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Old 04-12-2014, 01:08 PM   #1826
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I think the actual speed max and capabilities are still classified
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Old 04-14-2014, 04:14 PM   #1827
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It's now official! SpaceX signed a 20-year lease for Launch Pad 39A on Kennedy Space Center. Their plan is to launch a Falcon Heavy from the pad in 2015 and a manned launch in 2016. While construction work to ready the pad will take place, SpaceX intends to preserve some of the historical features of the pad.
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Old 04-16-2014, 04:55 PM   #1828
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Old 04-16-2014, 08:53 PM   #1829
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Where's Gracie when you need her?
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Old 04-20-2014, 03:24 PM   #1830
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Seriously Russia, another one?
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Old 10-31-2014, 09:40 AM   #1831
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Sorry I've let this thread fall silent. I'll update it either today or tomorrow.
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Old 11-03-2014, 09:19 AM   #1832
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The first Orion capsule has been completed. Orion is apart of the SLS, or Space Launch System, which is meant to replace the Space Shuttle Program and take humans beyond low earth orbit.

Also, the rocket that will take Orion on its first test flight is now in Kennedy Space Center's VAB. The rocket is a Delta IV Heavy.

Orion is set to launch December 4, 2014. The unmanned flight will take Orion farther than any spacecraft has been in 40 years. The flight is planned to orbit the Earth twice over 4.5 hours.
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Old 11-05-2014, 06:40 PM   #1833
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Post mortem for CRS-3 Antares notes turbopump failure



Engineers are methodically working through stacks of data related to last week’s failure of the CRS-3/OrB-3 Antares launch vehicle. Orbital managers have noted that early data points to the failure of a turbopump on one of Antares’ AJ-26 engines as the leading reason the rocket failed just seconds after launch. The company are now working towards “upgrading” the propulsion system with a new engine, ready for 2016.

Antares Failure:

Antares – along with her Cygnus spacecraft bound for the International Space Station (ISS) – were lost seconds after launch during Thursday’s mission from Pad 0A at the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport on Wallops Island, Virginia.

The rocket made a nominal ascent off the pad, as Antares conducted her designed “Baumgartner Maneuver” – a subtle sideways step to ease the vehicle away from the close proximity of the Transporter/Erector/Launcher (TEL) – and ascended into the night sky.


Once clear of the pad, the first sign of trouble was a distinct change to the appearance of the plume generated by her AJ-26 engines at T+14 seconds – suggesting oxidizer starvation in at least one engine – prior to the aft of the vehicle exploding a second later.





Additional videos of varying quality showed a “ghost image” or visual artifact on the footage, which may provide extra insight into what transpired.


An enhanced and cropped view, as seen in this .gif, was created on L2. This imagery was subsequently requested – and handed over – to Orbital managers to be used in their investigation.


The next event was sadly obvious, as propulsion was lost and the vehicle fell in flames, exploding near the pad from where she had just departed.


The Flight Termination System (FTS) was activated just moments prior to the vehicle impacting the ground.


It is understood the FTS command was successfully sent via the Range Safety system that employs fully steerable antennas, which track the rocket, as well as omni antennas which radiate in all directions. This ensures the rocket receives the command.





This command results in the puncturing of the tank domes on the first stage and the motor dome on the second stage, causing the depressurization on each stage and rendering the vehicle non-propulsive.


The root cause is being worked by the Antares launch failure Accident Investigation Board (AIB), which is being led by Orbital under the oversight of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The board includes former Space Shuttle Program manager Wayne Hale and other industry experts.


“The Investigation Board (AIB) is making good progress in determining the primary cause of last week’s failure. A preliminary review of telemetry and video data has been conducted and substantial debris from the Antares rocket and its Cygnus payload has been collected and examined,” noted Orbital on Wednesday.


“While the work of the AIB continues, preliminary evidence and analysis conducted to date points to a probable turbopump-related failure in one of the two Aerojet Rocketdyne AJ26 stage one main engines. As a result, the use of these engines for the Antares vehicle likely will be discontinued.”
It was later noted that the AJ-26 could still be used if they were proven to be completely flight-worthy.

The Engines:

Clearly, a failure of this type was always going to place focus on the AJ-26 engines, although the investigation has also been looking at all first stage propulsion items, such as the feedlines that supply the AJ-26’s with their lifeblood.



The AJ-26-22 main engine is a rebuilt version of Soviet NK-33, originally intended for the massive Soviet N-1 launch vehicle. The engine is fed with a LOX/RP combination, producing 3,265kN of thrust at Sea Level.

Around 40 of these engines were purchased by American company Aerojet in the mid-1990s, before refurbishing and modifying the engines under contract with Orbital. In total, 200 NK-33 engines were built and 575 engine tests conducted, totalling more than 100,000 seconds of test time.

