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#76 2008-01-11 12:58:55

mjsimon
Member
From: Lafayette, Indiana
Registered: 2008-01-07
Posts: 11

Re: COTS - status

Maybe this isn't due to COTS, but isn't reusable rockets one of the main points of the Falcon program.  I know stage 1 of Falcon 1 is supposed to be reusable, not sure about Falcon 9.

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#77 2008-01-11 13:30:06

cIclops
Member
Registered: 2005-06-16
Posts: 3,230

Re: COTS - status

Yes the first stage of Falcon 1 should be reusable, the rest is expendable. Both stages of Falcon 9 are designed for reuse. SpaceX has a COTS milestone with a demonstration F9 flight by the end of this year.

Kistler planned a fully reusable two stage rocket, and they got COTS funding for this but weren't able to complete their milestones.

Reuse is hard to do, it adds mass and complexity to a launcher, and therefore makes it more expensive.


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#78 2008-01-11 15:08:13

gaetanomarano
Member
From: Italy
Registered: 2006-05-06
Posts: 701

Re: COTS - status

Reuse is hard to do, it adds mass and complexity to a launcher, and therefore makes it more expensive.

it will be very hard to develop a reusable liquid propellents' rocket (since it's much more fragile than an empty SRB) but, when someone will succeed in the effort, a reusable rocket will be not so heavy nor complex and will be very cheap... just imagine if the Falcon-1 1st stage (about a $5M value) will be 10+ times reusable... each Falcon 1 launch may cost $1.5M + $0.5M = $2M only

.

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#79 2008-01-21 09:12:50

cIclops
Member
Registered: 2005-06-16
Posts: 3,230

Re: COTS - status

ATK releases first image of PlanetSpace COTS - 21 Jan 2008

By Rob Coppinger

Space Shuttle solid rocket booster provider Alliant Techsystems has released information and images of its proposed launcher for space services company PlanetSpace's Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) demonstration programme bid, after PlanetSpace was selected as a finalist by NASA for the agency's $175 million COTS space act agreement, to be awarded in February.

The three-stage ATK COTS launcher consists of, a first-stage with a 2.5-segment derivative of the Space Shuttle’s 4-segment Reusable Solid Rocket Motor (RSRM); an ATK Castor 120, used on the Lockheed Martin Athena's I and II variants and Orbital Sciences Taurus launch vehicles, for its second-stage; an ATK Castor 30 third-stage; and an Orbit Adjust Module, which has been flown on the Athena. ATK has been developing the Castor 30 internally for the last two years.

ATK states that its COTS launch vehicle can place up to 6,725kg (14,795lb) into Low Earth orbit, specifically for International Space Station missions; put 2,800kg into geosynchronous transfer orbit; 1885kg into a trans-lunar insertion and for Mars science missions, 1,360kg.

"A big advantage of the design is that it's modular in nature. We can fly the entire vehicle for a COTS-class mission, or we can fly a smaller payload by flying all but the RSRM first stage.  In fact, we already have three letters of intent from different customers for the small launch vehicle. We plan to fly the first small launch vehicle in September 2009, and launch our COTS demonstration vehicle in December 2010 [from Cape Canaveral]," says ATK advanced programmes' director, Joel Crook.

ATK claims that the performance capability for the initial COTS launch vehicle is nearly 25% greater  for GTO missions and almost 40% better for TLI missions, compared to the heavy version of a Boeing Delta II.

The company also expects an additional 709kg of payload capability for ISS missions by incorporating composite case and solid propellant upgrades into the two-and-a-half segment first-stage. Its launches could also "serve as a flying testbed for potential Ares I [crew launch vehicle] and Ares V [cargo launch vehicle] booster upgrades", says ATK.

Composite casing would save a lot of weight.


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#80 2008-01-31 07:24:53

SpaceNut
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From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 19,690

Re: COTS - status

The way the contract for COT's have gone thus far with Rkp being not able to meet the guidlines put into the contract to raise funding we were left with only the one company remaining SpaceX. Which has "successfully completed the Critical Design Review (CDR) for its first Falcon 9 / Dragon mission as part of the NASA Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) demonstration program. "

Of course Rkp has felt otherwise and has put up a fight thou the Government Accountability Office has ruled against themPolicy obstacles cleared for COTS as Nasa had wanted to reopen the contract to allow for others to compete for the Rkp funds.

