Tag Archives: SpaceX

Go get ’em, Elon!


Falcon 9’s first landing. We’re on the way at last. More here.

Via Mr. Goon at Simply Jews.

The Why And How Of Landing Rockets

“Even given everything we’ve learned, the odds of succeeding on our third attempt to land on a drone ship (a new one named “Of Course I Still Love You”) are uncertain, but tune in here this Sunday as we try to get one step closer toward a fully and rapidly reusable rocket.”

Good explanation, with pix and video, from SpaceX. Good luck, y’all.

UPDATE:  The SpaceX rocket Sunday never had a chance to attempt a landing. It blew up shortly after launch. The first loss in 19 tries. Thank goodness it wasn’t manned.

Rockets Away

Quite a sight, Blue Origin’s first rocket launch southeast of El Paso off I-10 near Van Horn in far West Texas. It’s the latest example of the Lone Star rising.

With SpaceX’s new launch facilities at Boca Chica Beach on a sandy peninsula just east of Brownsville on the Gulf Coast, expected to be ready for Falcon Heavy launches in 2018, Texas will claim an ever-larger share of space commerce.

If the federal socialists can only control their desire to tax or regulate everything that moves.

Why SpaceX will succeed

Never mind the usual snooze media headlines about SpaceX botching, stumbling, or failing to softly land their Falcon 9 first stage last Saturday. What they did “astonishingly right,” as aerospace engineer Rand Simberg puts it, certainly justifies plenty of optimism for next time.

After stage separation about 90 km high, they relit three of the first stage’s nine engines to slow down from about 3,000 mph. After re-entry, three more engines were relit to aim it at the tiny (from so high up) drone ship with its bulls-eye landing platform and four small fins were deployed to help steer it. Slowed down sufficiently, a single engine relight was all that was needed for a soft landing.

“With the exception of the final landing itself, almost everything went according to plan,” Simberg writes. “The vehicle entered intact, flew to the ship, and (apparently literally) hit the deck, because the hydraulic fluid that controlled the fins ran short by 10% of that needed to control and softly land.

“But in so doing, it accomplished another major ‘first,’ not just for a private company, but for any space ship. Previous Falcon flights had demonstrated the ability to enter the stage intact by retrothrusting (as opposed to simply braking against the atmosphere), but this was the first time such a vehicle had not only survived entry, but flown precisely to a pre-designated location, without wings.”

Space X will try again Jan. 29. When they finally succeed, as they almost certainly will, the next step will be to figure out how much it will cost to quickly and reliably, reuse the stage to cut their about $61 million price of a Falcon 9 launch.

Unlike the snooze media, bureaucratic NASA must be green with envy.

Via PJMedia.

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.

Falcon 9’s water landing today

Not a splashdown, after delivering cargo to the space station, but a powered,upright landing on a floating platform in the Atlantic. You know, like in the old science fiction novels.

At least that’s today’s plan.

And if it doesn’t work, SpaceX will keep trying until it does. Because Elon Musk’s vision requires a reusable rocket-to-orbit-and-return to make its ultimate goal practicable: Mars!

UPDATE:  At 6:10 a.m. EST, Musk tweeted: “Need to investigate the upper stage Z actuator. Was behaving strangely. Next launch attempt on Friday at 5am.”

Why space will be Chinese

The first lunar base, the first Martian colony, first mining of the asteroids… And not just because many scifi writers already are predicting it. But because the American political class will keep American companies grounded.

“Here’s the deal: SpaceX, as you may know, is making good on its promise to make access to space cheaper and more reliable. Their Falcon 9 rocket is putting payloads into orbit for less money than the big government contractors charge.

“As one might expect, [politicians] who have such contractors in their own districts and states are unhappy with this. And apparently some are willing to smear SpaceX as retribution.”

The Greens? Not yet. These are Republicans—the supposed champions of market capitalism. So, about that supposedly coming SpaceX spaceport near Brownsville in South Texas? It may never launch anything but red tape.

Via Instapundit.