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Re: SpaceX-Europe eyes Musk’s SpaceX to replace Russian rockets

#781 Post by TheGreenAnger » Sat Aug 13, 2022 3:48 am

In better news for Spacex:
The European Space Agency (ESA) has begun preliminary technical discussions with Elon Musk’s SpaceX that could lead to the temporary use of its launchers after the Ukraine conflict blocked Western access to Russia’s Soyuz rockets.

The private American competitor to Europe’s Arianespace has emerged as a key contender to plug a temporary gap alongside Japan and India, but final decisions depend on the still unresolved timetable for Europe’s delayed Ariane 6 rocket.

“I would say there are two and a half options that we’re discussing. One is SpaceX that is clear. Another one is possibly Japan,” ESA Director General Josef Aschbacher told Reuters.

“Japan is waiting for the inaugural flight of its next generation rocket. Another option could be India,” he added in an interview.

“SpaceX I would say is the more operational of those and certainly one of the back-up launches we are looking at.”

Aschbacher said talks remained at an exploratory phase and any back-up solution would be temporary.

“We of course need to make sure that they are suitable. It’s not like jumping on a bus,” he said. For example, the interface between satellite and launcher must be suitable and the payload must not be compromised by unfamiliar types of launch vibration.

“We are looking into this technical compatibility but we have not asked for a commercial offer yet. We just want to make sure that it would be an option in order to make a decision on asking for a firm commercial offer,” Aschbacher said.

SpaceX did not reply to a request for comment.

The political fallout from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has already been a boon for SpaceX’s Falcon 9, which has swept up other customers severing ties with Moscow’s increasingly isolated space sector.

Satellite internet firm OneWeb, a competitor to SpaceX’s Starlink satellite internet venture, booked at least one Falcon 9 launch in March. It has also booked an Indian launch.

On Monday, Northrop Grumman booked three Falcon 9 missions to ferry NASA cargo to the International Space Station while it designs a new version of its Antares rocket, whose Russian-made engines were withdrawn by Moscow in response to sanctions.

‘Wake-up call’
Europe has until now depended on the Italian Vega for small payloads, Russia’s Soyuz for medium ones and the Ariane 5 for heavy missions. Its next-generation Vega C staged a debut last month and the new Ariane 6 has been delayed until next year.

Aschbacher said a more precise Ariane 6 schedule would be clearer in October. Only then would ESA finalize a back-up plan to be presented to ministers of the agency’s 22 nations in November.

“But yes, the likelihood of the need for back-up launches is high,” he said. “The order of magnitude is certainly a good handful of launches that we would need interim solutions for.”

Aschbacher said the Ukraine conflict had demonstrated Europe’s decade-long cooperation strategy with Russia in gas supplies and other areas including space was no longer working.

“This was a wake up call, that we have been too dependent on Russia. And this wake-up call, we have to hope that decision makers realise it as much as I do, that we have to really strengthen our European capability and independence.”

However, he played down the prospect of Russia carrying out a pledge to withdraw from the International Space Station (ISS).

Russia’s newly appointed space chief Yuri Borisov said in a televised meeting with President Vladimir Putin last month that Russia would withdraw from the ISS “after 2024”.

But Borisov later clarified that Russia’s plans had not changed and Western officials said Russia’s space agency had not communicated any new pullout plans.

“The reality is that operationally, the work on the space station is proceeding, I would say almost nominally,” Aschbacher told Reuters. “We do depend on each other, like it or not, but we have little choice.”
- https://www.cnbc.com/2022/08/12/europe- ... ckets.html
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Re: SpaceX

#782 Post by Boac » Thu Sep 29, 2022 9:25 pm

NASA and SpaceX are announcing an agreement today for a feasibility study of how a commercial crew mission could help the Hubble Space Telescope to a higher orbit to extend its lifetime.

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Re: SpaceX

#783 Post by llondel » Mon Oct 03, 2022 3:40 am

They just need someone to go give it a push.

Strap a small rocket on and slowly boost it to a higher orbit. Fine in principle if they do it slow enough so as not to rip off the extremities with excess g.

