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#1 2018-02-17 11:52:45

Oldfart1939
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Registered: 2016-11-26
Posts: 1,800

NASA certifies Falcon 9 for Science Missions!

In an article published earlier today, SpaceX's falcon 9 has been deemed certified for medium-risk science missions. Here's the link to SpaceNews:

http://spacenews.com/nasa-certifies-fal … -missions/

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#2 2018-02-17 14:28:23

Void
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Registered: 2011-12-29
Posts: 3,011

Re: NASA certifies Falcon 9 for Science Missions!

Some numbers for Falcon Heavy that really make my head spin are that if fully reused, the cost of launch is 90 Million, if fully unreused, then 150 Million.  The nearest competitor said to be 400 Million a launch.

Falcon Heavy costing 500 Million to develop, where SLS costing 10 Billion so far.  (If I have the correct numbers).

I know we are talking Falcon 9 here, but I have to suppose that Falcon 9 has even better numbers.

Without some unusual factor appearing, I cannot see how SpaceX and entities who manage to do similar things, will not be the future of almost all future space flight eventually.


I like people who criticize angels dancing on a pinhead.  I also like it when angels dance on my pinhead.

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#3 2018-02-17 15:17:54

SpaceNut
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From: New Hampshire
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Posts: 17,741

Re: NASA certifies Falcon 9 for Science Missions!

The cost of Space x has to do with red tape removal for process and documentation as well as the high level of standing army plus engineering costs. The reuseability of design just further reduces the cost for a launch.

Could Boeing or lockheed do the same sure but that also means adopting the methods to achieve plus a redesign of current rockets to which Lockheed is ahead of Boeing for this.

Sure would be nice to see a Human certified Dragon on top of the Falcon 9.

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#4 2018-02-17 16:57:53

Oldfart1939
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Registered: 2016-11-26
Posts: 1,800

Re: NASA certifies Falcon 9 for Science Missions!

It's really nice that SpaceX managed to design and build a true heavy lift vehicle (Falcon Heavy) in half the time projected by the Augustine commission, and for 1/30 the cost.

Here's what Robert Zubrin has to say about FH and what it means to space travel:

http://www.weeklystandard.com/what-the- … ce9cd02e34

Last edited by Oldfart1939 (2018-02-17 16:58:25)

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#5 2018-02-17 21:13:08

SpaceNut
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From: New Hampshire
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Re: NASA certifies Falcon 9 for Science Missions!

They followed the models that were available Delta family of rockets as well as the Atlas and improved on them to make them more off the shelf ...

Factural content not politics....In November 2007, the Obama presidential campaign released a policy document delaying NASA's Constellation program by five years to fund education programs. The space policy of the Barack Obama administration was announced by U.S. President Barack Obama on April 15, 2010, at a major space policy speech at Kennedy Space Center and without this change we would not have had any Falcon's at all.

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#6 2018-02-17 22:26:21

Void
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Registered: 2011-12-29
Posts: 3,011

Re: NASA certifies Falcon 9 for Science Missions!

Well we can be thankful for the hard working people and how things appear to be working in a fantastic direction.

I was pleased that Mr. Zubrin made all kinds of sense to me.  If I recall, he used to be Mars only, no Moon, but this new capability has apparently caused him to go with the flow more.

I pasted that article you brought in here (O.F.) because I want to quote a section:
http://www.weeklystandard.com/what-the- … ce9cd02e34
Quote:

This is just the beginning. SpaceX is developing the means to allow them to refuel the booster second stage after it reaches orbit. Once this technology is in hand, the Falcon’s payload to the Moon or Mars will triple, giving it a capability one and a half times greater than the Saturn V. With such a system, the entire inner solar system will be wide open to exploration and development.

I am tempted to wonder if down the road, water from the Moon and Carbon from the Earth could be treated to create fuel for Spacecraft in a high Earth/Moon orbital location.  That might leverage the capabilities even more.

Last edited by Void (2018-02-17 22:31:57)


I like people who criticize angels dancing on a pinhead.  I also like it when angels dance on my pinhead.

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#7 2018-02-17 22:37:29

Void
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Registered: 2011-12-29
Posts: 3,011

Re: NASA certifies Falcon 9 for Science Missions!