PlanetSpace expects to learn of its fate soon around Feb. 8
T-Minus 216 hours and counting

The American-Canadian aeronautics company is working to launch a demonstration cargo spacecraft named the Silver Dart to low-earth orbit from Cape Breton by December 2009.

There are still 4 other companies also trying for this same money.

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#81 2008-01-31 10:26:13

cIclops
Member
Registered: 2005-06-16
Posts: 3,230

Re: COTS - status

Of course Rkp has felt otherwise and has put up a fight thou the Government Accountability Office has ruled against themPolicy obstacles cleared for COTS as Nasa had wanted to reopen the contract to allow for others to compete for the Rkp funds.

It was more than a feeling, it appeared to be a strategy to extract even more money from NASA despite their failure to convince investors. It's doubtful anyone would want to invest in RpK for fear of litigation.


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#82 2008-02-07 04:29:15

cIclops
Member
Registered: 2005-06-16
Posts: 3,230

Re: COTS - status

COTS milestones - from 2009 Budget request (5.9 Mb PDF)

SpaceX - Demo 1 Readiness Review (RR)  February 2008
SpaceX - Demo 1 Mission  September 2008
SpaceX - Demo 2 Mission  June 2009
SpaceX - Demo 3 Mission  September 2009

Will SpaceX make the first Demo flight? - they only have 8 months left


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#83 2008-02-13 03:24:57

cIclops
Member
Registered: 2005-06-16
Posts: 3,230

Re: COTS - status

SPACEX SUCCESSFULLY COMPLETES NASA PRELIMINARY DESIGN REVIEW FOR DRAGON SPACECRAFT MISSION TO APPROACH INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION

HAWTHORNE, CA – February 12, 2008 – Space Exploration Technologies Corp. (SpaceX) has completed the Preliminary Design Review (PDR) for the second Falcon 9 / Dragon demonstration under NASA’s Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) project. NASA representatives attended the event, held at SpaceX’s new headquarters in Hawthorne, California.

Under COTS, SpaceX will conduct three Falcon 9 / Dragon flights, demonstrating the ability to approach, berth, and ultimately deliver cargo to the International Space Station (ISS), and return cargo to Earth. The first COTS flight will demonstrate launch, operations over several orbits, On reentry and return to Earth.

During this second and much longer demonstration, the uncrewed Dragon spacecraft will approach within 10 kilometers of the ISS and hold its position. The primary objective of the four day long mission is to demonstrate Dragon’s communication and control system links to the ISS. According to the SpaceX plan, astronauts and ground controllers will conduct an extensive test of the two-way Dragon-ISS UHF band communications system, which will be essential to the third COTS demonstration mission. This system, being developed and qualified by SpaceX, includes transceiver equipment planned for installation on each Dragon Spacecraft and aboard the ISS. It will permit the ISS crew to monitor and operate the Dragon craft directly.

“Planning this mission required SpaceX to collaborate closely with ISS personnel and it went very well,” said Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX. “This is a working relationship that will be increasingly important as we move forward to meet NASA’s need for transport to and from the Space Station.”

Although these demonstrations are for cargo re-supply, SpaceX designed the Dragon spacecraft to transport up to seven astronauts to Earth orbit and back. “We have made substantial progress and are confident we can address the gap between Shuttle retirement and Orion operations,” said Gwynne Shotwell, SpaceX VP of Business Development. “We look forward to advancing with the crew-carrying Dragon configuration for NASA should they give the go-ahead.”

Other objectives for this second COTS demonstration include proof of navigation and maneuvering abilities, deployment and operation of solar arrays and thermal cooling systems, Dragon receiving GPS data from the ISS, and transmission of telemetry from Dragon to SpaceX Mission Control in Hawthorne via the Tracking and Data Relay Satellite System (TDRSS).

During the meeting, held on December 19, 2007, all comments and questions raised by NASA’s experts were addressed by the SpaceX design team. SpaceX continues its record of successfully meeting all COTS milestones to date on schedule.

