Headlines > News > First Falcon I launch delayed till March

First Falcon I launch delayed till March

Published by Sigurd De Keyser on Wed Jan 12, 2005 7:42 pm
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via hobbyspace.com we found the article ‘First TacSat launch delayed till March‘ By Susan M. Menke gcn.com, reports that the Falcon I launch is delayed till March.

Elon Musk, co-founder of PayPal. Now founder and chief executive of SpaceX, is trying to reduce access to space through cheap satellite launches.

The planned January debut of the Defense Department’s first tactical microsatellite has been postponed at least a month, according to the vendor building a new, low-cost rocket to launch it.
The TacSat payload hasn’t yet left the Naval Research Laboratory, said Gwynne Shotwell, vice president of Space Exploration Technologies Corp. of El Segundo, Calif. “This is our very first launch,” she said, and the delay is not because of the payload but because of final engine tests of the $6 million, 70-foot Falcon I rocket.

The Falcon I rocket that will launch the microsatellite arrived in October at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif., towed on a trailer that raised it vertically at the launch pad.
“That was a big milestone,” said Dianne Molina, a spokeswoman for the 2-year-old SpaceX. She said the rocket can be lowered again later to mount the TacSat payload.

The Falcon I burns liquid oxygen and kerosene and has a recoverable launch stage with a built-in parachute to slow its descent into the Pacific Ocean.
According to a November reliability study conducted for SpaceX by Futron Corp. of Bethesda, Md., the two-stage Falcon I design has an expected failure rate of 1.78 percent, lower than for Atlas V and Delta rockets and the space shuttle.

The study examined about 60 launch vehicle designs over the last 20 years using both solid and liquid fuels. Futron found that propulsion system problems were responsible for more than half of all failures. The second most common cause of failure was faulty separation during the launch stage.

Bigelow Aerospace (www.bigelowaerospace.com), current plan is to launch the Genesis payload on the private booster, the Falcon V, a derivative of the still-to-fly Falcon 1 being built by Space Exploration Technologies Corporation (SpaceX) in El Segundo, California.

The Genesis prototype (1/3 scale test module) hardware would be onboard the Falcon V’s maiden flight that is targeted for a November 2005 time frame.

Bigelow Aerospace also plans to loft a Genesis Pathfinder module in April 2006, using a silo-launched Dnepr booster under contract with ISC Kosmotras, a Russian and Ukrainian rocket-for-hire company.

Earlier this month, Bigelow Aerospace took the wraps off the $50 million “America’s Space Prize”. That contest, with a January 10, 2010 deadline, is designed to stimulate the building of orbital, crew-carrying spacecraft that have the ability to dock with a Bigelow Aerospace inflatable space habitat.

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