I posted this in two other sections for other purposes.  Here I am looking at the article for the concern that the area where BFR is likely to land may (Just maybe) be a bit unsafe because it looks like the Ice/Regolith also includes significant pore space.

http://www.planetary.org/blogs/guest-bl … -mars.html
Quote:

Next, we just had to estimate the thickness of that blanketing geologic unit. Fortunately there are a ton of gaps in the middle of it (like shown above), so we simply measured the top and bottom of each of those gaps for our depth-to-reflector values. When we plugged these values into the calculation for the dielectric constant and averaged over the entire area, we obtained a value of 2.8.


This value is lower than what is expected for pure water ice. Ideally, pure, solid water ice would have a dielectric of 3.0-3.2. In reality, we often have different materials in the mix. Rock, water ice, and porosity (i.e,. air) are in a three way tug-of-war over the dielectric constant result. Porosity pulls it down from 3, towards 1, and lithic (rock) content or dust brings it up towards 6–8. My work used a handy ternary diagram from Bramson et al. (2015), to come up with a possible combination of material that is consistent with our result. This amounted to a value of 50–80% water ice, 0–30% rocky content, and 15–50% porosity. So, think of a mostly icy but somewhat porous subsurface, with a bit of dust and lithic material mixed in.
This result implies a volume of water ice around 1.2 times the volume of Lake Superior. This is huge! And when you combine this result with work done by Bramson et al., 2015, which found a similar composition for the subsurface in Arcadia Planitia, it paints a picture of a northern plains rich in subsurface water ice, with widespread areas where these deposits are tens of metres thick.

The porosity of 15-50% scares me when I think about a BFR thumping down on Arcadia Planitia.

Perhaps SpaceX should offer discount trips to Mars with Falcon Heavy, for any group willing to provide a probe that can help figure out further what is the nature of the porosity, and of course these would be scouting missions before BFR.

Last edited by Void (2018-02-17 22:46:17)


I like people who criticize angels dancing on a pinhead.  I also like it when angels dance on my pinhead.

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#8 2018-02-18 13:20:15

Oldfart1939
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Registered: 2016-11-26
Posts: 1,800

Re: NASA certifies Falcon 9 for Science Missions!

Void-
It would only make sense for a pioneer mission using this smaller and more Spartan approach to the first Mars mission. A lot needs to be determined from the "boots on the ground" approach. I still cannot support a 2 man only mission, though. Too many imponderable factors there: mental stability, possible injury or team member illness? Smallest I can support is either 3 or 4 member team. I am on the record on this website as supporting a team of 7 or 10 Mars pioneers, but not with the FH architecture.

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#9 2018-02-18 17:56:36

Void
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Registered: 2011-12-29
Posts: 3,011

Re: NASA certifies Falcon 9 for Science Missions!

I agree for the most part, but this section being about unmanned probes.

I will suggest that at the minimum they should try to identify a rock "Island" or "Outcropping" to land an automated BFR on.

Then if it were possible, to have the cargo hatch open then a rover might be lowered on a tether to do an inspection of the icy areas.

Maybe.

Last edited by Void (2018-02-18 17:56:58)


I like people who criticize angels dancing on a pinhead.  I also like it when angels dance on my pinhead.

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#10 2018-02-18 19:31:05

SpaceNut
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Posts: 17,741

Re: NASA certifies Falcon 9 for Science Missions!

I agree with you Oldfart1939 that a 4 manned crew is the numbers to go for on mars surface and they can be delivered if need be 2 by 2 to the surface if that helps the mass for landing plus take off.

The trouble with the FH is its diameter as this makes the rocket taller than it should be and when we want to stack a fuel tank on the top its just not going to work when we need to join a booster onto an assembly of modules for mars.

Edit: man to manned for gender nuetrality meaning body count of crew members present.....

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#11 2018-02-19 09:00:10

Void
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Registered: 2011-12-29
Posts: 3,011

Re: NASA certifies Falcon 9 for Science Missions!

I also agree that you guys appear to know what you are talking about.  It would be nice if it could be done.

However working within the framework of what SpaceX says it will do, and seeing that this section is for unmanned probes, I tried to find an automated method to compensate for the dangers the porosity of the ice possibly might present.