Additional media focus on the engines is likely related to a couple of undesirable events on the test stand.


A previous failure of an AJ-26 occurred in June, 2011 – when the fourth Antares engine caught fire on the E-1 Test Stand. The fire was believed to have been caused by a kerosene fuel leak in an engine manifold, with the root cause was subsequently determined to be stress corrosion cracking of the 40-year old metal.





Additional information acquired via L2 adds that the first Stennis failure occurred in the highest pressure part of the fuel system just downstream of the turbopump. The pump over-sped and the chamber was starved of coolant in the ~170ms between the event and shutdown.


The most recent failure occured in May of this year, when an AJ-26 – set to fly on a future Antares mission – failed on the Stennis test stand mid-way through its burn.


Orbital conducted a complete review of the failure and deemed the current engine stock as safe to use.


The company never released any specific information into the test stand failure, although a turbopump was also believed to be the root cause.


Orbital has been looking to change the engines for the first stage of their Antares rocket for some time, with evaluations into a range of RD- engines ongoing, at least since August when the company was believed to be looking at the RD-181 (L2).



A switch to the RD-193 now appears to be favored – although Orbital officials do not wish to confirm the engine at this time. The new engine will debut on the Antares in 2016. In the meantime, one or two launches of Cygnus will take place on a different launch vehicle, possibly the Falcon 9 – among other options.


Orbital management noted they are talking to three launch providers, two in the US and one in Europe. There are 15 configurations of the vehicles they are in discussion with, for Cygnus launches next year.


“Orbital plans an early introduction of its previously selected Antares propulsion system upgrade in 2016,” added the company. “This will be preceded by one or two non-Antares launches of the company’s Cygnus cargo spacecraft to the ISS in 2015-2016, employing the spacecraft’s compatibility with various launch vehicles and its flexibility to accommodate heavier cargo loads as launcher capacity permits.”


Damage to the Pad:

Although the TV coverage of the failure showed a large explosion and multiple fires at the pad complex, the critical hardware appears to have endured the unscheduled return of Antares relatively well.





A photo taken of the impact site – after most of the critical Antares hardware had been removed – showed most of the infrastructure to be intact.


Although a lot of work will be required to bring the pad back up to launch operations, it is unlikely to be the main schedule driver for any hopeful return of Antares to the pad.


“The overall findings indicate the major elements of the launch complex infrastructure, such as the pad and fuel tanks, avoided serious damage, although some repairs will be necessary,” noted Orbital after an initial assessment.




“After up close visual inspections by the safety team, it still appears the launch site itself avoided major damage. There is some evidence of damage to piping that runs between the fuel and commodity storage vessels and the launch mount, but no evidence of significant damage to either the storage vessels or launch mount.”

Some rocket hardware remains at the site, which is being collected and sent for secure storage at Wallops for the investigation team to take a closer look.

“Based on initial sweeps conducted by an Orbital safety team, it appears a significant amount of debris remains on the site and it is likely substantial hardware evidence will be available to aid in determining root cause of the Antares launch failure,” added Orbital.

“Some of the Cygnus cargo has also been found and will be retrieved as soon as we have clearance to do so to see if any survived intact.”

Antares Return:

With Cygnus now expected to ride on an different launch vehicle next year, her return to an upgraded Antares won’t be until 2016.

The immediate requirements of Orbital’s CRS obligations resulted in the development of a comprehensive plan to maintain the cargo supply line between Earth and the International Space Station, fulfilling Orbital’s commitment to NASA for the delivery of supplies.



The CRS-3 Cygnus was carrying 2,215 kilograms (4,883 lb) of cargo – with an additional 81 kilograms (179 lb) of packaging.

This cargo included 727 kilograms (1600 lb) of scientific equipment and 748 kilograms (1650 lb) of food and supplies for the crew. Around 637 kilograms (1400 lb) of the mass was spares and hardware for the station; mostly for the US segment but including around 30 kilograms (66 lb) for Japan’s modules.

A further 66 kilograms (146 lb) of hardware was being carried for the astronauts’ EVA equipment. The remaining 37 kilograms (82 lb) of cargo was computer equipment.

“Orbital is taking decisive action to fulfill our commitments to NASA in support of safe and productive operations of the Space Station. While last week’s Antares failure was very disappointing to all of us, the company is already implementing a contingency plan to overcome this setback,” noted Mr. David W. Thompson, Orbital’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer.

“We intend to move forward safely but also expeditiously to put our CRS cargo program back on track and to accelerate the introduction of our upgraded Antares rocket.”

On the NASA side, work to change some of SpaceX’s SpX-5/CRS-5 Dragon cargo – which is deemed as time-sensitive for the Station – is also being evaluated.