Note that the Demo 1 flight for NASA has slipped to Q4 2008 (on SpaceX homepage)


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#84 2008-02-13 12:34:52

RedStreak
Member
From: Illinois
Registered: 2006-05-12
Posts: 541

Re: COTS - status

I have to like the simplicity of the Dragon capsule - for a small spacecraft using the station arm is a pretty good idea to ensure it will dock without damaging the station ala Progress into the late-Mir that one time.

If they feel confident enough to tackle the crew problem, all the more kudos to them if they can do it.  I'm sure Biglow with his modules will be watching SpaceX's progress.

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#85 2008-02-13 13:17:22

cIclops
Member
Registered: 2005-06-16
Posts: 3,230

Re: COTS - status

Dragon will need to close and hold at about 20m to be snagged by the SSRMS. It must have a very robust and ultra reliable manoeuvring system. ATV moves to a similar position before docking, an enormous amount of work went into the design and testing of its systems.


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#86 2008-02-13 15:30:27

RedStreak
Member
From: Illinois
Registered: 2006-05-12
Posts: 541

Re: COTS - status

Dragon will need to close and hold at about 20m to be snagged by the SSRMS. It must have a very robust and ultra reliable manoeuvring system. ATV moves to a similar position before docking, an enormous amount of work went into the design and testing of its systems.

So despite lacking an 'active docking system', Dragon will still need a fairly decent maneuvering system.  I imagine 20 meters is what most space agencies would qualify as 'perilously close' for comfort to the station.

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#87 2008-02-13 16:59:44

cIclops
Member
Registered: 2005-06-16
Posts: 3,230

Re: COTS - status

Indeed. ISS is a fragile thing and a multi ton spacecraft can do a lot of damage even at a slow impact velocity.


Let's go to Mars and far beyond -  triple NASA's budget !   #space channel !!    - videos !!!

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#88 2008-02-19 15:09:53

cIclops
Member
Registered: 2005-06-16
Posts: 3,230

Re: COTS - status

COTS_Approach.jpg

NASA announced at an audio news conference today that Orbital Sciences has been selected as the new partner with their Taurus II / Cygnus proposal. Orbital will demonstrate the system by the end of 2010.

There were thirteen different proposals from various companies that applied for the $170m of funding.

Orbital's press release


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#89 2008-02-19 18:09:37

RedStreak
Member
From: Illinois
Registered: 2006-05-12
Posts: 541

Re: COTS - status

So the would-be spacecraft contenders are 'Cygnus' and 'Dragon' now eh?

Hopefully one or the other will succeed.

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#90 2008-02-20 05:43:47

cIclops
Member
Registered: 2005-06-16
Posts: 3,230

Re: COTS - status

Swan v Dragon smile

Orbital's Cygnus is a basic cargo carrier for delivering pressurized and unpressurized cargo, apparently they have "concepts" for cargo return and crew. Dragon on the other hand is designed for both cargo and crew and can return both.

SpaceX have a faster schedule, their first Demo flight is Q4 this year, Orbital will demonstrate in Q4 2010.

It would be good to have both.


Let's go to Mars and far beyond -  triple NASA's budget !   #space channel !!    - videos !!!

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#91 2008-02-20 10:45:32

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 19,690

Re: COTS - status

While the Nasa decision to give the funds that would have been Kistler's to Orbital is to be lauded as a first rate choice, I would hope that Nasa also would indicate to all other lossers in the process that they should not give up.

NASA deals blow to Florida's spaceport dreams

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#92 2008-02-20 15:32:33

GCNRevenger
Member
From: Earth
Registered: 2003-10-14
Posts: 6,056

Re: COTS - status

Define looser... if your rocket will never work and never fly, I think giving up would be a responsible action.


"The power of accurate observation is often called cynicism by those that do not have it." - George Bernard Shaw

The glass is at 50% of capacity

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#93 2008-03-05 01:33:38

cIclops
Member
Registered: 2005-06-16
Posts: 3,230

Re: COTS - status

SpaceX manifest shows the first COTS demo flight delayed to 2009

NASA COTS – Demo 1  2009  Falcon 9  Cape Canaveral

NASA COTS – Demo 2 2009  Falcon 9  Cape Canaveral

No mention of this in any SpaceX press release.