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Re: SpaceX

#784 Post by PHXPhlyer » Wed Oct 05, 2022 3:03 pm

SpaceX Dragon launch T -1 hour.
Go for launch.


https://www.spacex.com/launches/crew-5/

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Re: SpaceX

#785 Post by PHXPhlyer » Wed Oct 05, 2022 4:15 pm

Ho Hum!
Dragon Endurance in orbit. :YMAPPLAUSE:
Stage One recovered on Just Read The Instructions. :-bd
Take that SLS! :))

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Re: SpaceX

#786 Post by PHXPhlyer » Fri Oct 07, 2022 1:39 am

SpaceX capsule docks with space station carrying international astronauts — and 1 cosmonaut

https://www.cnn.com/2022/10/06/world/sp ... index.html

A SpaceX capsule carrying a multinational crew of astronauts linked up with the International Space Station on Thursday after a 29-hour trek.

The mission, called Crew-5, is a joint operation by NASA, SpaceX and their government partners around the world, including — for the first time — Russia, despite mounting tensions on the ground surrounding the invasion of Ukraine. The mission launched from Kennedy Space Center in Florida at 12 p.m. ET on Wednesday.

The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket with the companys Crew Dragon spacecraft rests at launch pad 39A as preparations continue for the Crew-5 mission at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, on October 3, 2022. NASA's SpaceX Crew-5 mission is the fifth crew rotation mission of the SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft and Falcon 9 rocket to the International Space Station as part of the agencys Commercial Crew Program. NASA astronauts Nicole Mann and Josh Cassada, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) astronaut Koichi Wakata, and Roscosmos cosmonaut Anna Kikina are scheduled to launch on 12:00 p.m. EDT on October 5 from Launch Complex 39A at the Kennedy Space Center.
SpaceX, NASA launch 3 astronauts and 1 cosmonaut to the ISS. Here's everything you need to know
The Crew Dragon capsule spent a day making a slow, methodical climb toward the space station. And as it approached the ISS, the spacecraft, which is fully autonomous, used its small onboard thrusters to stay oriented as it eased into its docking port. It first made physical contact with the ISS at 5:01 p.m. ET.

After ensuring a vacuum-tight seal between the SpaceX spacecraft and the ISS, the hatch that separated the capsule and the space station was opened, officially joining the spacecraft. Shortly, the four Crew-5 crew members will to join the seven astronauts already aboard the ISS. A welcome ceremony is scheduled for 8:15 p.m. ET.

The crew members include astronauts Nicole Mann and Josh Cassada of NASA; astronaut Koichi Wakata of JAXA, or Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency; and cosmonaut Anna Kikina of Russia’s Roscosmos space agency.

The spaceflight marks a historic moment, as Mann has become the first Native American woman ever to travel to space. She’s also serving as mission commander, making her the first woman ever to take on such a role for a SpaceX mission.

Kikina’s participation in this flight is part of a ride-sharing agreement inked by NASA and Roscosmos in July. Despite geopolitical tensions between the United States and Russia reaching a near fever pitch as the war in Ukraine has escalated, NASA has repeatedly said that its partnership with Roscosmos on the ISS is vital to continuing the space station’s operations and the valuable scientific research that is carried out on board.

During a news conference on Wednesday, Sergei Krikalev, the executive director of Human Space Flight Programs at Roscosmos, also commented on the significance of the US-Russian partnership.

“We just continue what was started many years ago, in 1975 when the Apollo-Soyuz crew worked together,” Krikalev said, referring to an in-space meetup in 1975 that became a symbol of post-Cold War cooperation between the US and Russia. “Now we continue that.”

The Crew-5 astronauts will spend about five months in space. During their stay, they’re expected to conduct spacewalks to maintain the space station’s exterior, as well as perform more than 200 science experiments.

“Experiments will include studies on printing human organs in space, understanding fuel systems operating on the Moon, and better understanding heart disease,” according to a NASA statement.

This is the sixth crewed mission that SpaceX, a privately owned company headed by controversial tech billionaire Elon Musk, has carried out on NASA’s behalf. The program stems from a $2.6 billion deal that NASA and SpaceX signed nearly a decade ago as part of the space agency’s efforts to hand over all transportation to and from the ISS to the private sector so that NASA could focus on exploring deeper into the solar system.
scheduled to launch at 12:00 p.m. EDT on Oct. 5, from Launch Complex 39A at the Kennedy Space Center.
NASA and SpaceX to send first Native American woman to orbit
Aerospace giant Boeing also signed a similar contract, though it’s still working to get its commercial spacecraft, the Starliner, up and running. Its first crewed flight could happen in early 2023.

