You just won't believe how vastly, hugely, mind-boggingly big it is. I mean, you may think it's a long way down the street to the chemist, but that's just peanuts to space." - The Hitch-Hikers Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams 1952 - 2001

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