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#94 2008-03-05 16:33:21

Brian H
Member
From: Vancouver Can.
Registered: 2008-03-05
Posts: 2

Re: COTS - status

Argh.  Pet peeve, here. :?  :x   

It's "loser" (rhymes with "user"), for a person or company.  "Looser" (rhymes with "juicer") means less tightly tied or bound, and is not a noun.  (Except in archaic usages, "Jove, looser of thunderbolts!". Way past your pay grade.)   And "losser" is not a word at all.

Elon Musk's other big venture, the Tesla Roadster, is back on track; he took personal delivery of P1 and has been driving it daily for a few weeks.  Founder Martin will take P2 shortly, and >800 more will be delivered this year.

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#95 2008-03-06 07:27:59

Yang Liwei Rocket
Member
Registered: 2004-03-03
Posts: 993

Re: COTS - status

I.E. Griffin tries to pump money into withering AltSpace companies in return for meaningless stuff.

You really think the communities are being so dishonest ?


'first steps are not for cheap, think about it...
did China build a great Wall in a day ?' ( Y L R newmars forum member )

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#96 2008-04-04 00:40:38

cIclops
Member
Registered: 2005-06-16
Posts: 3,230

Re: COTS - status

Rick Gilbrech (NASA ESMD) said at the House hearing 3 Apr 2008 that NASA had renegotiated SpaceX milestones because of technical problems that resulted in a slip their cargo demonstration flight by 6 months to March 2010.


Let's go to Mars and far beyond -  triple NASA's budget !   #space channel !!    - videos !!!

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#97 2008-04-04 06:16:37

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 19,690

Re: COTS - status

So now it is ok to look at milestones and to make changes but that was not the case for Kistler when it needed more time to find investment dollars.

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#98 2008-04-04 06:33:41

cIclops
Member
Registered: 2005-06-16
Posts: 3,230

Re: COTS - status

There is a big difference between financial and technical milestones. Kistler were given extra time to find investors but they couldn't find any. If the market wasn't willing to take a risk on Kistler why should NASA take on even more of their financial risk?

NASA have a great deal of technical expertise, they ought to understand the technical issues SpaceX have and know if they are solvable. SpaceX won't be able to miss a technical milestone either.


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#99 2008-04-04 11:33:51

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 19,690

Re: COTS - status

I thought that the whole idea on going with COTS is to not rely on NASA's help to be self reliant.

From what I can tell from kistler pages, there did not seem to be any technical issues as there product was being built as they went.

So what is there, is there any hint to the problem?

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#100 2008-04-17 12:43:05

cIclops
Member
Registered: 2005-06-16
Posts: 3,230

Re: COTS - status

All-commercial ISS Resupply

Apr 17, 2008

By Frank Morring, Jr./Aerospace Daily & Defense Report

NASA will not ask Congress for permission to continue buying cargo space on Russian Progress resupply vehicles for the International Space Station (ISS) after 2011, opting instead for an all-commercial approach under its nascent Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) program.

Administrator Michael Griffin has sent a letter to Capitol Hill specifically excluding Progress from a request to continue using Russian Soyuz capsules to deliver crew to the ISS after the shuttle retires in 2010. Griffin had no immediate comment, but William Gerstenmaier, associate administrator for space operations, said April 16 that NASA believes one of the commercial vehicles in development under the COTS program will be able to meet its ISS-supply needs.

Until a COTS vehicle is available, Gerstenmaier said in an interview, NASA plans to rely on prepositioned spares to be sent up before the shuttle retires. Two "contingency flights" to the ISS are planned among the 11 remaining shuttle flights to deliver station spares too large to get to orbit on any other vehicle, he said.

"We recognized that there may be a little bit of a delay in the delivery of those [commercial] services," Gerstenmaier said. "Our plan is that if we have a delay we would live off the spares we flew up on shuttle and take some limited degradation in space station capabilities until those commercial services come on line."

So now it's up to SpaceX and Orbital to deliver the goods, literally.


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