Meanwhile, NASA has continued to extend its partnership with SpaceX, growing the value of their overall deal to encompass 15 total crewed missions at a value of more than $4.9 billion.

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Re: SpaceX

#787 Post by G-CPTN » Fri Oct 07, 2022 3:45 am

What languages do they use to communicate?

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Re: SpaceX

#788 Post by PHXPhlyer » Fri Oct 07, 2022 2:55 pm

All NASA astronauts used to train at Baikonur as the only transport before SpaceX was the Russian Soyuz. They all had to be able to speak Russian.
I heard an interview with the Russian cosmonaut and her English was good.
I would imagine that the Japanese astronaut would speak English as he would have trained at NASA.

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Re: SpaceX

#789 Post by PHXPhlyer » Fri Oct 28, 2022 3:15 pm

D#1 saw this last night preparing to take-off for a night XC from her school on the southern AZ border.

https://mail.google.com/mail/u/0?ui=2&i ... 73495e5ed1

https://www.fox10phoenix.com/news/strea ... cex-launch#

Link has pics and video.

Streak of light over Phoenix sky came from SpaceX launch
By Kenneth WongPublished October 27, 2022 6:37PMUpdated 8:31PMAir and SpaceFOX 10 Phoenix

We received a lot of calls in our newsroom this evening regarding a streak of light over the evening sky. That streak of light was the result of a rocket launch from California.

PHOENIX - We received many phone calls on the evening of Oct. 26 regarding a streak of light and cloud in the sky.

As it turns out, the cloud came from a SpaceX launch.

According to SpaceX's Twitter page, a Falcon 9 rocket was launching 53 Starlink satellites from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California. The launch also featured a landing of the Falcon 9's 1st stage on a drone shop called Of Course I Still Love You.

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Re: SpaceX

#790 Post by PHXPhlyer » Tue Nov 01, 2022 1:57 pm

Ho Hum
SpaceX just landed the two side boosters back at Cape Canaveral.

SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy rocket returns to flight after three years


https://www.cnn.com/2022/11/01/business ... index.html

SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy — a towering, three-pronged vehicle that is the most powerful operational rocket in the world — is about to return to the skies for the first time since mid-2019.

Liftoff is scheduled for Tuesday at 9:41 a.m. ET from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The rocket will be hauling satellites to space for the US military in a secretive mission dubbed USSF-44.

The Falcon Heavy debuted in 2018 to much fanfare as SpaceX CEO Elon Musk elected to launch his personal Tesla Roadster as a test payload on the launch. The car is still in space, taking an oblong path around the sun that swings out as far as Mars’ orbital path.

Since that first test mission, SpaceX has launched only two other Falcon Heavy missions, both in 2019. One sent a hulking TV and phone service satellite to orbit for Saudi Arabia-based Arabsat, and the other delivered a batch of experimental satellites for the US Department of Defense.

But the rocket has not launched since 2019, as the vast majority of SpaceX’s missions don’t require the Falcon Heavy’s amped up power. SpaceX’s workhorse Falcon 9 rocket, on the other hand, has launched nearly 50 missions so far this year alone.

Elon Musk launched his own Tesla roadster to space four years ago. Where is it now?
With each Falcon Heavy launch, the rocket puts on a dramatic showing back on Earth.

SpaceX has attempted to land all three of the rocket’s boosters — the tall white sticks that are strapped together to give the rocket its heightened power at liftoff — back on landing pads on land and at sea so that they can be refurbished and reused on future missions. It does this to cut down on mission costs.

SpaceX has yet to land and recover all three rocket boosters after the same mission, although it’s come dramatically close. The two side boosters made a pinpoint, synchronized landing on ground pads after an April 2019 mission, and the rocket’s center booster touched down on a sea-faring platform. But then, rough waves at sea toppled it over.

SpaceX will not attempt to recover the center booster after Tuesday’s launch because it will not have enough leftover fuel to guide its journey home, according to a news release from the US military’s Space Systems Command. The company will, however, once again attempt to land the two side boosters back on their ground pads on Florida’s coastline.

In a tweet, the military warned people in the vicinity of the launch site that the boosters will set off two sonic booms as they head back for landing.

All about this rocket
Though the Falcon Heavy is the most powerful operational rocket in the world, there are two massive rockets waiting in the wings to claim that title.

