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The NewSpace Daily
NewSpace: A New Era In Space Exploration. As one era ends a new one begins: a new golden era in spaceflight. Join us for all the latest headlines in this bold new adventure.
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Private supply ship, SpaceX Dragon, rockets toward space station, opens new era of spaceflight

Private supply ship, SpaceX Dragon, rockets toward space station, opens new era of spaceflight | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — A first-of-its-kind commercial supply ship rocketed toward the International Space Station following a successful liftoff early Tuesday, opening a new era of dollar-driven spaceflight.

 

The SpaceX company made history as its Falcon 9 rocket rose from its seaside launch pad and pierced the pre-dawn sky, aiming for a rendezvous in a few days with the space station. The rocket carried into orbit a capsule named Dragon that is packed with 1,000 pounds of space station provisions.

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Space Taxis: Next stop Mars? : Discovery News

Space Taxis: Next stop Mars? : Discovery News | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

Privately owned Space Exploration Technologies is poised to make a test run to the International Space Station early Tuesday, but visiting the orbital outpost is just the beginning of the company's grand plan to give humanity a toehold on Mars.

 

"Our goal is to revolutionize space transport, so we'll be doing every kind of space transport, except for suborbital. We'll launch satellites of all shapes and sizes, service the space station with cargo and crew, and then the long-term objective is to develop a space transport system that will enable humanity to become a multi-planet species," company founder and chief executive officer Elon Musk said in an interview with SpaceflightNow.com.

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For Want Of A Check Valve

My piece on the SpaceX abort is up at Popular Mechanics.

 

Here’s the bit that got left on the cutting-room floor:

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Spaceflight Now | Falcon Launch Report | SpaceX Dragon spacecraft facts

Spaceflight Now | Falcon Launch Report | SpaceX Dragon spacecraft facts | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

Dragon is a free-flying, reusable spacecraft developed using the best of 21st century technology by SpaceX under NASA's Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) program. Dragon is made up of a pressurized capsule that will carry pressurized cargo on this mission and an unpressurized trunk that houses its solar panels and can be used to carry unpressurized cargo.

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SpaceX Private Spaceship to Join Robotic Cargo Freighter Ranks

SpaceX Private Spaceship to Join Robotic Cargo Freighter Ranks | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

A new private spaceship is set to join the suite of automated cargo freighters that bring essential supplies to the International Space Station.

 

The commercial aerospace firm SpaceX (Space Exploration Technologies of Hawthorne, Calif.) is set to launch its Dragon space capsule to the orbiting outpost for the first time Tuesday (May 22). The vehicle has made one test flight before, in 2010, but this will be the first time a non-government vehicle links up with the space station.

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Elon Musk Shoots for the Stars With SpaceX

Elon Musk Shoots for the Stars With SpaceX | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

“Engineering is the closest thing to magic that exists in the world,” the inventor Elon Musk likes to tell students. This week he sets out to prove it, as he attempts to do what no private citizen has done before: send a vessel to the International Space Station.

 

Musk, who cofounded PayPal before plowing $100 million into space exploration in 2002, plans to blast a gumdrop-shape capsule from the pads at Cape Canaveral to Earth’s only extraterrestrial embassy, a journey shorter than the bus route from Detroit to Chicago, but straight up and considerably more scenic. Besides surviving the hellfire of Earth’s atmosphere, Musk’s craft, which he’ll oversee from mission control in Hawthorne, Calif., must deliver a half ton of cargo, and splash down safely somewhere in the Pacific Ocean.

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Dragon Launch Set for Tuesday Morning | Parabolic Arc

Dragon Launch Set for Tuesday Morning | Parabolic Arc | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

Hawthorne, CA (SpaceX PR) – Tomorrow, Tuesday, May 22nd, at 3:44 AM Eastern, Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) will attempt to launch a Falcon 9 rocket carrying a Dragon spacecraft to orbit in an exciting start to the mission that will make SpaceX the first commercial company in history to try to send a spacecraft to the International Space Station.

 

Sending a spacecraft to the space station has only ever been accomplished by four entities – the United States, Russia, Japan and the European Union.

