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Poll - First Launch of Falcon9

Posted by: beancounter - Tue Feb 23, 2010 12:59 am
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Poll - First Launch of Falcon9 

First Launch of Falcon9 is going to be a
Success 90%  90%  [ 27 ]
Failure 10%  10%  [ 3 ]
Total votes : 30

Poll - First Launch of Falcon9 
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Post Poll - First Launch of Falcon9   Posted on: Tue Feb 23, 2010 12:59 am
Isn't about time for a poll to open regarding the first launch of F9 - success, failure, or otherwise? :D

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Post Re: Poll   Posted on: Tue Feb 23, 2010 8:23 am
If you want a poll, then why didn't you start one? :?:

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Post Re: Poll   Posted on: Mon Mar 01, 2010 9:43 am
And here is the poll :) Editted the topic, so start voting :)

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Post Re: Poll - First Launch of Falcon9   Posted on: Tue Mar 02, 2010 3:35 am
while i really hope the first launch is a success, i put the odds at only 40% since the laws of murphy and complex problems say they forgot something silly and small that will bring it down.

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Post Re: Poll - First Launch of Falcon9   Posted on: Tue Mar 02, 2010 3:58 am
I voted for success. Mostly because they have done due diligence in all the areas I can think of.

The hold down should verify everything is in working order. The tower could fail to clear or some such, but they have tested that without the rocket in place. We know the Merlin engines work. Separation has been tested to my satisfaction. The payload is a dummy so it will be hard to fail there. They are not even going to separate from the upper stage.

The issues that I am not sure of are Avionics: should be similar to Falcon 1. And, Second Stage Merlin ignition: I just don't have any info on that one.

My gut tells me something will go horribly wrong, but logically, they should have covered their bases.


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Post Re: Poll - First Launch of Falcon9   Posted on: Tue Mar 02, 2010 1:56 pm
you k now... if you think about it, even if the rocket blows up 30 ft above the pad... it can still be considered a 'success' so long as they pull meaningful lessons from the rockets failure and get more knowlege about the hardware behaviour, etc.
Do i think it will make orbit? Dunno. I think the chances are better than that of the Falcon 1's first launch. They've learned alot from their previous 'failed' launches. Hopefully they learned enough.

They have a lot of weight on their shoulders now, with the impending doom of NASA's manned spaceflight programs (lol, couldn't help but to make it sound all dramatic :P ). They're going to have to push hard and fast to get their COTS done and over with and to get their vehicle and Dragon fully man-rated.


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Post Re: Poll - First Launch of Falcon9   Posted on: Tue Mar 02, 2010 7:10 pm
I voted yes, because you have to be an optimist in this industry.

If they don't pull it off, political opinion could quickly run away from tehm without serious damage control.

If they do pull it off, they could find themselves becoming the new center of Americas Space Program.

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Post Re: Poll - First Launch of Falcon9   Posted on: Wed Mar 03, 2010 6:05 am
Ok. I've voted for success. Here's the logic. Compared with 40% successful F1 (last 2 flights give greater weight to success than early failures through lessons learned):
1. Same engine for 1st stage. Modified Merlin for 2nd stage although only to enable more efficiencies in vacuum.
2. Same or similar avionics.
3. Same stage separation system.
4. Same people running the show.
5. Same or similar flight profile.
6. Simliar launch procedures however further refined.
7. Same stress and load testing.
8. Same design team.
9. More actual flight experience.

Cons are:
1. Greater interference due to location.
2. Unforseen issues running the nine engines together in flight as opposed to a single engine.
3. Unexpected flight characteristics (did they do any wind tunnel stuff or was it all computer?)

Can't think of any others. Don't give a lot of weight points 2 or 3 but do point 1 worries me.

Cheers.

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Post Re: Poll - First Launch of Falcon9   Posted on: Wed Mar 03, 2010 10:04 am
idiom wrote:
I voted yes, because you have to be an optimist in this industry.

If they don't pull it off, political opinion could quickly run away from tehm without serious damage control.

If they do pull it off, they could find themselves becoming the new center of Americas Space Program.

I couldn't agree more with you.

I also agree with the pros listed by beancounter. However my personal biggest concern is about Merlin ignition in vacuum - have they ever tested this in a vacuum chamber on the ground?

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Post Re: Poll - First Launch of Falcon9   Posted on: Wed Mar 03, 2010 1:37 pm
http://www.spacex.com/press.php?page=20090310

the impression i get from teh release is that they did a full mission burn in a chamber. that's just what i get from skimming the article though.

