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Falcon 9 v1.1 / Cassiope launch poll

Posted by: Lourens - Fri Sep 06, 2013 4:38 pm
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Falcon 9 v1.1 / Cassiope launch poll 

What will be the result of the coming Falcon 9 launch on September 29/30th?
Pad problem, launch postponed. 14%  14%  [ 1 ]
Merlin 1D turns out to be a bit too powerful. Spectacular engine failure. 0%  0%  [ 0 ]
Stage separation failure between the main stages. 0%  0%  [ 0 ]
Fairing won't open. Canadians claim holding satellite prisoner violates Geneva convention. 0%  0%  [ 0 ]
Navigation error, satellite successfully sent on its way to the ISS. 0%  0%  [ 0 ]
Satellite orbited successfully, but first stage burns up on re-entry. Reusability foiled again. 29%  29%  [ 2 ]
All successful. First stage lands in SpaceX parking lot in California. 57%  57%  [ 4 ]
Total votes : 7

Falcon 9 v1.1 / Cassiope launch poll 
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Post Falcon 9 v1.1 / Cassiope launch poll   Posted on: Fri Sep 06, 2013 4:38 pm
Hawthorne, California, 2012. In the cavernous hall of SpaceX headquarters, rows of cubicles line a corridor. Inside the cubicles, engineers tap away at keyboards and click mouse buttons, their many computer screens filled with three-dimensional depictions of rocket parts and lines of computer code. Occasionally, heads are stuck together and a quiet conversation follows. Meanwhile, out on the shop floor at the end of the cubicle farm, lasers cut metal and welding machines assemble giant slabs of aluminum-lithium alloy into propellant tanks, while workers attach wiring harnesses to spacecraft. Behold a twenty-first century marvel of engineering, the integrated rocket shop.

Suddenly, a door flies open, and the atmosphere of quiet efficiency is rudely destroyed by a wild-eyed man running down the corridor, rapping on cubicle walls and shouting "It's all wrong! We're doing it all wrong!" Worried faces appear from around the corners of the cubicles. Some hastily grab their Nerf guns. "I thought Steve Jobs was dead?" one mutters. "That's not Steve, it's Elon!" a colleague finally realises. Indeed, it is the CEO himself who by now has most of the company out standing in the hallway.

"It's all wrong!" he repeats. "I'm not on Mars!" This is fairly obvious to the onlookers. The gravity is suspiciously high, there's a serious lack of dust and rocks on the shop floor, and no on has yet died of asphyxiation. Has their CEO finally lost it? "We have to get to Mars! We need more powerful engines! And more fuel!" he cries. "Do you know how far it is to Mars! There are no Superchargers in space you know? And we need vertical landing! On legs! Oh and for Pete's sake, rearrange those engines will you? Who's ever heard of a square rocket? Well?" Before anyone has a chance to answer, he's off again, pacing down the corridor and out the door. Looks are exchanged. Then, as one, the engineers return to their desks. Before the sounds of a rapidly accelerating Tesla Model S have fully faded away, the first design changes have been made and Falcon 9 v1.1 is born.

Okay, so, we have the new, quite a bit more powerful Merlin 1D engine that is also easier to manufacture, a rearranged engine configuration, bigger fuel tanks, a fairing with the associated separation event, a completely new launch pad, perhaps some kind of landing test and the first F9 satellite launch into a polar orbit on September 14th. Place your bets :-).

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Last edited by Lourens on Fri Sep 20, 2013 11:18 am, edited 1 time in total.



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Post Re: Falcon 9 v1.1 / Cassiope launch poll   Posted on: Tue Sep 10, 2013 1:35 pm
Elon predicts fireworks, with only a 10% chance of the first stage decelerating correctly on return to the ground, and various other possible failure modes. It really is almost a new rocket, and I think SpaceX have some bad luck still in the bank from the initial F9 launches... Also, pic of it being moved to the launch pad.

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Post Re: Falcon 9 v1.1 / Cassiope launch poll   Posted on: Thu Sep 12, 2013 3:02 pm
I always love to read your launch polls and texts! Keep 'em coming! :D

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Post Re: Falcon 9 v1.1 / Cassiope launch poll   Posted on: Fri Sep 13, 2013 8:38 am
Some anomalies in the static fire test. Launch date to be determined...

I'll just keep the poll open as we go so keep voting :-).