NASA’s Space Launch System, or SLS, rocket, which is currently slated to attempt its inaugural launch later in November to send the uncrewed Artemis 1 mission around the moon, is sitting in the Kennedy Space Center’s towering Vehicle Assembly Building, which lies just a few miles from the launch pad where the Falcon Heavy will take flight.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk introduces the Cybertruck at Tesla's design studio Thursday, Nov. 21, 2019, in Hawthorne, Calif.
Elon Musk's wrecking ball is hard at work inside Twitter
While the Falcon Heavy gives off about five million pounds of thrust, SLS is expected to put off as much as 8.8 million pounds of thrust — 15% more thrust than the Saturn V rockets that powered the mid-20th Century moon landings.

And just across the Gulf Coast, at SpaceX’s experimental facilities in South Texas, the company is in the final stages of preparing for the first orbital launch attempt of its Starship spacecraft and Super Heavy rocket. Though the test flight is still awaiting final approval from federal regulators, it could take flight before the end of the year.

The Starship system is expected to out-power both SLS and Falcon Heavy by a wide margin. The forthcoming Super Heavy booster, which is designed to vault the Starship spacecraft into space, is expected to put off about 17 million pounds of thrust alone.

Both the SLS rocket and SpaceX’s Starship are integral to NASA’s plans to return astronauts to the surface of the moon for the first time in half a century.

SpaceX also has its own, ambitious vision for the Starship: ferrying humans and cargo to Mars in the hopes of one day establishing a permanent human settlement there.

All about this mission
There is not much publicly available information about the USSF-44 mission. In a news release, the US military’s Space Systems Command said only that the launch will put multiple satellites into orbit on behalf of the Space Systems Command’s Innovation and Prototyping Delta, which is focused on quickly developing space technology as it relates to tracking objects in space as well as a range of other activities.

The Space System Command declined to provide additional information about the mission when reached by email. It referred questions to the Office of the Secretary of the Air Force, which also declined comment.

The US military is one of the primary drivers of the domestic rocket economy, doling out lucrative launch contracts that are coveted by private launch companies including SpaceX and its chief competitor in the area, United Launch Alliance, which is a joint operation between Boeing and Lockheed Martin.

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Re: SpaceX

#791 Post by TheGreenAnger » Wed Nov 02, 2022 6:28 am

PHXPhlyer wrote:
Tue Nov 01, 2022 1:57 pm
Ho Hum
SpaceX just landed the two side boosters back at Cape Canaveral.

SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy rocket returns to flight after three years[/b]

https://www.cnn.com/2022/11/01/business ... index.html

The US military is one of the primary drivers of the domestic rocket economy, doling out lucrative launch contracts that are coveted by private launch companies including SpaceX and its chief competitor in the area, United Launch Alliance, which is a joint operation between Boeing and Lockheed Martin.

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Ain't that the truth of it, and who pays for the US military? Yes, as with NASA, it is the US taxpayer. In the same way as the California taxpayer underwrote the Tesla startup, and the folks in Texas subsidized Boca Raton. Mr Musk is the master of taking the federal and state tax dollar through incentives, etc.

Some might accuse Mr. Musk of being some kind of closet socialist, but I don't, despite his yen for those tax dollars, and while some might accuse me of being biased against Mr. Musk, which I guess I am, I recognize his mastery of playing the game and the system, if not the leveraged buyout. I am in awe of the technology and successful launch record of SpaceX and the engineers, technicians and general know-how of that team, and the American system that nurtured and enabled that technological success, but less in awe of Mr. Musk and his crass ego which is larger than any planet that he might dream of using Falcon Heavy as a mission enabler for!
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Re: SpaceX

#792 Post by llondel » Wed Nov 02, 2022 11:18 pm

Whatever I might think of some of these large corporations with billions of dollars, I am appreciative of some of the investments some of them made. Back in the day in the UK, cost-plus contracts were woefully inefficient as far as the taxpayer was concerned, but some pretty good ideas came out of them because people were able to try them out without significant commercial pressure. A lot of that went away when it got more competitive, because the blue-sky research was no longer affordable.

