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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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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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Engine Chamber Pressure Problem Scrubs SpaceX Launch, Next Try Probably May 22

The launch of SpaceX's Dragon spacecraft on the Falcon 9 rocket was scrubbed at the very last moment today because of a high engine chamber pressure reading in engine 5. SpaceX President Gwynne Shotwell confirmed that preliminary diagnosis at a 6:30 am Eastern Daylight Time (EDT) post-scrub press briefing today.

 

A launch abort is always better than a launch failure, and not particularly uncommon especially with new rockets. Aborting right at the moment of launch is unusual and made this one more of a nail-biter than most. The launch was aborted at T-0.5 seconds -- half a second before liftoff. Shotwell said all nine engines ignited properly, but engine 5 immediately began "trending high" and exceeded the abort limit.

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SpaceX scrub Falcon 9 launch to send Dragon to ISS | NASASpaceFlight.com

SpaceX scrub Falcon 9 launch to send Dragon to ISS | NASASpaceFlight.com | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

The countdown for Friday’s attempt suffered from no major issues ahead of the engines firing, with only a few minor range issues noted with several hours to go. These were all cleared ahead of the business end of the count.

 

With the Range green and the weather acceptable for launch, the countdown clocks continued to tick down smoothly, as the Falcon 9 and Dragon were put through their terminal count events. However, at T-0, with the engines firing, an abort was called.

 

The issue was initially understood to be related to the redline limits being breached by Engine 5′s chamber pressure readings on the Falcon 9, causing the flight computers to abort the launch. Vehicle safing was conducted without issue.

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SpaceX Launch Scrub Delays Space Station Mission : Discovery News

SpaceX Launch Scrub Delays Space Station Mission : Discovery News | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

SpaceX aborted its launch of the Dragon capsule toward the ISS at the last second on Saturday due to a technical issue with one of the rocket's nine engines.

 

"The initiation sequence had started but there was a cutoff," said NASA commentator George Diller. A SpaceX spokesman said engineers would look into the causes, and the launch would not take place on Saturday.

 

"The computer checks all of the engine telemetry," said the spokesman on SpaceX's live broadcast of the event. "We detected something was wrong with one of the limits" on one of the rocket's nine engines.

 

The next opportunity for launch is at 3:44 am on Tuesday, May 22, according to NASA.

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SpaceX Falcon 9 Dragon Launch Scrubbed (Updated with video) - SpaceRef

SpaceX Falcon 9 Dragon Launch Scrubbed (Updated with video) - SpaceRef | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

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 high pressure reading on engine number 5, one of nine engines on the Falcon 9 first stage.

 

The next launch attempt, assuming everything is ok with the rocket, will 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.

 

At this point SpaceX said they need to access the launch pad and have a look at engine number 5, the one that was reading high. If the engine needs to be replaced an engine is available, though would mean taking the rocket from the launch pad to the SpaceX hangar and swapping out the engine. That option is available and would only take a few days if needed.

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NASA SpaceX Post-Launch Attempt Scrub Briefing

This is the NASA SpaceX post-launch attempt scrub briefing. 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 high pressure reading on engine number 5, one of nine engines on the Falcon 9 first stage.

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SpaceX ready their Falcon 9 to send Dragon to the ISS | NASASpaceFlight.com

SpaceX ready their Falcon 9 to send Dragon to the ISS | NASASpaceFlight.com | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

SpaceX will launch the second demonstration flight of the Dragon spacecraft Friday morning, beginning an ambitious mission intended to complete the spacecraft’s remaining COTS demonstration objectives, and culminate in a visit to the International Space Station. Launch aboard a Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral is planned for 08:55 UTC (04:55 EDT).

 

The Dragon C2+ mission is a combination of the C2 and C3 missions which were originally planned to be conducted separately. The second flight of a Dragon spacecraft, it follows on from the successful Dragon C1 flight in December 2010.

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Beyond SpaceX: Five companies seeking to change space travel

Beyond SpaceX: Five companies seeking to change space travel | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

On May 19, SpaceX will attempt to become the first private company to dock a capsule with the space station. Since the space shuttle Columbia disaster in 2003, Presidents Bush and Obama have directed NASA to turn the job of transporting cargo and crew to the station over to private firms.

 

NASA already has $3.5 billion in cargo contracts with two rocket makers – SpaceX and Orbital Sciences Corporation – and has added $270 million in seed money to four companies to develop technologies to transport crews. This summer, NASA expects to provide additional money to help private space companies develop full-scale systems. Here are the key players:

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Dragon Mission Report | SpaceX's historic commercial mission is 'just a test flight' | Spaceflight Now

Dragon Mission Report | SpaceX's historic commercial mission is 'just a test flight' | Spaceflight Now | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

Observers from Cape Canaveral to Capitol Hill will be keenly watching SpaceX's commercial voyage to the International Space Station launching Saturday, and although officials bill the mission as a test flight, its outcome could buoy or blunt support for a private space race in human spaceflight.

 

Recognizing the breadth of attention given Saturday's launch and arrival at the space station three days later, officials from NASA and SpaceX have one message: This is a test flight.

 

And that means to expect the unexpected.

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Spaceflight Experts Weigh In on Upcoming SpaceX Launch

Spaceflight Experts Weigh In on Upcoming SpaceX Launch | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

After months of anticipation and a series of delays, SpaceX is once again ready to fly.

 

In the early hours of May 19, the private spaceflight company’s Dragon capsule is scheduled to lift off from the launch pad and, four days later, attempt to dock with the International Space Station. (You can watch the launch live at 4:55 EDT on our Open Space site.) If everything is successful, SpaceX will become the first private company to accomplish something that only nation-states have previously done.

 

But success remains a big “if.” Even the company’s founder and CEO, Elon Musk, has been quick to point out that SpaceX is still in a kind of beta-testing mode.

