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Old 10-17-2016, 06:18 PM   #501
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Just stood in my driveway and watched the Wallops Island Orbital ATK Antares rocket launch. Pretty cool. I like it when they launch at night. It's carrying a Cygnus spacecraft that will dock with the ISS and deliver supplies.

I tried to get a picture, but I'm not much of a photographer. They're a little shaky, but still pretty decent (for me). I probably should have done video. Next time.
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Old 10-17-2016, 08:14 PM   #502
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It's good to see them flying again.

Hopefully, our manned program can catch up with the Chinese some day.
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Old 01-14-2017, 03:00 PM   #503
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SpaceX has returned to flight with a successful launch of the Falcon 9 rocket and deployment of 10 satellites. Let's hope this is the first of a long string of successful launches. They have quite a way to go to catch up with their main competitor's string of 100+ successful launches.



Now, we start anticipating the launch of the Falcon Heavy rocket. 27 engines firing at once. It should be a spectacular show.
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Old 01-14-2017, 04:04 PM   #504
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SpaceX has returned to flight with a successful launch of the Falcon 9 rocket and deployment of 10 satellites. Let's hope this is the first of a long string of successful launches. They have quite a way to go to catch up with their main competitor's string of 100+ successful launches.



Now, we start anticipating the launch of the Falcon Heavy rocket. 27 engines firing at once. It should be a spectacular show.
I'm really looking forward to see the Falcon Heavy take off.

I read on some space website that SpaceX has plans to do 3 simultaneously launching and (1st stage landing) in Florida. Now that would be worth traveling to the Cape to see.
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Old 01-25-2017, 08:35 PM   #505
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The Opportunity Rover on Mars is still working and has now been on Mars for 13 years! Not bad considering its original mission was supposed to last 90 days.

Teenager on Mars! NASA's Opportunity Rover Celebrates 13th Birthday

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But Opportunity is still active, despite an arthritic robotic arm and issues with its flash memory (the kind that stores information even when the rover is powered down). Indeed, the rover keeps extending its record for the greatest distance traveled on the surface of another world; as of Jan. 16, Opportunity's odometer read 27.21 miles (43.79 kilometers). (Second place belongs to the former Soviet Union's Lunokhod 2 rover, which covered 24.2 miles, or 39 km, on the moon in 1973.)
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Old 03-29-2017, 08:25 PM   #506
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Tomorrow, SpaceX will attempt to launch a satellite into orbit using a 'used' first stage. This could be a bit of history in the making.

The Shuttle was reusable but at an astronomical cost. Presumably, the SpaceX vehicle won't be burdened by a high cost. At least that's the hope.
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Old 03-29-2017, 09:22 PM   #507
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Tomorrow, SpaceX will attempt to launch a satellite into orbit using a 'used' first stage. This could be a bit of history in the making.

The Shuttle was reusable but at an astronomical cost. Presumably, the SpaceX vehicle won't be burdened by a high cost. At least that's the hope.
Have you found any articles where they discuss the cost benefit? I'm curious.

That part of the rocket (in the non-reusable form) seems relatively simple (emphasis on 'relatively'), and it's made a lot more complex/expensive by giving it landing capability. And then you have to rebuild much of it and re-certify everything, including the extra stuff that wouldn't need to be built and certified in the first place. And more danger/liability as the rocket has to land with enough fuel to lower itself against gravity, instead of falling empty.

I'm sure they know what they're doing, but that seems like a really steep hill, and I've never seen a run at the numbers.

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Old 03-29-2017, 09:32 PM   #508
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Have you found any articles where they discuss the cost benefit? I'm curious.

That part of the rocket (in the non-reusable form) seems relatively simple (emphasis on 'relatively'), and it's made a lot more complex/expensive by giving it landing capability. And then you have to rebuild much of it and re-certify everything, including the extra stuff that wouldn't need to be built and certified in the first place. And more danger/liability as the rocket has to land with enough fuel to lower itself against gravity, instead of falling empty.

I'm sure they know what they're doing, but that seems like a really steep hill, and I've never seen a run at the numbers.

-ERD50
Conversely the first stage has 9 engines while the second has one. Rocket engines are quite complex, so that is a big cost factor (which also affected the shuttle as the main engines were reusable also).
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Old 03-29-2017, 09:47 PM   #509
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Have you found any articles where they discuss the cost benefit? I'm curious.
...

-ERD50
Educated guesses in this article, but sounds like about 30%.
SpaceX's reusable Falcon 9: What are the real cost savings for customers? - SpaceNews.com
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Old 03-30-2017, 05:13 PM   #510
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Picture perfect launch by SpaceX today.

First stage was used a second time and launched without problems.
This first stage was successfully landed (again!) on a barge in the Atlantic.
SES-10 (the payload) is in geostationary transfer orbit now.

Well done!
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Old 03-30-2017, 06:14 PM   #511
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Picture perfect launch by SpaceX today.

First stage was used a second time and launched without problems.
This first stage was successfully landed (again!) on a barge in the Atlantic.
SES-10 (the payload) is in geostationary transfer orbit now.

Well done!

Nice!

I wasn't able to watch it live and plan on watching it later tonight. It's good to hear it was a success.