Look at something like Google Maps - a tool used by many, the basis of quite a few non-Google businesses who have built products on top of the base offering. I wonder what it cost to set that up, effectively paying people to drive along pretty much every road in the US and various other countries, often both ways (it was noticeable in the early days that they only had images from one carriageway on dual carriageways, but now they tend to have both of them). Microsoft went and put together an image library which, when I last looked some time ago, was free for general use.

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Re: SpaceX

#793 Post by Boac » Tue Nov 15, 2022 4:06 pm

SpaceX tested 14 of the 33 engines on the booster yesterday. Said to be the most powerful rocket test in history. What 33 will be like.....................!

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Re: SpaceX

#794 Post by PHXPhlyer » Sun Nov 27, 2022 12:47 am

Ho Hum (-|
SpaceX launches a Dragon cargo capsule to the ISS and recovers the Falcon 9 booster successfully.


https://www.spacex.com/launches/crs-26/

CRS-26 MISSION
On Saturday, November 26 at 2:20 p.m. ET, Falcon 9 launched Dragon’s 26th Commercial Resupply Services mission (CRS-26) to the International Space Station from Launch Complex 39A (LC-39A) at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Following stage separation, Falcon 9’s first stage landed on the Just Read the Instructions droneship in the Atlantic Ocean.

Dragon will autonomously dock with the space station on Saturday, November 27, at approximately 7:30 a.m. ET (12:30 UTC).

Apparently something is going on with Space Time/Date :-?

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Re: SpaceX

#795 Post by PHXPhlyer » Fri Dec 09, 2022 2:40 am

Full crew for SpaceX’s privately funded moon mission announced

https://www.cnn.com/2022/12/08/world/sp ... index.html

Japanese fashion mogul Yusaku Maezawa has picked eight passengers that he said will join him on a trip around the moon, powered by SpaceX’s yet-to-be-flown Starship spacecraft. The group includes American DJ Steve Aoki and popular space YouTuber Tim Dodd, better known as the Everyday Astronaut.

The mission, called Dear Moon, was first announced in 2018. Maezawa initially aimed to take a group of artists with him on a six-day trip around the moon but later announced he had expanded his definition of an “artist.” Instead, he said he would be open to people from all walks of life as long as they viewed themselves as artists, Maezawa said in a video announcement last year.

Joining Maezawa, Aoki and Dodd will be Czech multidisciplinary artist Yemi A.D., Irish photographer Rhiannon Adam, photographer Karim Iliya, Indian actor Dev Joshi, documentary filmmaker Brendan Hall and South Korean rapper Choi Seung Hyun, who goes by the stage name T.O.P.

“I can’t miss this opportunity,” Aoki said in a video announcement. “My soul is, is begging for this.”

A backup crew of US Olympic snowboarder Kaitlyn Farrington and Japanese dancer Miyu was also selected.

Dear Moon still advertises that its mission will take off in 2023, though SpaceX’s new rocket and spacecraft system, known as Starship, has yet to conduct its first orbital test flight.

Maezawa is paying an undisclosed sum for the trip, and he has said he will take his passengers free of charge.

There were two main criteria for selecting Maezawa’s fellow passengers, the mission’s website noted: Applicants should be seeking to “push the envelope” in their field of work by going to space “to help other people and greater society in some way,” and they should be willing to support their fellow crew members during the journey.

At one point last year, Maezawa had also said he would also use a dating show to search for a “life partner” that would join him on the journey. But he later canceled those plans, saying he had “mixed feelings” about participating in the endeavor.

Since the Dear Moon mission was first announced, Maezawa made his first journey to space, taking a self-funded, 12-day journey to the International Space Station. That December 2021 trip made use of a Russian Soyuz spacecraft.

Starship is a work in progress
SpaceX’s massive Starship rocket is still in development at the company’s testing facilities in South Texas. A few early prototypes have conducted brief “hop tests,” some of which have flown a few miles above Earth, but the company has not yet tested Super Heavy, a gargantuan, 230-foot (69-meter) rocket booster that will be needed to propel the 164-foot (50-meter) Starship spacecraft into Earth’s orbit or beyond. SpaceX CEO Elon Musk has said for months that it’ll be prepared to conduct the test soon, though the company is still waiting on a launch license from federal regulators.

Why a Japanese billionaire wants to send artists to the moon
Musk had previously said he expects Starship will be conducting regular flights by 2023, but it’s not clear if SpaceX will hit that deadline. The aerospace industry is notorious for projects that take far longer — and tally much higher expenses — than first anticipated.