Oh by the way Spacenut.  It is very hard to use a gender neutral word such as "Un-Crewed" or "Un crewed", a hyphen or space.

The spell checker changes it to something not quite appropriate. smile

If it were true however, perhaps it would be an innocent crew.


I like people who criticize angels dancing on a pinhead.  I also like it when angels dance on my pinhead.

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#12 2018-02-19 13:08:20

SpaceNut
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From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 17,741

Re: NASA certifies Falcon 9 for Science Missions!

So far the track record of high cost payloads are not so good for falcon 9 which is still in question but maybe that will change for an unmanned probes launching on the heavy. Since we are looking at that heavier payloads for mission critical times, distances and or durations of the probes fight destination. These type of probes are for the most part, are a one time build to obtain science informaton that we do not have.
Sure being able to loft up to the 60 plus ton payload leaves plenty of design food for thought to fit in what ever payload shroud will be possible for use.

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#13 2018-02-19 13:20:59

Oldfart1939
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Registered: 2016-11-26
Posts: 1,800

Re: NASA certifies Falcon 9 for Science Missions!

SpaceNut-
Only a single launch pad explosion on high value payloads in all the Falcon 9 launches. The earlier in-flight failure was traced to a part failure and corrected. Subsequently, the modified loading protocols seem to have addressed the problem correctly.

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#14 2018-02-19 14:03:38

SpaceNut
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From: New Hampshire
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Posts: 17,741

Re: NASA certifies Falcon 9 for Science Missions!

That does appear so as Space X has proceeded with each event, and with that what are we planning for large mass missions?

Nasa is sort of going through some paynes as they look towards manned missions and not so much science. Granted a launch cost reduction of 200 plus million is a boone but Nasa would only eat it up in probe design....

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#15 2018-02-19 14:17:29

Void
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Registered: 2011-12-29
Posts: 3,011

Re: NASA certifies Falcon 9 for Science Missions!

I am butting in but I am also going back on track per Falcon 9 for Science Missions.

https://www.wired.com/story/watch-space … atellites/
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Starlink_ … n)#History
Quote:

Extending to use beyond Earth[edit]
Longer-term, SpaceX intends to develop and deploy a version of the satellite communication system that would be used on Mars. In the mid-term, SpaceX is interested in the satcomm system on Earth generating revenue that would be helpful in providing capital for the company's Mars transport project.[7]

The satellites would be mass-produced, at much lower cost per unit of capability than existing satellites. Musk said "We’re going to try and do for satellites what we’ve done for rockets."[32] "In order to revolutionize space, we have to address both satellites and rockets."[5] "Smaller satellites are crucial to lowering the cost of space-based Internet and communications."[8]

So Richard Branson is in the competition.  Good.

Two space entrepreneurs announced Internet satellite ventures in the same week. In addition to SpaceX CEO Elon Musk announcing this project, serial-entrepreneur Richard Branson announced an investment in OneWeb, a similar constellation with approximately 700 satellites that has already procured communication frequency licenses for their broadcast spectrum.[8][23]

They also intend to offer a generic version of the devices for science missions.  I am looking for that reference.

OK, here we go:
https://www.revolvy.com/main/index.php?s=SpaceX satellite constellation&item_type=topic
Quote:

SpaceX has plans to also sell satellites that use the same satellite bus and these satellites may be used for scientific or exploratory purposes.[5

So, I don't know how good those satellites might be at gaining more information about Mars, but it is possible they could be applied to it.  For instance, perhaps to partially pay for a BFR mission, they could lift some of those to orbit, and cast them out with ion thruster systems.  Or they might even carry them part way to Mars, and cast them out with ion thrusters.

Just a thought.  Who knows.

Interruption completed.

Last edited by Void (2018-02-19 14:35:17)


I like people who criticize angels dancing on a pinhead.  I also like it when angels dance on my pinhead.

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#16 2018-02-20 11:07:57

Void
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Registered: 2011-12-29
Posts: 3,011

Re: NASA certifies Falcon 9 for Science Missions!

This is interesting but it makes me feel stupid also.  I did not think of them using a net.  Those arms are to hold a net.