 

Saturday’s launch was aborted when the flight computer detected slightly high pressure in the engine 5 combustion chamber. During rigorous inspections of the engine, SpaceX engineers discovered a faulty check valve on the Merlin engine. The failed valve was replaced on Saturday and after thorough analysis the vehicle has been cleared for launch.

 

SpaceX will webcast the launch live at www.SpaceX.com starting at 3:00 AM Eastern.

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4 Reasons Why the SpaceX Launch Was Not A Failure

4 Reasons Why the SpaceX Launch Was Not A Failure | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

To sync up with the ISS’ orbit, the Falcon 9 rocket must be launched during a near-instantaneous window that grows earlier by approximately 20 minutes per day. Thus, even the slightest errors mandate that the mission be shelved for the day, resulting in a highly anticlimactic experience for those watching. But in spite of this temporary disappointment, there are still many reasons to be optimistic about SpaceX and its potential as a future space industry pioneer:

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Arianespace Downplays Competition

Arianespace Downplays Competition | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

KOUROU, French Guiana — Arianespace Chairman and CEO Jean-Yves Le Gall says newcomer SpaceX still has to prove itself and that China poses no competitive challenge to his company in the satellite launch business.

 

“SpaceX speaks a lot, but they don’t launch a lot. That is a fact,” Le Gall says. Arianespace, meanwhile, plans to have 10 launches from French Guiana this year: seven for Ariane 5, two for Soyuz and one for Vega.

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SpaceX developing SuperDraco engine for surface landings

SpaceX developing SuperDraco engine for surface landings | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

(Sen) - If successful, SpaceX's mission this week to the space station will represent just the start of the company's ambitions which include putting a man on Mars by 2020.

 

But before SpaceX reaches for Mars, their more immediate ambition is create a space launch system that is completely reusable.

 

Integral to the company’s resuable ambitions (and future interplanetary aspirations) is a powerful new engine currently under development, the SuperDraco, which enable the capsule to land on solid ground rather than dropping into the ocean.

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The Heartbreak of a Launch Abort

The Heartbreak of a Launch Abort | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

An aborted rocket launchis a frustrating thing to watch. From a causeway linking Merritt Island to the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, I watched with a small crowd of other journalists at the blearingly early hour of 4:55 am, waiting for the launch of SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft on a Falcon 9 rocket. The early launch time was one of the narrow windows available to line up the Dragon with the orbit of the International Space Station, where it was scheduled to dock four days from now. And it certainly seemed as if all systems were go for this one. The countdown over the PA system went all the way to t-minus .5 seconds, and the first burst of ignition illuminated the pre-dawn sky for a moment…but only a moment, and then we all discovered that it had been called off.
Read more: SpaceX Dragon Mission Launch Scrubbed - Popular Mechanics

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Let The Real Space Age Begin | NPR

Let The Real Space Age Begin | NPR | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

Governments might get the exploration of space started, but the vagaries of election and budget cycles meant that it could never go further. Now, we've reached the point where it's the exploitation of space that matters.

 

While exploitation might seem a dirty word to some folks, they should stop to consider how dependent we've all already become on the commercialization of that region of space called Low Earth Orbit.

 

Think of the billions of dollars in commercial activity tied to weather prediction, global broadcasting and global positioning. All this business depends on satellites orbiting overhead right now.

 

But if, as a species, we want to go beyond the thin veil of space directly overhead, then the basic principles of private venture and risk will have to apply.

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SpaceX No Stranger to Launch Day Rocket Glitches

SpaceX No Stranger to Launch Day Rocket Glitches | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

When a privately built rocket aborted its launch attempt at the very last second today (May 19), it was likely a familiar sight to the booster's builders: the California-based company SpaceX.

 

On Friday (May 18), SpaceX President Gwynne Shotwell acknowledged the company's challenges in hitting liftoff at launch time on the first try.

 

"We have not hit a T-Zero yet," Shotwell said, adding that she felt SpaceX had a better than 50-50 chance of launching today.

 

The current Falcon 9 mission is SpaceX's third mission for the rocket design, which made its debut in June 2010. A second flight successfully launched a Dragon capsule prototype into orbit in December 2010. The earlier Falcon 9 launches also saw delays or aborts, Shotwell said.