If early test flights of Starship are successful and the Dear Moon mission gets off the ground, Maezawa’s crew could be the first group of private citizens to venture beyond low-Earth orbit.

The six-day mission is expected to spend three days reaching its destination and take a slingshot trip around the moon before returning to Earth.

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Re: SpaceX

#796 Post by Boac » Fri Jan 13, 2023 8:13 pm

I see they are fuelling up the booster for a static fire, I guess. I wonder how the concrete under the OLM will fare this time. That could be the big drag on the expected rapid re-launching of the beast.

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Re: SpaceX

#797 Post by TheGreenAnger » Fri Jan 13, 2023 10:01 pm

PHXPhlyer wrote:
Fri Dec 09, 2022 2:40 am
Full crew for SpaceX’s privately funded moon mission announced

the mission’s website noted: Applicants should be seeking to “push the envelope” in their field of work by going to space “to help other people and greater society in some way,” and they should be willing to support their fellow crew members during the journey.

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WTF! Sounds like a load of B Ark *****!
Pushing the envelope. They were common phrases, references to breaking boundaries and living on the edge. The “envelope” coinage likely originated in 1901, when a Brazilian inventor sailed a silk blimp over Paris. As a contemporaneous piece in Scientific American described it, “The balloon is inflated with hydrogen,10 and in order to maintain at all times a tension on the envelope—that is to say, perfect inflation—a compensating balloon filled with air is placed in the interior.” During World War II the term gained currency, when pilots and airplane designers referred to the “envelope” as “the engine conditions which will give the maximum economy at any given speed.” But the phrase became widely known after the publication of The Right Stuff and the movie that followed. In the book Tom Wolfe writes, “The ‘envelope’ was a flight-test term referring to the limits of a particular aircraft’s performance,
Schmidle, Nicholas. Test Gods
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Re: SpaceX

#798 Post by Boac » Sun Jan 15, 2023 8:51 pm

A rare launch of Falcon heavy scheduled tonight (22:56Z) with both boosters planned to recover to the launch site.

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Re: SpaceX

#799 Post by PHXPhlyer » Sun Jan 15, 2023 11:38 pm

Ho Hum
Both boosters successfully recovered.
They are getting particularly good at this.
Too bad Elon can't get Tesla and Twitter working at the same level of competence.

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Re: SpaceX

#800 Post by PHXPhlyer » Thu Jan 19, 2023 3:40 am

SpaceX launches next-generation GPS satellite

Ho Hum.
Another successful booster landing on a droneship.

https://www.cnn.com/2023/01/18/world/sp ... index.html

SpaceX fired a new GPS satellite into orbit on behalf of the US military on Wednesday, continuing an effort to bolster the constellation of global positioning and navigation satellites that underpin smartphone apps, wartime operations and more.

The GPS satellite launched aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket at 7:24 a.m. ET from the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida.

SpaceX confirmed the satellite had been deployed in a subsequent tweet featuring video of the moment.

The mission carried the sixth spacecraft in a new generation of GPS satellites, called GPS III, to an orbit about 12,550 miles (20,200 km) above the Earth’s surface, where more than 30 GPS satellites are currently operating. They swing around the planet once about every 12 hours and constantly beam radio signals to determine the precise location of objects on the ground. The next-generation GPS III satellites, built by Lockheed Martin, will modernize that system, with plans to build up to 32 of the satellites, including the six that have launched since 2019.

Though GPS services are routinely used by smartphones, Lockheed Martin notes on its website that it also serves military purposes.

“Space has become a more contested environment — with more-competitive adversaries,” the company’s website reads. “Our warfighters need enhanced capabilities to take on evolving threats. The need to return the focus on GPS as a ‘warfighting system’ has never been clearer.”

The previous generation of GPS satellites began entering service in the late 1990s.

After Falcon 9 launched from Cape Canaveral and expended most of its fuel, the first stage — the large bottommost portion that gives the initial thrust at liftoff — detached from the rocket’s second stage and the satellite and returned to a pinpoint landing on a platform at sea. It’s a routine maneuver for SpaceX, which regularly recovers and reuses its rockets to drive down costs.

The first-stage rocket booster used Wednesday previously launched SpaceX’s Crew-5 mission, which carried four astronauts to the International Space Station in October 2022.

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