I wonder in what condition the rocket is in after this launch? I wonder if they'll share that info with the public?
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Old 03-30-2017, 06:50 PM   #512
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Educated guesses in this article, but sounds like about 30%.
SpaceX's reusable Falcon 9: What are the real cost savings for customers? - SpaceNews.com
Thanks, there was this from Elon:

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SpaceX founder Elon Musk has said the first stage accounts for about 75 percent of the total vehicle cost.
I was just thinking of these as being 'brute force' and a lower cost than the more 'refined' stuff. But brute force costs $$$$ too!

Of course, the cost of refurb cuts into that, so the 30% number overall is probably a good ball park. And if the competitors don't have it, he only needs to pass on enough of the savings to undercut them, and the rest is gravy for Space-X (more R&D $ available).

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Old 03-30-2017, 06:52 PM   #513
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I imagine the SpaceX engineers will go over every square millimeter of that first stage booster looking for anything that might be a sign of weakness.

I would love to be a fly on the wall when the big shots from certain other rocket companies talk about this tomorrow. Or do they care? Maybe not.

From what I read, it will be at least five more years before re-using the first stage booster will add much to SpaceX's bottom line. That won't happen until they can launch, refuel, and launch again. That won't be happening for a while.
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Old 03-30-2017, 07:41 PM   #514
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...

I would love to be a fly on the wall when the big shots from certain other rocket companies talk about this tomorrow. Or do they care? Maybe not. ...
From the article that Zathras posted, it seemed to me that the other companies are in the position of realizing that if Space-X can pull this off, they are just screwed. Cannot compete. By the time they can, it could be too late to get enough business to justify the upfront R&D costs.

I guess this may be another example of a 'disruptive technology'?

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Old 03-30-2017, 07:52 PM   #515
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From what I read, it will be at least five more years before re-using the first stage booster will add much to SpaceX's bottom line. That won't happen until they can launch, refuel, and launch again. That won't be happening for a while.

Reference? (for my own curiosity)

Five years seems like a long time. It's taken them less than a year and a half to go from their first successful landing to making it seem routine.

Assuming that they are able to refurbish the rockets without too much difficulty - and I have little doubt that they are focused on solving this problem - then I would expect that in five years rocket reuse will be a semi-regular event.

The only question I have is how many times they can reuse one of these rockets and how quick they can refurbish a rocket? But if there are payloads waiting to be launched, then there's plenty of incentive to streamline this process.
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Old 03-31-2017, 03:12 PM   #516
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Educated guesses in this article, but sounds like about 30%.
SpaceX's reusable Falcon 9: What are the real cost savings for customers? - SpaceNews.com
I read something today that said SpaceX's goal is to reduce the unit cost of launches by "an order of magnitude." That would be a 90% cost reduction and, I'm guessing, would involve more than just reuse of stages.
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Old 04-01-2017, 02:42 PM   #517
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Good article on Ars Technica regarding the SpaceX launch:

https://arstechnica.com/science/2017...l-spaceflight/

As for Elon's goal:

Quote:
He believes the company has a clear path to his goal for the Falcon 9 rocket, however, a 24-hour turnaround from launch to landing to launch, with no maintenance. He believes the final version of the Falcon 9 optimized for reuse, set to fly late this year or early in 2018, will be capable of 10 flights "with no refurbishment," and 100 flights with "moderate refurbishment." 24-hour turnarounds should come by next year.
The article also touches on refurbishing the rocket. It doesn't provide any details (none are provided by SpaceX), but SpaceX has had a chance to look over a few of these rockets and they are still optimistic they can make rocket reuse work. That's a good sign.
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Old 04-05-2017, 09:53 AM   #518
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I read something today that said SpaceX's goal is to reduce the unit cost of launches by "an order of magnitude." That would be a 90% cost reduction and, I'm guessing, would involve more than just reuse of stages.
As Elon noted in the post launch briefing, the fairing was returned as well. Well, half of it, in a demo of the new technology. Within a few launches both halves will be returning and be reused. FYI a fairing set runs around $6M. Almost 10% of a launch price right there.
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Old 06-04-2017, 10:09 AM   #519
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SpaceX has just sent a 'used' Dragon spacecraft on its way to the International Space Station. I put 'used' in quotes since I am sure they went over it with a fine tooth-comb and replaced anything that looked at all a bit 'iffy'. OTOH, other than the Shuttle, nobody else has reused a spacecraft in this way. And, the reusable Dragon promises to be a lot less expensive than the reusable Shuttle was.

It was also the 100th launch from pad 39A,.
https://spaceflightnow.com/2017/06/0...-from-pad-39a/

Of course, the main booster stage was successfully landed. Ho Hum.....
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Old 06-04-2017, 10:25 AM   #520
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I am waiting to see what becomes of breakthrough star shot . This involves sending nano craft 20% of the speed of light to Alpha Centauri. A one way trip would take 20 years. Quite recently some astronomers and scientists have grown increasingly curious about a Earth like planet orbiting around the system. I have no idea how communication would be possible over such vast distances . Assuming one of the many nano craft sent makes it to the star system some 4.37 light years away, the distance is beyond my understanding. Does anyone have an update as far as progress is going regarding breakthrough star shot? It would be fascinating to know what secrets the Alpha Centauri star system holds. I am 47, I may never see such a fascinating discovery. Edit to add: I read that the first launch isn't expected until 2036.
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