SpaceX successfully launched a Falcon 9 rocket with a Dragon capsule bound for the International Space Station. They attempted to safely land and recover the 1st stage, but the rocket tipped over and exploded.
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SpaceX is getting ever closer to successfully returning the first stage of its Falcon 9 v1.1, with the latest attempt showing the effort is now focused on fine-tuning. The return of the first stage used during the CRS-6 Dragon launch was the best landing attempt to date, with a slower than expected throttle valve response parameter cited as the main reason the stage failed to nail its touchdown.
PARIS — The German Space Center, DLR, and Sierra Nevada Corp. (SNC) have renewed for another two years their cooperation on SNC’s Dream Chaser lifting-body spacecraft to focus on both crewed and uncrewed mission applications.
The agreement, which stretches through 2017, follows a 2013 no-exchange-of-funds arrangement in which DLR, which is Germany’s space agency, and Sparks, Nevada-based SNC investigated possible European contributions to the Dream Chaser. OHB SE of Bremen, Germany, was part of the original study called Dream Chaser for European Utilization.
PARIS — The U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) has answered with a qualified “yes” the question of whether a British company’s revolutionary air-breathing rocket engine, designed for a vertical-takeoff vehicle climbing to orbit with a single stage, holds promise.
AFRL’s Aerospace Systems Directorate looked at Reaction Engines Ltd.’s Synergetic Air-Breathing Rocket Engine, SABRE, as part of a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement.
The key component of the engine is its heat exchanger, designed to convert incoming air from 1,000 degrees Celsius to minus 150 degrees Celsius in one-hundredth of a second.
The SpaceX Dragon commercial cargo craft is less than a day away from arriving at the International Space Station. The Expedition 43 crew is getting ready for its arrival and five-week stay at the Earth-facing port of the Harmony module. Read more about the SpaceX CRS-6 mission.
Commander Terry Virts set up hardware inside Harmony to assist Dragon’s installation after its capture tomorrow. Virts and Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti also brushed up on robotics skills necessary to capture Dragon with the Canadarm2.
NASA TV will begin rendezvous coverage Friday at 5 a.m. EDT. Dragon is scheduled to be grappled about 7 a.m. by Cristoforetti inside the cupola at the controls of Canadarm2 with Virts assisting.
A short video clip appears to show how the first stage of SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket tipped over upon landing on the deck of a floating platform in the Atlantic Ocean, minutes after it launched a Dragon cargo capsule to the International Space Station on Tuesday. The video is a deck's-eye view of the landing attempt and subsequent explosion. It was posted anonymously without being acknowledged by SpaceX — but if it's a hoax, it's an astonishingly good one.
This anonymously posted astonishing video reveals how close the Falcon 9 stage came to completing a successful landing and shows that right up unto the last second the cold gas reaction control system was attempting to correct the landing trajectory.
COLORADO SPRINGS — SpaceX is thought to be focusing on static friction in an engine throttle valve as the prime suspect for the loss of the Falcon 9 first stage during the third attempt at recovering the booster.
The Falcon 9 was seconds away from what would have been the first successful landing of a used booster stage on SpaceX’s Autonomous Spaceport Drone Ship (ASDS) when the vehicle toppled over and was destroyed. The landing attempt occurred following the launch on April 14 of SpaceX’s sixth cargo resupply mission to the International Space Station from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida.
Billionaire Paul Allen has formed a new company to help make spaceflight more affordable and efficient.
Vulcan Aerospace, which was unveiled Monday (April 13), will spearhead the space projects of Vulcan, Inc., a company Allen and his sister Jody formed in 1986.
"Vulcan Aerospace is the company within Vulcan that plans and executes projects to shift how the world conceptualizes space travel through cost reduction and on‐demand access," Vulcan Aerospace president Chuck Beames and his colleague Kyu Hwang wrote in a paper describing the company that was presented at the 31 st Space Symposium in Colorado Springs this week.
After six successful missions to the International Space Station, including five official resupply missions for NASA, SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon spacecraft successfully lifted off from Launch Complex 40 at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida, for their sixth official Commercial Resupply Services (CRS) mission to the orbiting lab. Liftoff took place on Tuesday, April 14, 2015, at 4:10pm EDT. If all goes as planned, Dragon will arrive at the station approximately two days after liftoff. Dragon is expected to return to Earth approximately five weeks later for a parachute-assisted splashdown off the coast of southern California. Dragon is the only operational spacecraft capable of returning a significant amount of supplies back to Earth, including experiments.