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SpaceX In Orbit – Successful Launch of Falcon 9 Rocket

SpaceX In Orbit – Successful Launch of Falcon 9 Rocket | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida — The second time’s the charm for SpaceX. This morning at 3:44 a.m. EDT the company’s Falcon 9 rocket lifted off of Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral. After a faulty valve caused an aborted liftoff Saturday, today’s successful launch marks the third flight of the Falcon 9 rocket, the second flight of the Dragon capsule, and the first flight for a commercial spacecraft bound for the International Space Station.

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What Went Wrong With SpaceX's Launch? Analysis

What Went Wrong With SpaceX's Launch? Analysis | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it
PopMech was on the scene for SpaceX's attempted launch to the ISS on Saturday morning, but the company had to abort after a problem with a check valve. PM contributor Rand Simberg explains what a check valve is, and how SpaceX is gearing up for another launch window on Tuesday.
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Nice Work

Nice Work | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

It's hard to watch an on-pad abort without a sick feeling in the pit of your stomach. The engines have fired and then shut down. The rocket is just sitting there, filled with fuel and liquid oxygen, and the smoke of ignition still wreathes the pad.

 

"I thought we'd be higher when the engines quit" is how NASA astronaut Steve Hawley tried to use humor to dispel the tension after he experienced a pad abort from the flight deck of the shuttle Discovery. Mike Mulane, one of his crewmates, later wrote "I wanted to hit the SOB. I wanted to scream, 'This isn't funny, Hawley.'"

 

The SpaceX launch crew didn't think it was funny, either. Instead, they did what NASA and more experienced commercial launch operators do. They turned the page and started working through their checklist for securing their vehicle after a pad abort. It went smoothly. The Falcon 9 and Dragon are intact and ready for another attempt, as early as 3:44 a.m. tomorrow.

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Spaceflight Now | Dragon Mission Report | Dragon early orbit timeline

Spaceflight Now | Dragon Mission Report | Dragon early orbit timeline | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

SpaceX will conduct far-field rendezvous and systems demonstrations during the Dragon spacecraft's first day in orbit. The tests are necessary to prove the capsule is fit to rendezvous with the space station.

 

NOTE: GMT is +4 hours ahead of Eastern Daylight Time.

 

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Stratolaunch Progress Report in Photos | Parabolic Arc

Stratolaunch Progress Report in Photos | Parabolic Arc | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

The Stratolaunch project is moving along at the Mojave Air and Space Port. Two 747-422s are being stripped for parts to build the mammoth rocket launching platform, which will be the biggest aircraft in the world.

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Dragon Mission Report | Tests of new Dragon systems to begin minutes after launch | Spaceflight Now

Dragon Mission Report | Tests of new Dragon systems to begin minutes after launch | Spaceflight Now | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

SpaceX's Dragon spacecraft will almost immediately begin testing new components following its deployment in orbit, extending solar arrays, demonstrating sensors for precise navigation, and proving its safety procedures during the capsule's first day in space.

 

SpaceX founder Elon Musk is quick to note the Dragon spacecraft has flown in orbit before. An earlier Dragon capsule circled Earth twice and returned to Earth in December 2010, becoming the first privately-owned craft to reach orbit and land.

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SpaceX Officially Reschedules Launch Attempt for May 22 | SpaceNews.com

SpaceX Officially Reschedules Launch Attempt for May 22 | SpaceNews.com | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

WASHINGTON — Space Exploration Technologies Corp. (SpaceX) confirmed May 21 that its second attempt to launch a cargo-delivery demonstration mission to the international space station (ISS) will take place in the early morning hours of May 22.

 

SpaceX now plans to launch at 3:44 a.m. local time from Launch Complex 40 at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. The company scrubbed its first launch attempt May 19 at the last second when a flight computer on its Falcon 9 rocket detected higher-than-expected pressure in the combustion chamber of one of its nine core-stage engines.

 

SpaceX traced the problem to a faulty check valve on the rocket’s fifth core-stage engine. SpaceX has since replaced the valve.

