Tag Archives: Falcon 9

Falcon 9 now for Saturday

SpaceX’s Florida launch of a Falcon 9 for the space station has been rescheduled for Saturday before dawn at 4:47 a.m. Shortly thereafter the company will attempt to land the Falcon’s first stage on a barge in the Atlantic off Jacksonville.

The first stage of the Falcon 9 rocket is expected to land on the barge within 10 minutes of liftoff. The second stage will continue to propel the Dragon capsule to orbit” and a cargo-delivering rendezvous with the space station.

Pretty cool if they can do it. If they can’t they’re determined to try again until they do. Eventually making such landings routine to make the first stages reusable to cut costs launching to orbit.

UPDATE:  “Close but no cigar,” said Musk. He said the first stage found the barge on Saturday but landed too hard. The second stage with its cargo continued to the space station as planned.

Neil Armstrong buried at sea

I had no idea. Shows what happens when you ignore most of the media most of the time. The first moonwalker, who performed that feat in July 1969 when I was rather preoccupied on patrol in Vietnam, died at 82 in August.

I knew that part. I didn’t know he was cremated and his “ashes” and “dust” were buried at sea in the Atlantic somewhere off Florida. Probably directly east of the launch pad, though it doesn’t say.

Meanwhile, a day or so after the retired Endeavor space shuttle flew by McGregor, Texas, on its 747 carrier, Space X tested its Grasshopper, a vertical landing space vehicle, there. For now, it’s the first stage of X’s Falcon 9 powered by a Merlin engine—and the classic scifi image of the landing space rocket. If they ever do succeed at making that routine, we’ll know our space future is on the way.

Dragon almost ready to fly

Falcon9secondstage

I’ve long thought that the only way we’ll ever get back to Luna to stay or go on to colonize Mars is via private company hardware and work. Here, a SpaceX crew readies the second-stage engine of their Falcon 9 rocket for a successful Jan. 2 test at their MacGregor facility up the road from Austin. The Falcon 9 was expected to fly last fall, lofting the company’s Dragon spacecraft to a rendezvous with the International Space Station. But it’s now expected to begin this spring. The liquid-fueled Falcon 9 and Dragon will replace NASA’s retiring space shuttle.

Falcon 9 moving along

F9QualTank2.JPG

McGregor, TX (July 29, 2009) – Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) announces the successful completion of qualification testing for the Falcon 9 launch vehicle first stage tank and interstage. Testing took place at SpaceX’s Texas Test Site, a 300 acre structural and propulsion testing facility, located just outside of Waco, Texas. [First stage is green; interstage is black; this is the bird that will service the International Space Station when the shuttles are retired.]

UPDATE: But I’m opposed to government handouts for these and other commercial ops. We can see how well that worked for NASA, whose proposed Ares 1–whose capsule spacecraft is a throwback to Apollo and doesn’t even have an airlock–already is seeking more tax billions.

Falcon 9: It is Rocket Science

The first launch of SpaceX’s heavy lift vehicle, Falcon 9, may be delayed until fall, but its Falcon 1’s orbiting of a Malaysian sat ten days ago was a plus. Fun to have their Merlin engine test facilities just up the road in McGregor, southwest of Waco.

Might not be if they were rattling our windows, but they don’t do tests very often. Since their founder Elon Musk is the co-founder of PayPal, I hope my use of that service helps SpaceX, too. Falcon 9 was designed from the start to fly a four-man crew and service the International Space Station once the shuttles are retired.

Good luck, guys. It might not be in your plans but I hope you can beat the Indians and Chinese to the moon.