PASADENA, Calif., April 20, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Northrop Grumman Corporation (NOC) has signed a sponsored research agreement with the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) for the development of the Space Solar Power Initiative (SSPI). Under the terms of the agreement, Northrop Grumman will provide up to $17.5 million to the initiative over three years.
Working together, the team will develop the scientific and technological innovations necessary to enable a space-based solar power system capable of generating electric power at cost parity with grid-connected fossil fuel power plants. SSPI responds to the engineering challenge of providing a cost-competitive source of sustainable energy. SSPI will develop technologies in three areas: high-efficiency ultralight photovoltaics; ultralight deployable space structures; and phased array and power transmission.
Last week, Blue Origin announced a milestone in the development of an engine intended for its suborbital vehicle. Jeff Foust reports on the company’s plans for testing that suborbital vehicle, as well as its orbital vehicle and engine plans.
NASA adopted the “flexible path” approach to spaceflight as a more economical way to carry out human space exploration than a human return to the Moon. Roger Handberg described how this flexible path may be bending right back to the Moon.
SpaceX founder and chief designer Elon Musk tweeted this evening that the failure of the Falcon 9 first stage to land successfully on a drone ship was due to a "slower than expected throttle valve response." Another attempt will be made in two months, he added.
SpaceX made its second attempt to land a Falcon 9 first stage on its autonomous drone ship named Just Read the Instructions on Tuesday, April 14, 2015. The first stage had just successfully propelled the rocket's second stage and the Dragon spacecraft full of supplies for the International Space Station into space. Musk wants to develop a reusable first stage that eventually will land back at its launch site. For now, he is testing landing on the drone ship. The first test earlier this year also was unsuccessful.
Returning to port late Thursday under the cover of darkness, SpaceX’s rocket recovery platform has moored at a dock in Jacksonville, Florida, for unloading of charred debris from Tuesday’s crash landing of a Falcon 9 booster.
The 14-story booster was programmed to descend back to Earth, light its engines to slow down, then touch down vertically on the ship on four landing legs. SpaceX billed the maneuver as a purely experimental, and the rocket accomplished its primary job of sending a cargo capsule toward the International Space Station.
Packed with an array of experiments and provisions, including a custom-made Italian espresso maker, SpaceX’s unmanned Dragon cargo capsule reached the International Space Station on Friday after a precise laser-guided rendezvous more than 250 miles above Earth.
The commercial supply ship launched from Cape Canaveral on Tuesday, sailed into orbit a few minutes later, then kicked off a series of thruster burns to fine-tune its path toward the space station with nearly 2.2 tons of equipment inside its pressurized cabin.
“We highly value our partnership with the German Aerospace Center,” said Mark N. Sirangelo, corporate vice president, SNC’s Space Systems. “This relationship is a great example of the best-in-industry and government agency partnerships, both domestic and international, that we have sought. Our Dream Team will continue the advancement of the Dream Chaser, which is a true global program. We look forward to the next phase of our cooperation with DLR as we enter this new agreement.”
While the internet community continues its fascination with the Falcon 9 First Stage landing attempt on the Autonomous Spaceport Drone Ship (ASDS), SpaceX’s primary mission objective – the CRS-6/SpX-6 Dragon – is preparing to berth with the International Space Station (ISS). The spacecraft is performing well and set to be grappled by the Station’s “Big Arm” at around 7am Eastern on Friday.
SpaceX has been releasing videos of the April 14, 2015 attempt to land a Falcon 9 first stage on its autonomous drone ship "Just Read the Instructions" in the Atlantic Ocean. Here are links to the three released so far; more will be added to the list if they become available.
The first video was released within about an hour of the attempted landing and shows a rather grainy photo from a chase plane.
The second video, released the next day, is a much better view from the chase plane.
The third video, released April 16, is from a camera on the drone ship itself.
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Technology advances since the space-telecom bust of the 1990s make it unfair to compare low-orbit communications constellations proposed by OneWeb and SpaceX to those that either evaporated from the drawing board or got bullied into bankruptcy by terrestrial competitors before the turn of the century, the chief technology officer of an aspiring launch services company said here April 15.
“Please don’t compare this go-round of [low Earth orbit] constellations with what happened with Iridium and all that,” Shey Sabripour, chief technology officer of Austin, Texas-based Firefly Space Systems said during a panel discussion at the 31st Space Symposium here. “The technologies available today are far different than what was available in the 1990s.”
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