 

“It’s not as though we’re asserting that success is highly likely,” Musk told our aerospace reporter Jason Paur during a live Google+ hangout interview. “In fact, we’re saying that there’s a very good chance that the mission might not succeed. That’s the nature of a test.”

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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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Possible Rocket Engine Problem Triggered SpaceX Launch Abort

Possible Rocket Engine Problem Triggered SpaceX Launch Abort | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — A potential rocket engine problem may be to blame for the unexpected abort of a private SpaceX rocket launch before dawn on Saturday (May 19), officials said.

 

SpaceX was slated to blast off its unmanned Dragon capsule and Falcon 9 rocket at 4:55 a.m. EDT (0855 GMT) from here at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. Just after igniting its main engines, the computer onboard the booster initiated an automatic abort due to a high pressure reading in one of the rocket's nine main engines.

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The Dragon's Fire Is Delayed - Spaceflight Observer

The Dragon's Fire Is Delayed - Spaceflight Observer | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

It looked like a promising day for the launch of Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) Falcon 9 rocket with it's first Dragon capsule capable of docking with the International Space Station (ISS) poised for a chance to meet the orbiting platform. Weather was cooperating with only a 20% chance of a weather constraint prohibiting launch and all looked good for the planned 4:55 AM Eastern Daylight Time lift-off. During the countdown, the Falcon 9 booster was behaving well and all systems on board Dragon looked ready to reach for the International Space Station.

 

The countdown ended at the Time minus 0 mark, and the Falcon 9's nine Merlin engines with the ability to produce one million pounds of thrust in a vacuum, fired to life.

 

Then just as quickly they shut down with the Falcon 9 Booster still on the launch pad.

 

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SpaceX Falcon 9 launch aborted after last-second glitch (UPDATED)

SpaceX Falcon 9 launch aborted after last-second glitch (UPDATED) | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, FL--With its engines throttling up to full thrust, launch of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying a commercial cargo ship bound for the International Space Station was aborted at the last instant early Saturday when telemtry showed higher-than-allowable pressure readings in one of the rocket's nine first-stage powerplants.

 

Rocket-builder Space Exploration Technologies Corp. hopes to make another attempt Tuesday if the engine problem can be resolved in time.

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SpaceX Aborts Launch of Private Space Capsule to Space Station

SpaceX Aborts Launch of Private Space Capsule to Space Station | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — The private rocket company SpaceX will have to wait at least three more days to send its Dragon space capsule on a debut flight to the International Space Station after unexpected engine pressure readings forced a last-second abort of today's (May 19) launch attempt.

 

The launch countdown reached zero and the engines of the Falcon 9 rocket carrying Dragon ignited, only to be cut off seconds later because of an excessive pressure reading in one of the engines.

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Dragon Mission Report | Q&A with SpaceX founder and chief designer Elon Musk | Spaceflight Now

Dragon Mission Report | Q&A with SpaceX founder and chief designer Elon Musk | Spaceflight Now | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

Spaceflight Now spoke with Elon Musk, the father of SpaceX and chief designer of the Falcon and Dragon vehicles, on the eve of his company's biggest test yet.

 

Musk established SpaceX in 2002 to revolutionize space travel, aiming to cut costs, boost reliability, and open spaceflight to the masses. So far, SpaceX has been successful in amassing a backlog of about 40 launches worth about $4 billion.

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A 'Giant Leap' for Commercial Space : Discovery News

A 'Giant Leap' for Commercial Space : Discovery News | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

The first of two companies hired by NASA to fly cargo to the International Space Station is preparing for a test flight on Saturday, a harbinger of a new type of public-private partnership.

 

"It is, by all accounts, an important step, bordering on a giant leap, for commercial space," said Michael Lopez-Alegria, a former astronaut who now heads the Commercial Spaceflight Federation trade organization.

 

"We are at a brink of a milestone moment in our space history," added NASA deputy administrator Lori Garver.

 

The upcoming mission by Space Exploration Technologies, a 10-year-old firm owned and operated by internet entrepreneur Elon Musk, is billed as a practice run to the space station, a $100 billion research laboratory owned by the United States, Russia, Europe, Japan and Canada that circles about 240 miles above the planet.

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The not-so-secret souvenirs on SpaceX's space station-bound capsule | collectSPACE

The not-so-secret souvenirs on SpaceX's space station-bound capsule | collectSPACE | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

As released by NASA and SpaceX, the cargo manifest for the COTS-2 mission includes a line item described only as the "Official Flight Kit" or OFK. The term dates back to the last of the Apollo moon landings in the 1970s and was used throughout the 30-year space shuttle program.

 

Simply put, the OFK is a memento-packed pouch carrying the mission's "official" flown-in-space souvenirs.

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Why historic SpaceX mission to space station will be so difficult

Why historic SpaceX mission to space station will be so difficult | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

A slender white rocket with a Dragon on top is poised to make spaceflight history.

 

If all goes well, SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket and its Dragon cargo capsule will lift off from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida at 4:55 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time on Saturday en route to the International Space Station.

 

For Space Exploration Technologies Corporation (SpaceX), Saturday's launch begins a crucial set of technical tests for a rocket and spacecraft designed for regular cargo service to International Space Station. That task is itself is a stepping stone to using the Falcon 9 and Dragon capsule to send humans to and from the station, as well as future destinations in low-Earth orbit.

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SpaceX, NASA Ready for Vital Test

SpaceX, NASA Ready for Vital Test | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

This mission will combine two previously planned missions, a Dragon orbital test with an approach to ISS, and a second mission to berth with ISS and deliver a demonstration cargo shipment. Tomorrow’s 2-week flight will try to test Dragon in orbit and also berth with ISS.

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