The changes may impact on the December 9 launch date for Dragon’s ride on the Falcon 9 v1.1 – however, schedule information shows no change to NET (No Earlier Than) target at this time.
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Old 11-12-2014, 06:06 PM   #1834
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At NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, the agency's completed Orion spacecraft begins its trip from the Launch Abort System Facility to Launch Complex 37 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. After arrival at the launch pad, United Launch Alliance engineers and technicians will lift Orion and mount it atop its Delta IV Heavy rocket. Orion is the exploration spacecraft designed to carry astronauts to destinations not yet explored by humans, including an asteroid and Mars. It will have emergency abort capability, sustain the crew during space travel and provide safe re-entry from deep space return velocities. The first unpiloted flight test of Orion is scheduled to launch Dec. 4, 2014 atop a United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy rocket, and in 2018 on NASA’s Space Launch System rocket.












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Old 11-12-2014, 06:19 PM   #1835
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Damn those are big pictures.
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Old 11-13-2014, 02:21 PM   #1836
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So I know it's not NASA, but how about the ESA and Philae landing on that comet? Pretty damn cool. Hopefully it gives us some more insight to the creation of the universe.

http://www.esa.int/spaceinimages/Images/2014/11/Welcome_to_a_comet

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Old 11-13-2014, 03:47 PM   #1837
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Nice...thank-you
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Old 11-13-2014, 04:24 PM   #1838
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They messed up the landing and the probe will die in 60 hours apparently
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Old 11-13-2014, 05:27 PM   #1839
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ESA gets a huge pat on the back from me. What they did was no easy feat and they made history with that probe.

However, like SIM Curly said, it's obvious that there's still some work to do for ESA. As this probe will most likely die in a few days and become nothing but metal on a comet.

For those who don't know, the Philae probe did not land at all where ESA had planned. The harpoons and ice screws in Philae's landing gear malfunctioned and did not deploy when Philae touched the planned landing spot. Because of this, Philae bounced and drifted for two hours. Then Philae tried to land again. Unfortunately, its landing gear malfuntioned again causing Philae to bounce and drift for another 7 minutes.

After 7 minutes, two of it's landing legs managed to finally grab the ground and Philae landed in a location on the comet only known as "B". Unfortunately, Philae's final location is in the permanent shadow of a cliff. Philae's battery can only last 64 hours on it's own internal power without having to recharge using it's solar panels. As we know, Philae's in a permanent shadow. Therefore there is no way it can absorb enough power to recharge.

Philae has 10 experiments it was tasked to complete. Which included drilling into the surface of the comet. However, data suggests that Philae is only anchored to the surface of the comet with two of its legs and that its third leg is not even touching the surface of the comets. Because of this, ESA is too scared to drill into the surface in fear that the drill will cause the probe to tip and fall onto it's side.

This is rocket science. And it's not easy. Obviously not a good day for ESA, but there's always tomorrow. Especially for such a small space program.
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Old 11-13-2014, 05:35 PM   #1840
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CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. – At Cape Canaveral Air Force Station's Launch Complex 37, United Launch Alliance engineers and technicians prepare to lift the agency's Orion spacecraft for mounting atop its Delta IV Heavy rocket. Orion is the exploration spacecraft designed to carry astronauts to destinations not yet explored by humans, including an asteroid and Mars. It will have emergency abort capability, sustain the crew during space travel and provide safe re-entry from deep space return velocities. The first unpiloted flight test of Orion is scheduled to launch Dec. 4, 2014 atop a United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy rocket, and in 2018 on NASA’s Space Launch System rocket.










CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. – At Cape Canaveral Air Force Station's Launch Complex 37, United Launch Alliance engineers and technicians mate the agency's Orion spacecraft to its Delta IV Heavy rocket
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Old 11-13-2014, 06:53 PM   #1841
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Originally Posted by Overflow View Post
ESA gets a huge pat on the back from me. What they did was no easy feat and they made history with that probe.

However, like SIM Curly said, it's obvious that there's still some work to do for ESA. As this probe will most likely die in a few days and become nothing but metal on a comet.

For those who don't know, the Philae probe did not land at all where ESA had planned. The harpoons and ice screws in Philae's landing gear malfunctioned and did not deploy when Philae touched the planned landing spot. Because of this, Philae bounced and drifted for two hours. Then Philae tried to land again. Unfortunately, its landing gear malfuntioned again causing Philae to bounce and drift for another 7 minutes.

After 7 minutes, two of it's landing legs managed to finally grab the ground and Philae landed in a location on the comet only known as "B". Unfortunately, Philae's final location is in the permanent shadow of a cliff. Philae's battery can only last 64 hours on it's own internal power without having to recharge using it's solar panels. As we know, Philae's in a permanent shadow. Therefore there is no way it can absorb enough power to recharge.

Philae has 10 experiments it was tasked to complete. Which included drilling into the surface of the comet. However, data suggests that Philae is only anchored to the surface of the comet with two of its legs and that its third leg is not even touching the surface of the comets. Because of this, ESA is too scared to drill into the surface in fear that the drill will cause the probe to tip and fall onto it's side.

