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bison

SpaceX Falcon Heavy Test Delayed

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bison

The  static fire test of SpaceX' Falcon Heavy rocket will be delayed until the U.S. government partial shutdown is resolved.

This test involves loading fuel aboard the rocket, and firing its engines, while the rocket remains on the launch pad. It is intended to show that the rocket is ready for an actual launch. 

Please find a link, below to an article with more details:

https://www.theverge.com/2018/1/22/16918464/spacex-falcon-heavy-rocket-static-fire-delayed-shutdown

Edited by bison
corrected link address

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bison

Well, if SpaceX can test fire the Falcon Heavy before February 8th, they'll be good to go. After that, the stop-gap budget authorization that temporarily ended the partial U.S. government shutdown will expire, and things could grind to a standstill again.

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Waspie_Dwarf
On 1/23/2018 at 8:43 PM, bison said:

Well, if SpaceX can test fire the Falcon Heavy before February 8th, they'll be good to go.

Given that the launch is scheduled to occur by the end of January if they hadn't got the test fire done by 8th February then the budget authorisation would have been the least of their worries.

As it happens they test fired all 27 engines of the Falcon Heavy today. Elon Musk has said that the test was a success and that the launch of the Falcon Heavy will occur in " a week or so".

This thread has, up to now, concentrated on the delay testing caused by the US government shut down, it does not mention the nearly two weeks of delays that occurred prior to this.

SpaceX first attempted this test firing on 11th January, but this attempt was abort for reasons which have not been disclosed by SpaceX. The Falcon Heavy then underwent a series of fuelling tests. The test firing date continuously slipped until it had to be delayed due to the launch of a ULA Atlas V. A final fuelling test of the Falcon Heavy occurred on 21st January.

One article I read suggested the following as a potential source of problems for the Falcon Heavy: The super cold fuel that SpaceX uses causes a lot of contraction in the rocket's first stage. With a single core this is not a problem. The Falcon Heavy, however, is three cores with attachments at the top and bottom. If the three cores do not all contract at the same rate this could cause stress at those attachment points. I am no rocket scientist so I do not know if this is a valid issue or not. I also don't know if the fact that the two side cores are reused would add to this problem.

Whatever the cause of the hot-fire test delays SpaceX seem to have overcome them. I am now looking forward to them finally getting this bird off the ground.

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Waspie_Dwarf

 

Falcon Heavy Demo | Static Fire

On Wednesday, Jan. 24th, 2018 SpaceX completed the first static fire test of the Falcon Heavy launch vehicle. When Falcon Heavy lifts off, it will be the most powerful operational rocket in the world by a factor of two.

Its first stage is composed of three Falcon 9 nine-engine cores whose 27 Merlin engines together generate more than 5 million pounds of thrust, equal to approximately eighteen 747 aircraft. Only the Saturn V moon rocket, last flown in 1973, delivered more payload to orbit. Falcon Heavy was designed from the outset to carry humans into space and restores the possibility of flying missions with crew to the Moon or Mars.

Credit: SpaceX

Source: SpaceX - YouTube Channel

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Peter B

Impressive footage (of course the actual launch will be even more spectacular, when it eventually happens).

I got the impression there were two ignitions, about two seconds apart. Given the amount of smoke and noise, I suspect that the core engines lit first, followed by the side boosters' engines, but I'm happy to be corrected.

The Everyday Astronaut has a couple of interesting videos (and maybe more!) about the Falcon Heavy - one covering the static fire, and one explaining why the FH has been delayed five years from Musk's original announced launch date of 2013.

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Derek Willis
13 hours ago, Waspie_Dwarf said:

One article I read suggested the following as a potential source of problems for the Falcon Heavy: The super cold fuel that SpaceX uses causes a lot of contraction in the rocket's first stage. With a single core this is not a problem. The Falcon Heavy, however, is three cores with attachments at the top and bottom. If the three cores do not all contract at the same rate this could cause stress at those attachment points. I am no rocket scientist so I do not know if this is a valid issue or not. I also don't know if the fact that the two side cores are reused would add to this problem.

I can't imagine that is really the problem. The world's first satellite was launched in 1957 by a rocket that had a core surrounded four boosters containing liquid oxygen (pretty much the same rocket still used today for Soyuz launches). The liquid oxygen tanks of the boosters are adjacent to the core's kerosene tank, so that might mitigate any problems. However, the Delta IV Heavy has a configuration very similar to the Falcon 9 Heavy. The Delta uses even colder propellants, i.e. liquid hydrogen as well as liquid oxygen, and was first launched in 2004. So far there have been eight successful launches and one partial failure.

I think Space-X is simply going through the same process all rocket launch operators go through - spaceflight is not easy, or we would all be doing it!   

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