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ORBITAL OUTFITTERS; SPACE TECH and HOLLYWOOD DESIGN

ORBITAL OUTFITTERS; SPACE TECH and HOLLYWOOD DESIGN | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

If you are like the rest of the people who are busy booking flights at $100,000 plus a trip I am sure you are wondering what to wear out there. Well the folks at Orbital Outfitters are working day and night to answer that question. They are not only designing their space suits to be practical but to have a bit of style as well. Their chief designer is Chris Gilman the founder of Global Effects Inc. Global Effect founded in 1986, is one of the best known and reputable special effects companies in Hollywood. They make and design many costumes and special effects apparatus for films and he brings this sense of art to what is a by necessity a very practical no nonsense profession of engineers and scientists.

 

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SpaceX Falcon 9 Problem Traced to Faulty Valve (Updated) - SpaceRef Canada

SpaceX Falcon 9 Problem Traced to Faulty Valve (Updated) - SpaceRef Canada | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

During inspections, SpaceX engineers traced the cause of yesterdays launch scrub to a faulty check valve on the Merlin engine. Having discovered the problem SpaceX replaced the valve last night and continue to review data from the aborted launch with the aim of trying again on Tuesday morning.

 

Right up to t-minus 0.5 seconds it looked like there was going to be a launch. Unfortunately the Falcon 9 computer shutdown the rocket just as it was set to launch due to a slightly high pressure reading in the Merlin engine number 5 combustion chamber, one of nine engines on the Falcon 9 first stage.

 

The next launch attempt, assuming everything is ok with the rocket, would be at 07:44:34 GMT (3:44:34 a.m. EDT) Tuesday, May 22nd. If they can't launch on the 22nd, SpaceX has said they can try approximately every three days though they could also try on the 23rd.

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SpaceX Replaces Faulty Rocket Valve for Space Station Flight

SpaceX Replaces Faulty Rocket Valve for Space Station Flight | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — SpaceX engineers have replaced a faulty engine valve on a private rocket carrying the first commercial space capsule bound for the International Space Station following the last-second abort during an attempted liftoff Saturday (May 19).

 

The valve replacement came after SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket, which will loft the firm's unmanned Dragon capsule toward the station, aborted its launch attempt a half-second before liftoff from a pad here at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. Technicians investigating the glitch discovered a faulty check valve was to blame for the high engine pressure that forced the booster's engines to unexpectedly shut down.

 

SpaceX engineers replaced the balky valve late Saturday, and are now inspecting the Falcon 9 rocket in preparation for a possible second launch attempt early Tuesday (May 22).

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Update on SpaceX COTS 2 Launch 19 May 2012 | SpaceRef

Update on SpaceX COTS 2 Launch 19 May 2012 | SpaceRef | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

Today's launch was aborted when the flight computer detected slightly high pressure in the engine 5 combustion chamber. We have discovered root cause and repairs are underway.

 

During rigorous inspections of the engine, SpaceX engineers discovered a faulty check valve on the Merlin engine. We are now in the process of replacing the failed valve. Those repairs should be complete tonight. We will continue to review data on Sunday. If things look good, we will be ready to attempt to launch on Tuesday, May 22nd at 3:44 AM Eastern.

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May 19 Launch Aborted; SpaceX Launch Sequence Works as Designed - Commercial Spaceflight Federation

Washington D.C. – The May 19 launch of Falcon 9 has been aborted this morning, however the SpaceX launch sequence worked as designed. The Falcon 9 computer examined all the data from the rocket at ignition, and when one engine returned data indicating it was out of line with expectations, the computer automatically aborted the launch.

 

CSF President Michael Lopez-Alegria said, “I have watched and participated in more scrubs of the shuttle than I would have liked, but it’s just part of the launch business. I was extremely impressed with professionalism displayed by the SpaceX launch team in the moments after the scrub to safe the vehicle. We will have to wait for the team to perform the technical analysis of what caused the apparent high pressure in one of the engine’s combustion chambers and for SpaceX and NASA to decide when the next attempt will occur. This is not the outcome we were hoping for, but far better to detect and react to the problem while still in the pad than to have to deal with it in flight.”

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