This is rocket science. And it's not easy. Obviously not a good day for ESA, but there's always tomorrow. Especially for such a small space program.
I hadn't heard that yet, what a bummer. Great info though, thanks.
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Old 11-20-2014, 03:45 PM   #1842
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Philae falls silent: European comet lander goes to sleep as its power runs out

Nov. 14, 2014 — "I'm feeling a bit tired, did you get all my data? I might take a nap..."

And with that, the European Space Agency's (ESA) Philae lander, the first probe to land on a comet, went to sleep.

The status update, posted on Twitter by its mission team on Friday evening (Nov. 14), signaled the likely end for the probe. With its batteries depleted and not enough sunlight reaching its solar panels to recharge, the Philae lander fell into an "idle mode," with all of its science instruments and most of its systems shut down.

"[It] performed magnificently under tough conditions, and we can be fully proud of the incredible scientific success Philae has delivered," said Stephan Ulamec, the lander's manager, from the European Space Operations Center in Darmstadt, Germany.

Contact with Philae was lost at 7:36 p.m. EST (0036 GMT Nov. 15), shortly before communications were expected to cut off as the probe's parent spacecraft and relay to Earth, Rosetta, flew below the horizon of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko's horizon.



"My life on a comet has just begun, Rosetta. I will tell you more about my new home, Comet 67P soon... zzzzz," the lander "wrote" on Twitter.

But no further contact will be coming unless more sunlight falls on Philae's solar panels to generate enough power to recharge its batteries to wake it up.

After touching down on the comet Wednesday (Nov. 12), the three-legged spacecraft bounced twice as the result of its landing thruster and harpoons failing to fire. It came to rest in the shadow of a cliff, which mostly blocked the sun from shining on its solar panels.

In an last-ditch attempt to improve the lander's chances, mission controllers on Friday sent commands to rotate its body, to which the solar panels are fixed. The hope is that the maneuver may expose more of the panels to sunlight.

"There is some hope that at some stage when we're closer to the sun that Philae wakes up again," Ulamac said. "But we need to be very lucky that this happens."

Before falling silent, Philae relayed all of its science data to Rosetta for transmission back to Earth. The information may include the analysis of the first samples collected by the lander's drill, which was activated on Friday.



Rosetta’s OSIRIS narrow-angle camera captured this parting shot of the Philae lander after the two probes separated. (ESA)

The data may include the signs of water and organics that could have given rise to life on Earth, a major objective of the mission.

That goal will go on even if the lander is never heard from again. Rosetta will continue to study the comet from orbit as the icy-rocky body continues on its journey toward the sun. Rosetta is expected to continue observations through the end of 2015.

"S'ok Philae, I've got it from here for now," Rosetta "wrote" on Twitter Friday.

The orbiter will continue to listen for a signal from Philae, even though the chance of re-contact is slim.

"We can only hope that as we approach the sun, maybe in August if we do not have too much dust or a huge coma blocking the sun, perhaps there would be a chance that at some point we could come back and at least see how the lander's doing," said Valentina Lommatsch, a member of the lander control center team in Cologne. "So cross your fingers, or press your thumbs if you are German, perhaps we will hear something from the lander again."
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Old 11-20-2014, 03:50 PM   #1843
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SAN DIEGO, Calif. – Ground support equipment for use during an alternate recovery method of the Orion crew module after its first flight test, is being prepared for loading onto the USNS Salvor, a salvage ship, at Naval Base San Diego in California. Before launch of Orion on a Delta IV Heavy rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, NASA, Lockheed Martin and U.S. Navy personnel will head out to sea in the USS Anchorage and the USNS Salvor and wait for splashdown of the Orion crew module in the Pacific Ocean. The Ground Systems Development and Operations Program will lead the recovery efforts.





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Old 11-21-2014, 12:27 AM   #1844
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great stuff ty
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Old 12-02-2014, 01:57 PM   #1845
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http://www.cnet.com/uk/news/nasa-get...untdown-clock/


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Old 12-04-2014, 05:54 AM   #1846
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Today is a monumental day for America's manned space program. Orion's first test flight. Launch is at 7:04 AM EST
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Old 12-04-2014, 03:02 PM   #1847
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EFT-1 just wasn't ready to get off the ground today. Fuel leak valve not closing kept us grounded. We're gonna try again tomorrow at 7:05 am eastern.
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Old 12-04-2014, 03:07 PM   #1848
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They had like 4 or 5 holds today for various issues.
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Old 12-04-2014, 03:18 PM   #1849
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No one was really expecting it to launch on its first try. That just doesn't happen with a program's first flight.
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Old 12-05-2014, 08:29 AM   #1850
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EFT-1 successfully launched. Now we wait.
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