I do agree with beancounter's Pros as well.
as for his Cons,
for 2) lol i agree, there can always be unforseen problems. but they have done a full mission burn with the 9 engine stack, and from what i've come to understand, they can lose at least one (or more?not sure) engines and still not compromise the mission. that's always a nice card to have up your sleeve :P

3)lol oh yeah i can agree with this one. i don't know if they used a wind tunnel or not either, but using computer models can only get you so far. Nothing beats the build it and test it approach :)

as for 1).... well i think that is a risk they had to take. I'm not entirely sure their reasons for choosing the location, other than the facilities were there, it is right at KSC (for all intents and purposes), and I think the location allows for better access to certain orbital inclinations (someone with more knowledge please confirm/refute this :) ) it does put them at the mercy of the Air Force as far as launch schedule is concerned, but I'm sure there are benefits as well

Mike


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Post Re: Poll - First Launch of Falcon9   Posted on: Thu Mar 04, 2010 1:13 am
Hi Mike.

My understanding is that they can't lose more that one engine and keep the full misssion profile. I believe that the loss of an engine will compromise the flight profile dependant on the timing of the loss. I'm a bit confused as what part of the profile this relates to (not being a rocket scientist), but I'm sure that Elon mentioned that at one point.
Trying to dig out the reference.

One interesting point that I noticed in the flight profile is that toward the end of the first stage, they shut down not one but two engines to keep within their acceleration limits. This suggests they have considerable capacity built in to their design. On the other hand, this may simply be the result of a 'light mass' flight. Does anyone know what the 'cargo' mass for this flight is? I wouldn't think it would be anywhere near their limit - not for what is essentially a test flight.

Also nice to see a bit of interest at last. Guess there wasn't much to discuss earlier on - excepting the developments at NASA.

Cheers

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Post Re: Poll - First Launch of Falcon9   Posted on: Tue Mar 23, 2010 2:17 am
Just noticed that the confidence level for the first launch of the F9 is running higher (94% of 17 votes) than it was for the 5th launch of the F1 (85% of 13 votes). This is before even 1 successful F9 flight :!:

I know that I'm counting the two F1 flights as providing increased evidence of improved understanding of their systems and procedures (see listing of pros and cons previous posts) and therefore lifting my expectations accordingly. How are others rationising their votes :?:

On another note (forgive me for going a bit off-topic :) ), the political goings-on about the NASA overhaul is most enlightening. From my readings of the blogs and space-related sites, SpaceX seems to be drawing most of the flack when it comes to negative comments about commercial space although they are the newbies on the block. Are the ULA and the existing biggie commercials becoming a bit concerned that there could be real competition on the way :?: How's that for a bit of conspiracy theory :!: :?: :D

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Post Re: Poll - First Launch of Falcon9   Posted on: Tue Mar 23, 2010 8:25 am
beancounter wrote:
On another note (forgive me for going a bit off-topic :) ), the political goings-on about the NASA overhaul is most enlightening. From my readings of the blogs and space-related sites, SpaceX seems to be drawing most of the flack when it comes to negative comments about commercial space although they are the newbies on the block. Are the ULA and the existing biggie commercials becoming a bit concerned that there could be real competition on the way :?: How's that for a bit of conspiracy theory :!: :?: :D


Not really a conspiracy brewing - I would think the other players are crapping bricks!!

SpaceX have gone from nothing to a decent sized lift in less than 10 years, and at dramatically lower costs than any of there competitors. They have developed a man rated capsule (almost), which the other players haven't even bothered with. The opposition should be worried, and the only way they can get anything back is to slate SpaceX, because they haven't really any chance of getting down to their costs and competing fairly.

That said, a lot is riding on the Falcon 9 launch! If that goes well (fingers crossed) then SpaceX will be on a real roll.


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Post Re: Poll - First Launch of Falcon9   Posted on: Mon Mar 29, 2010 7:48 am
Hi all.

Has anyone noticed the difference in the launch structures between F1 and F9?

Where the F1 had separate service and support towers the F9 has an integrated tower. Prior to F1 launch, the support tower angled back - way back nearly to the ground (the services tower was well out of the way anyway)whereas it only looks like the F9 tower gets back maybe 15, 20 degrees max. I can't see any protection for the services. Anyone know how these are being addressed?

Cheers

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Post Re: Poll - First Launch of Falcon9   Posted on: Thu Apr 01, 2010 2:06 pm
I voted success. Because I'm an optimist!
Does anyone know how long before SpaceX starts recovering and reusing the stages?

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