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Post Re: Falcon 9 v1.1 / Cassiope launch poll   Posted on: Mon Sep 16, 2013 10:27 am
Looks like 4 out of 5 voters got it wrong...
https://twitter.com/elonmusk/statuses/3 ... 5732105218

more waiting

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Post Re: Falcon 9 v1.1 / Cassiope launch poll   Posted on: Mon Sep 16, 2013 12:55 pm
That's okay, I'll just substitute the new launch date when it's final :-).

Edit: duly updated, we're on for the 29th/30th.

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Post Re: Falcon 9 v1.1 / Cassiope launch poll   Posted on: Sun Sep 29, 2013 6:15 pm
Aaaaaand it's up in space, perfect launch. No word yet on the first stage though. Would be awesome if they got it back...

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Post Re: Falcon 9 v1.1 / Cassiope launch poll   Posted on: Mon Sep 30, 2013 3:09 pm
According to what Jeff Foust, Douglas Messier and others tweeted about the SpaceX telcon yesterday, they didn't get the first stage back.
Apparently the 3 engine burn(s) to slow the stage for re-entry went well and the stage survived re-entry. However during the later phase, with the single engine burn, the stage was spun up by aerodynamic forces that exceeded the authority of the RCS system. This caused the fuel to be forced to the tank walls (the whole stage basically became a centrifuge) which resulted in a flameout of the engine.

Elon Musk said they where able to recover parts of the crashed stage (including some onboard video footage they want to post later this week! 8)) and are confident that next time (CRS3 flight, no recovery on the next two flights) they can make it all the way down.

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Post Re: Falcon 9 v1.1 / Cassiope launch poll   Posted on: Mon Sep 30, 2013 4:15 pm
Seems like they got really close though. If the first stage made it to the ocean surface in one piece, then the rest of the problem should be solvable. Then build another launch site in Texas, a landing pad at Cape Canaveral, and see how quick they can make that turnaround :-).

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Post Re: Falcon 9 v1.1 / Cassiope launch poll   Posted on: Tue Oct 01, 2013 7:55 am
There have been sightings of a circular cloud above South Africa that corresponds with the Falcon 9 launch. I suspect it was during the 'controlled' descent of the first stage.

Any ideas?

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Post Re: Falcon 9 v1.1 / Cassiope launch poll   Posted on: Tue Oct 01, 2013 8:41 am
I think that is highly unlikely, to the point of impossible.

They launched from the US west coast into a polar orbit. First Stage is separated after ~3 minutes and tried to descend into the pacific ocean, still close to the coast of California.

I would say it is completely impossible to notice any of this from the other side of the world ;)

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Post Re: Falcon 9 v1.1 / Cassiope launch poll   Posted on: Wed Oct 02, 2013 12:46 pm
Yep, it was propellant venting from the second stage, actually. A whole lot of little droplets lit by the sun, which was just behind the horizon at ground level, but just above it at the altitude of the second stage. The second stage was supposed to have been relit, but that failed, so it had a lot of propellant left. They vent the propellants after the stage is done to keep it from exploding during re-entry.

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Say, can you feel the thunder in the air? Just like the moment ’fore it hits – then it’s everywhere
What is this spell we’re under, do you care? The might to rise above it is now within your sphere
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Post Re: Falcon 9 v1.1 / Cassiope launch poll   Posted on: Wed Oct 02, 2013 6:06 pm
That is what I heard from another source as well. People thought it was some kind of UFO!!

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Post Re: Falcon 9 v1.1 / Cassiope launch poll   Posted on: Thu Oct 03, 2013 9:18 am
Well, if they didn't know what it was, then technically it was one :).

Although perhaps objects that are in orbit shouldn't be considered to be flying? Then we'd have to call it an Unidentified Falling Object...

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Say, can you feel the thunder in the air? Just like the moment ’fore it hits – then it’s everywhere
What is this spell we’re under, do you care? The might to rise above it is now within your sphere
Machinae Supremacy – Sid Icarus


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Post Re: Falcon 9 v1.1 / Cassiope launch poll   Posted on: Thu Oct 03, 2013 12:33 pm
At least we can continue to use the same acronym! :D

I think Lourens is right with his assumptions about the second stage fuel venting.

Reminds me of those beautiful (although a bit creepy as well) images from Scandinavia of a spiral "UFO" cloud, which actually was an out of control spinning Russian rocket, venting fuel. :)

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