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SpaceX Falcon 1 Launch Attempt #2

Posted by: Klaus Schmidt - Wed Mar 14, 2007 4:32 pm
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SpaceX Falcon 1 Launch Attempt #2 

How far will the Falcon 1 get?
Launch pad failure 0%  0%  [ 0 ]
First stage failure 17%  17%  [ 3 ]
Successful seperation, but early second stage failure 11%  11%  [ 2 ]
Basically successful flight, only underperforming 28%  28%  [ 5 ]
Full success 44%  44%  [ 8 ]
Total votes : 18

SpaceX Falcon 1 Launch Attempt #2 
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Post    Posted on: Wed Mar 21, 2007 6:46 am
alistair wrote:
Stiffener rings are typically used for stiffness during ground transportation and usually serve no function during flight. I've seen stiffener rings separate on other launches with no effect on second stage performance.

Still, your speculation is reasonable. It's possible that the oscillation was initially well within controllable parameters but continued to slowly grow until it got out of controllable limits.

Hopefully this is a relatively easy fix. I want to see two more flights this year.

- Alistair


From what I've read, spacex has said that what I saw falling away was a ring only used to supply stiffness during 1st stage flight and it was supposed to fall away, so I doubt my theory is correct.


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Post    Posted on: Wed Mar 21, 2007 2:30 pm
Andrew Burns wrote:
From what I've read, spacex has said that what I saw falling away was a ring only used to supply stiffness during 1st stage flight and it was supposed to fall away, so I doubt my theory is correct.


I talked to my office mate about this. He confirmed that it is used for nozzle stiffening during ascent. It is also designed to separate. Thus it performed as expected.

- Alistair

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Post    Posted on: Wed Mar 21, 2007 4:39 pm
As far as I remember I voted "full success". The informations I read under www.space.com seem to say that there was a roll-problem at the second stage but the stage separated and ignited successfully.

In so far the failure seems to be a problem that occurs at other rockets also - for me it is a "full success" merely than an early failure or the like.

They failed to achieve the orbit but the engines, tanks etc. worked well.



Dipl.-Volkswirt (bdvb) Augustin (Political Economist)


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Post    Posted on: Thu Mar 22, 2007 2:05 pm
We managed to talk to SpaceX yesterday. The info we got gives me confidence in Elon's remarks. I can't divulge what was said but as I see it SpaceX has 3 things to prove on the next launch.

1) improve stage separation. It's evident from the video that the separation mechanism didn't come off all at once, hence the kick over which brushed the nozzle (despite SpaceX's initial denials of contact). I'm not convinced that the stage separation 'incident' caused problems later; it needs to be addressed, but I think this is manageable.
2) Deal with what caused the oscillations. From what SpaceX told us yesterday, I think they have a good handle on what the cause was.

3) Prove that separation works.

- Alistair

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Post Shutdown or Explosion: a BIG DIFFERENCE!   Posted on: Thu Mar 22, 2007 6:44 pm
Last year, the real time video stopped before the actual end of the vehicle telemetry and image transmission. Is that the case with this launch also? I can conceive of a policy to end public transmission with the onset of serious anomalies, but this has an impact on evaluations by those of us who are planning missions to use SpaceX vehicles.

While I noticed the apparent control oscillations, I am more concerned about the abrupt end and "Telemetry Lost" message.

Few things will cause an abrupt and complete loss of telemetry other than the catastrophic destruction of the vehicle (explosion). Tumbling or rolling in vacuum is not likely to produce such an outcome, nor will “shutdownâ€


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Post    Posted on: Thu Mar 22, 2007 7:10 pm
Did anybody hear if they recovered the first stage?


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Post    Posted on: Thu Mar 22, 2007 7:36 pm
campbelp2002 wrote:
Did anybody hear if they recovered the first stage?

I sent an email to SpaceX related to this, I'm waiting for a reply. (never got a reply...)

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Last edited by Sigurd on Tue Apr 03, 2007 6:11 pm, edited 2 times in total.



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Post Even Better News for SpaceX   Posted on: Tue Apr 03, 2007 4:43 pm
For those who focus on this web site, more answers have come in.

(First stage not recovered)

The online video was terminated very early. Some video samples show an additional 14 seconds, which reveal almost 360 degrees of roll combined with the continuing pitch and yaw oscillations. Space X has captured telemetry and video for virtually the entire flight, although roll and other gyrations caused attenuation and periodic drop out of these signals.

The vehicle continued to accelerate until the engine shut down about 60 seconds before plan, more than a minute after video cutoff. At that point the vehicle was at over 300 km altitude (not far below the ISS orbit, but in a very different orbital plane) and reached about 2/3 or orbital velocity. An orbital launch vehicle gains a lot of velocity in the last minute of its engine run. The engine shut down because of “Fuel Starvationâ€


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