An illustration in this article:
https://www.reddit.com/r/space/comments … ver_their/

https://www.teslarati.com/spacex-fairin … very-boat/
Fairing-grabber-2-Reddit-user-vshie-e1513734085764-1024x658.jpg

Last edited by Void (2018-02-20 11:10:44)


I like people who criticize angels dancing on a pinhead.  I also like it when angels dance on my pinhead.

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#17 2018-02-20 12:27:21

RobertDyck
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From: Winnipeg, Canada
Registered: 2002-08-20
Posts: 5,876
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Re: NASA certifies Falcon 9 for Science Missions!

From the first link Void provided above...
lu0m9oh2uv501.gif
Wouldn't it be easier to add an air bag and just splash down in the ocean? I mean, if it has a parafoil (rectangular parachute) then it should be slow enough to splash down without damage. Why not just fish it out of the water with a fishing trawler? They already have one for Dragon.

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#18 2018-02-20 13:57:01

Oldfart1939
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Registered: 2016-11-26
Posts: 1,800

Re: NASA certifies Falcon 9 for Science Missions!

I suspect keeping this expensive hardware out of water is of importance? I've heard numbers that the fairing is worth between $5 Million and $ 7 Million.

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#19 2018-02-20 19:29:38

SpaceNut
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Re: NASA certifies Falcon 9 for Science Missions!

Falcon 9’s nose shroud jettison from the rocket around three minutes after liftoff once it reaches space.

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#20 2018-02-20 20:27:13

RobertDyck
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From: Winnipeg, Canada
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Re: NASA certifies Falcon 9 for Science Missions!

Another question: why is the interior so complicated? I thought a fairing is just an aerodynamic shell to protect the payload against supersonic and hypersonic air stream during launch. Why the panels tiling the interior? What are the gas canisters? The fairing needs a ejection mechanism, is that it? Does it really need anything more than explosive bolts and perhaps a spring to separate the shell? What's the round thing on the fairing to the left of the Roadster in this image?
aHR0cDovL3d3dy5zcGFjZS5jb20vaW1hZ2VzL2kvMDAwLzA3Mi84NDkvb3JpZ2luYWwvc3BhY2V4X2ZhbGNvbmhlYXZ5X3Rlc2xhcm9hZHN0ZXIwMi1sZy5qcGc=

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#21 2018-02-20 21:06:36

Oldfart1939
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Registered: 2016-11-26
Posts: 1,800

Re: NASA certifies Falcon 9 for Science Missions!

Robert-

This could be a form of insulation? At the rapid rate of acceleration and the near hypersonic velocity the Falcon reaches, there could be significant aerodynamic heating. I'm certain the paying customers don't want their satellites barbecued.

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#22 2018-02-20 21:44:01

GW Johnson
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From: McGregor, Texas USA
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Posts: 3,760
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Re: NASA certifies Falcon 9 for Science Missions!

There's only a little ascent heating,  because these rockets are only doing about Mach 2 at about 80,000 feet.  Maybe Mach 3 at over 100,000 feet.  The air (and the heat transfer coefficients) is getting pretty thin up there.  Effective air temperatures driving the heat transfer vary crudely as speed squared.  Actually,  it's more complicated,  but so what?

If the speeds were hypersonic (greater than Mach 5) down near 80,000 feet,  the shockwaves from the nose cones of the side boosters would cut the aluminum center core apart in mere seconds.  Hypersonic shock-impingement heating is very high and very,  very dangerous.  It almost cut the tail off an X-15-A-II at Mach 6 speeds and 120,000 feet,  from the spike shock of a scramjet test article fitted to the ventral fin stub.  Pete Knight flew that one in 1968.  He reached Mach 6.7 peak.  The photos of the damage to an Inconel-X airframe structure are horrific.  I posted some of them over at exrocketman.blogspot.com.

The shroud provides structural protection from windblast,  and acoustic protection from the super-high noise and related vibrations.  The insulation is sound insulation,  not so much thermal protection insulation. 

I don't know what the gas bottles are for,  unless they are using cold gas thrusters to separate and jettison the shroud.  They already are using cold gas thrusters for attitude control on the first stage boosters they have been recovering. 

GW

Last edited by GW Johnson (2018-02-20 21:52:17)


GW Johnson
McGregor,  Texas

"There is nothing as expensive as a dead crew,  especially one dead from a bad management decision"

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